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Friday, May 11, 2007

Hollywood "R" Rating Movies With Smoking Content

I was doing some background research for my work with the Campaign for a Smoke Free Alberta today. I was astonished to see an LA Times newspaper piece announcing that the Motion Picture Association of America pick up on the social issues and health risks associated with smoking and will now consider it as a factor in movie ratings.

Smoking is now associated on the “Silver Screen” right up there with violence, language, nudity and drug abuse in ranking criteria. The MPAA brass are quoted saying “ There is a broad awareness of smoking as a unique public health concern due to nicotine’s highly addictive nature and no parent want their child to take up the habit.”

Apparently studies prove depictions of smoking in the movies have made children more likely to try cigarettes. The Attorneys General in 32 States have publicly called on the MPAA to put “R” ratings on movies containing scenes involving smoking.

Some research by the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta is also showing that we are seeing an increase in smoking in movies from the late 1990s to where in 2002 it was at the same level as in 1950. Not a good sign.

The Stelmach government has introduced Bill 37 to raise the tobacco taxes and it has passed First Reading. The banning of smoking in public and workplaces and discontinuing sales in pharmacies is working it w way through the policy development process in the provincial government as we “speak.”

Reports back from the Premier Stelmach’s meeting in the Edmonton Meadowlark constituency thins week is he commented on this initiative proceeding and sees it as a good thing. A legislated ban has failed 4 times before…with new leadership and a concern over health and wellness emerging - maybe it will finally become the law of the land EVEN IN Alberta…one of the last hold out provinces!