Smoking May Be Banned From Movies - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Smoking May Be Banned From Movies

In the movie "Titanic," Kate Winslet's character rebels against her mother by smoking.

For Julia Roberts in "My Best Friend's Wedding," smoking cigarettes helps her character cope.

And in "Men in Black 2," even the aliens smoke.

All these movies carry a PG-13 rating, but not even G-rated films are immune to smoking.

In the children's movie "101 Dalmatians," villain Cruella De Vil puffs away.

Two prominent doctors are hoping to change that.

Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and founder of Smoke Free Movies, and James Sargent of the pediatric department at Dartmouth say movies that depict smoking are the single greatest media threat to children.

This week in Atlanta, they spoke out against the movie industry's portrayal of tobacco.

"The average kid watches three or four movies a week, and gets exposed to literally thousands of glamorized depictions of smoking in those movies," Sargent said.

Sargent and Glantz found that in 2004, 75 percent of all G, PG and PG-13 films showed characters smoking.

Sargent and Glantz want all films that contain tobacco usage to automatically get an R rating.

"That one simple change in the rules, we think we would prevent about 200,000 kids a year from starting to smoke," Glantz said.

Getting the movie industry to change may not be easy.

Since the early days of Hollywood, filmmakers have had a love affair with smoking, using it to build mystique around characters.

"Everybody smoked. Alan Ladd smoked. John Wayne smoked. In 'Rebel Without a Cause,' James Dean smoked," said ABC movie critic Joel Siegel.

But studies show 390,000 kids start to smoke and 400,000 people die from smoking-related illness each year.

Sargent and Glantz say that the health effects of smoking should trump its perceived glamour.


This story was taken from ABC NEWS

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