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Smoking in movies: think of the children!

 
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 08:21 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
Engineer still has a valid point about 2005 though. Why so late? I would have thought it peaked much earlier. Maybe the total number of movies increased, and the statisticians were counting the total number of cigarettes smoked, as opposed to the number of cigarettes smoked per movie?

The study was of "the most popular films from 1991 to 2009." So pre-1991 films weren't considered. Why was 2005 the high point? I have no idea, and I don't know how they measured smoking. This study, looking at a broader period from 1950-2006, found that tobacco use peaked in 1961. In this survey, a "smoking incident" was defined as: " the presence of a cigarette on screen (whether smoked or unsmoked). If a character was smoking and their hand (and cigarette) disappeared off screen - then came back into shot moments later - this was counted as two incidents. If two people were smoking on the same screen this was also counted as two incidents." I don't get the sense that anyone can agree on what constitutes "smoking" in a movie.

By the way, the UK is considering an even stricter ban on films that feature smoking.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Aug, 2010 11:00 am
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
But should any cinematic depiction of smoking automatically earn a movie an R rating?


Well, since smoking is drug use, the movie depicting it should at least earn a PG-13 according to the MPAA's rating guide.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 07:22 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Why so late? I would have thought it peaked much earlier. Maybe the total number of movies increased, and the statisticians were counting the total number of cigarettes smoked, as opposed to the number of cigarettes smoked per movie?

I wonder if they are calling a peak off of statistical noise. Smoking in movies has been taboo for a long time now. If only a few scenes are shown a year and 2005 had a couple of extra scenes, did that make a "peak" given the time frame presented?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 08:58 am
A summary of the CDC report referenced in the opening post can be found here.

Number of tobacco incidents* in top-grossing movies --- United States, 1991--2009

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/figures/m5932a2f1.gif

* An incident was defined as the use or implied use of a tobacco product by an actor. A new incident occurred each time 1) a tobacco product went off screen and then back on screen, 2) a different actor was shown with a tobacco product, or 3) a scene changed, and the new scene contained the use or implied use of a tobacco product.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Aug, 2010 09:13 am
@joefromchicago,
Now there's a noisy signal for you.
HexHammer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2010 07:17 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

By this logic all kids would be trim and fit since you hardly ever see fat people in movies.
Unfortunaly our hunter instinct are very strong and can easily overwrite the desire through visual preception.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2010 07:43 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
As we all know, teenagers will mimic anything that they see in the movies according to the scientific principle of "monkey see, monkey do." That's why, for instance, you saw so many teenagers transforming themselves into autobots last summer. But should any cinematic depiction of smoking automatically earn a movie an R rating

Well, I'm not sure "teenagers will mimic anything that they see" is accurate. But I'd agree that depicting heros and other 'cool' smoking can and likely does has at least some effect.

To me, applying an "R" rating for praising or showing "unhealthy habits" isn't completely out of the question, but its a bit of a slippery slope. Yes, I think children shouldn't be allowed constant exposure to the glamorization of smoking, but where might this stop? Eating Red meat? Not flossing after meals? Ever see the movie "Demolition Man"? Now, this may also be a slippery slope (in the other direction), but the proposal equates to state legislating of healthy habits; which I'm always a wee bit leery of. There's also the none-too-insignificant point that for many youngsters, all an "R" rating does do is motivate them to want to see it more.

All in all, I'd say "No" - probably an ineffective idea wrought from a good motive. Good sentiment, just likely an iffy way of execution.

Thanks
BillRM
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2010 08:38 am
@Khethil,
Quote:
To me, applying an "R" rating for praising or showing "unhealthy habits" isn't completely out of the question, but its a bit of a slippery slope


Given that smoking shorten hundreds of thousands of people life every year and that if you prevent teenagers from starting to smoke as teenagers it is highly unlikely they will pick up the habit later in life, I am all for facing that slippery slope.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Aug, 2010 09:01 am
@Thomas,
Yes, that "peak" in 2005 just looks like noise. You have to love reporters using statistics.
0 Replies
 
 

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