A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that smoking in movies is back in fashion. According to the study, 41 percent of the U.S. top-grossing movies of 2016 (which account for 96 percent of American ticket sales) showed people interacting with tobacco in some way. Also worth noting: Incidences of tobacco usage in those films have increased 80 percent in just one year. Even more disturbing is the fact that the trend extends to youth-oriented films: Since 2010, tobacco use in PG-13 movies has increased by 43 percent.
While there had been a noticeable drop in smoking on screen from 2005 to 2010, in the past six years, the trend ceased its downward trajectory. In 2010, 564 PG-13-rated movies featured some form of tobacco consumption; in 2016, the number went up to 809 films. That statistic is particularly alarming when you consider that multiple studies have shown a causal relationship between smoking on screen and the beginning of tobacco usage in young adults. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, ”youths who are heavily exposed to onscreen smoking imagery are approximately two to three times more likely to begin smoking than youths who are less exposed.”
Aside from its findings, the study also proposed a number of initiatives to limit the amount of smoking exposure in films aimed at teenagers. First off, it recommended the MPAA give an R rating to any movie featuring tobacco ”unless the portrayal is of actual historical figures who smoked, a documentary, or if the portrayal includes the negative effects of tobacco use.” The authors of the study also suggested studios certify that cigarette brands have not paid them to promote their products in their films, and also asked state departments to consider denying subsidies to films that feature smoking.
Film critic Matt Zoller Seitz took to Twitter to address the study, while also posing the larger question: How much does art influence its viewers in general? ”What other things do movies (and by extension popular culture) ‘encourage’ people to do, or validate them doing?” he asked, pointing out that Clark Gable’s shirtless scene in It Happened One Night inadvertently tanked undershirt sales, and that some saxophone players born after 1980 have credited The Simpsons’s Lisa Simpson as inspiration. ”Given all this, how can filmmakers claim that violent movies don’t encourage date rape, assault, other forms of crime?” Zoller Seitz asked. ”I am not arguing for censorship or self-censorship, so don’t come at me with that. I’m just asking how we reconcile this issue.”
While freedom of artistic expression is important, limiting the marketing of smoking (a dangerous, expensive, and addictive habit) in teenage and young-adult movies seems like a cause that all studio heads and filmmakers should be able to rally behind. Just take a look at Disney, who in 2015 announced it would ban all types of smoking in all of its movies, including its highly profitable Marvel and Star Wars franchises. Coincidentally in 2016, Disney had the three top-grossing domestic movies of the year: Finding Dory, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Captain America: Civil War. The studio’s overwhelming profitability should be proof enough that audiences don’t crave smoking on screen. So what’s stopping the rest of Hollywood from coming to the same realization?Read more at:plus size prom dresses | marieprom