And, that has some anti-smoker fanatics concerned. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), for example, claims that:
- Smoking in movies is "one of the gravest threats to U.S. teens”;
- On-screen tobacco recruits 390,000 new teen smokers each year in the U.S. and;
- Movies with tobacco help to recruit one-third to one-half of young smokers in the U.S.
But, back to the movies.
Linda Titus-Ernstoff, a pediatrics professor at Dartmouth Medical School, is the author of a “study” which claims: "Movies seen at the youngest ages had as much influence over later smoking behavior as the movies which children had seen recently,"
"And I'm increasingly convinced that this association between movie-smoking exposure and smoking initiation is real," she added. "That's to say, causal. It is quite improbable that the association we see is due to some other influence, some other characteristic inherent in children or parental behavior. The relationship is clearly between movie-smoking and smoking initiation."
Scenesmoking.org is an anti-smoker web site dedicated to the proposition that kids will become instant addicts should they be exposed to the ghastly sight of seeing someone light up a cigarette on screen. They have a little counter at the foot of their site that reads, “(X number of) kids have become addicted from seeing tobacco in movies since you hit this site.” Uh-huh; just watching the movies got them “hooked”.
The group, apparently, has their own board of censors, referred to as “reviewers”. And, of course, they have their banned list. An example from their website: “Here are some movies being released in the coming weeks that you may want to think about before you see. Our reviewers have seen tobacco in the trailers, indicating tobacco use in the film.” Geez, I hope the “reviewers” were all consenting adults.
Their reviews were short and to the point, “Leatherheads – George Clooney directs and stars, Renee Zellweger smokes cigarettes.”
But, if alcohol, drugs, sex, and violence are acceptable in films, as long as they stay within limits, how can smoking be unacceptable. Does no one see the hypocrisy of a zero-tolerance policy for cigarettes, but a very different, much more liberal, policy for alcohol, sex and violence?
Or, are all those things on the behavioural modification list of the anti-everything extremists?