Smoking was glamorized for decades all across the U.S. Especially in Hollywood. Smoking in movies was considered a cool Hollywood trait during the golden age of filmmaking. But now, it’s a growing concern among health experts. Where smoking once seemed like a cool thing to do, smoking in movies has reignited a long-running debate about its effects on viewers.
Read this press release about a US Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) study by nonprofit organization Truth Initiative on effects of smoking in movies below.
The Influence Of Smoking In Movies To Viewers
“Last year’s crop of top-grossing movies rated PG and PG-13 contained fewer movies with smoking than any year since 2002… Although that decline is good news, the number of tobacco incidents creeped back up in 2016 from a historic low of less than 600 in 2010.”
“We’ve known for a while that the more you see smoking on screen, the more likely you are to see youth smoking… https://t.co/ug0ta4gjA3
— ActionSmoking&Health (@AshOrg) July 19, 2017
You’re probably wondering, “why should Hollywood be the first to blame for the rise in smoking incidents”? Well, maybe Hollywood isn’t at fault directly, but you have to agree though that there’s something intriguing about a male or female lead who smokes in movies. Kids are impressionable. And they love going to the movies. These kids see their favorite actor or character from the movie light up a cigarette, and they think if they do it, they’ll be just like him! There have been countless iconic images of celebrities who smoke in films and videos. Film historian Craig Detweiler notes that we’ll probably see more of this unless studios themselves shy away from the aesthetic appeal of lighting up a cigarette.
Smoking In Movies And Why It Matters
— AlbertaQuits (@AlbertaQuits) July 18, 2017
The recent CDC report suggests a growing trend of young smokers. In a 2012 report by the US Office of Surgeon General, the department found “causal relationship” between the smoking acts by characters in films to the initiation of smoking among young people. The report concluded the more exposed young people are to movies that show smoking, the more likely they’ll start smoking.
Moreover, smokers who start smoking young will experience a number of health problems if the habit continues well into adulthood. These health problems can compound with other pre-existing health issues that couldn’t be solved by any amount of body conditioning or pain-relieving exercises. These health problems can sometimes lead to premature death too. The American Heart Association blames cigarette smoking as the main culprit in most premature deaths in the US. According to them, the long-term effects of smoking have caused over 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million deaths annually.
There is no doubt about the harmful effects of smoking in one’s health. The US film industry, on the other hand, has somewhat addressed its role in this growing public health concern.
— Truth Initiative (@truthinitiative) July 17, 2017
The Motion Picture Association of America or the MPAA has a film rating system to determine which movies are suitable for which type of audiences. However, the MPAA rating system currently does not address smoking in G and lower PG-rated movies, where smoking occurs most of the time. The MPAA only cautions its viewers about films that are rated PG-13 and higher which shows smoking acts.
— Vital Strategies (@VitalStrat) July 17, 2017
In the last few years, individuals and groups supported or launched causes to make MPAA strict with its rating system. In this 2016 lawsuit, concerned individuals argued that smoking in movies should be banned in films that do not have an R rating. In response, the MPAA insisted that a total ban on smoking in movies essentially violates the First Amendment. The lawsuit was dismissed in November the same year.
Should Hollywood Start Being Held Accountable For Smoking In Movies?
When I hear that art influences life, and then hear that it doesn’t I picture the RAISING ARIZONA guy: “Well, which is it, young fella?”
— Matt Zoller Seitz (@mattzollerseitz) July 10, 2017
New York Magazine writer Matt Zoller Seitz thinks Hollywood will only take responsibility if its influence to society is positive. While a total ban on smoking in movies could be a great way to decrease the number of people to take up smoking, time will tell if it is indeed an effective way. For now, the CDC report is calling for everyone to come together on the issue about smoking in movies.
Check out these 10 important facts about smoking by FACTED below:
What do you think about the latest CDC report? Do you think movies should ban smoking? Share us your comments below.