Share & Connect
An actor smoking a cigarette in a movie may soon be considered as racey as explicit sex scenes. A number of health organizations argue that smoking on camera should make a film “R” rated. Drug use, obscene language and nudity are the common characteristics moviegoers expect of an “R” rated film. In the future, film watchers may need to add “lighting up” to that list.
Research conducted by Department of Primary Care and Public Health at The Imperial College in London, found that approximately one in five teenagers worldwide, ages 13 to 15, is a regular smoker, with nearly 100,000 children taking up the habit every day. The study concluded that “exposure to smoking in movies is a potent stimulus for youth smoking.”
<pAn article published by the Public Library of Science stated similar findings. It pointed to the connection between tobacco imagery in films and the likelihood of youth to experiment with smoking. “Essentially eliminating smoking and other tobacco imagery from youth-rated films would substantially reduce the total exposure of onscreen smoking images delivered to youth,” explained the article.
The World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others, suggest that all future films that include scenes with smoking be given the adult content rating.
The movie industry is aware of health organizations’ concerns with smoking on screen. According to the CDC, Hollywood is less likely to show actors lighting up on in movie scenes than they were five years ago. However, health groups are still determined to view the smoking scenes that are still being included in films with a more critical eye.
Not all researches are on board with the notion of rating smoking in films more harshly. In an article, also published by the Public Library of Science, a study at the University of Sydney argued against the idea of giving smoking an adult rating in films. The article pointed out that youth are likely being exposed to smoking, to a greater degree, outside the context of the movie theatre. The researchers also expressed an overall concern with the notion of regulating cultural expression.
While no new standard has been passed, anti-smoking advocates continue to push for a more serious rating of movies that choose to include the addictive habit.