Monday, October 1, 2007

Hollywood Up in Smoke

First it was media ads, and then it was restaurants. Now, it is movies. A campaign is afoot to ban smoking in films. Apparently, just as violence in films turns young adults into gangsters, smoking in movies condemns them to a life of health woes.

Advocates for a ban on showing scenes of smoking in movies believe the action will abate teen smoking. Universal Studios is ready to go ahead, Time Warner is interested, and Disney Production already has a policy. Yet, other studios, like Dreamworks, claim the ban distorts reality.

Basically, the antismoking lobbies want cigarettes out of films rated G, PG, or PG-13. The Simpson Movie released this summer showed enough cigarette smoking to garner a “Black Lung” rating from

One study found a connection between cigarette smoking in movies and adolescent addiction to tobacco. Another study claimed this link was strongest when a predisposition to smoking already existed.

Is Hollywood going too far in banning cigarette smoking scenes? What about a ban on junk food? Where do we draw the line? What's your view?
Photo of Andy Garcia puffing away in "Ocean's Twelve." The Smoke Free Movies project ( says the film deserves an R-rating for glamorizing smoking.


Alyssa Sharkey said...

This is very interesting because I actually read an article in the New York Times this morning about the very same thing. They spoke about the recent movie "Dreamgirls" and how Eddie Murphey's character chain smoked throughout the movie. The author pointed out that he could just have easily been chewing gum. Both habits all connect back to Freud's Pyschosexual stages of Development and the oral fixations resulting from the Oral Stage.This fixation can be caused my insufficient and forceful feeding when a child is small.
I find it so interesting that movies (and people in real life) are applying Freud's concepts without even realizing it.

Kathy said...

I'm kind of riding the fence on this one. Part of me thinks that it's ridiculous that they want to ban smoking from movies because one study found that there was a connection between it and adolescent addiction to tobacco whereas the other part of me thinks that if it isn't necessary in a movie that it shouldn't be there. If we're going to ban smoking from movies why don't we ban drinking , drugs, or any other issue considered "bad" that may affect children or teens. And if they think that they should ban it in movies shouldn't they be concerned about television too? I take back my fence riding comment, I don't think there should be a ban.

Victoria said...

stupid. I understand not wanting cigerrettes in g or pg movies, but by pg 13 the kids should have a basic idea of whats going on in the world. Waiting until rated r movies for cigarretes? There's suggested sex in some pg 13 movies now, so it's ridiculous.

Sarah W said...

First, just let me say that I think smoking is terrible, and we should be trying to keep our countries youth away from them. But I also think that banning smoking from movies is ridiculous. Movies are supposed to be an escape from reality, and should be able to create any kind of world they want accurately. And it really comes down to the childrens parents educating their children about smoking and the difference between real life and moveies. I can't ever remember wanting to smoke because of something I saw in a movie. For anyone who is in my pshychology class, I bet this is the work of the behaviorists!

kelly k said...

I agree that G and PG moviies should not have smoking. At that level, smoking really isn't necessary and the kids will see it enough in real life. They don't need to see it glamourized in those films. But I think by the time kids are 13 they know about smoking - it's not like it is hidden in our country. These kids are almost in high school! I think people should worry less about kids seeing something that is bad and worry more about educating them on why it is bad. Way too many parents try to shelter their kids rather than controlling how they are exposed to anything "bad" and turning it into a positive experience. Parents should be the first to talk to thier children about these types of issues because eventually their friends will bring it up and the child will be unprepared.

Sara D. said...

I believe that there are certain movies in which there is an exces of smoking shown. On the other hand, there are instances in my opinion when smoking it used properly for the purpose of characterization. For example, in the show LOST in the pilot episode the character Sawyer is introduced just my showing him smoking a cigarette and leaning against a piece of debris. This shot of him smoking entirely shows his character without him even saying a word.

I do think that young people are prone to imitate what they see in movies just as they do with video games. I do not blame all smoking on these influences though. I would say that scene with smoking do add to a person's chance of smoking.

I would agree that smoking should not be shown in G or PG movies as usually the target audience of these movies are children. For PG-13 I think the director should use caution regarding showing smoking. People ages 12-16 give or take a few years are probably most prone to being influenced by what they say. The viewers should be able to decipher the difference between movie and reality but some can't.

I don't want our world to be censored to the extent that reality is never shown but I think there is nothing wrong with a little discretion.

Caitlin Brault said...

I don't think banning smoking in movies is a good idea. For the most part, movies are trying to create a reality that the viewer can relate to. But if you take out smoking completely in movies, that is not realistic.
Maybe movies could cut down on the scenes with smoking if it's not necessary, but I don't think they should remove it completely.