Are Teen Smokers Encouraged by Movies?
Tobacco manufacturers do not have the right to market their products directly to the young people of America. Also the companies are prohibited from advertising on TV, radio or newspapers.
The only means of advertising they can afford is in magazines catered toward adults. However, four million underage Americans currently smoke. It begs the question, what influences the decision of these teenagers to start smoking.
Unfortunately it is a question without a clear answer. Do images in movies influence children? How about all the Hollywood actors smoking and drinking coffee in order to hold back hunger and the weight off? Probably it is a peer influence.
“It is addictive, it is very addictive and I just have to have them,” Matt Brown said about the coming documentary Cigarette Wars.
David, now a 22-year old student, started smoking when he was 15 years old. He said that cool people in school encouraged him, but actors in films also helped to fasten this move.
“Whenever you see someone smoking on the screen, they look very cool doing it,” he said.
Dr. Stanton Glantz Professor of the University of San Francisco Medical School is leading a group called “Smoke-Free Movies” the aim of this group is to attribute an “R” rating to any movement that shows a smoker.
“There is a significant base of evidences from all over the world that demonstrates the more children see people smoking on screen, the more likely they will smoke in future,” Dr.Glantz stated.
Dr. Glantz believes that the history of smoking in films is long-present in Hollywood. It was the essential part of the cinema since the beginning and present film producers continue to use smoking as a kind of dramatic device.
“I suppose that movie directors who include smoking scenes in their films are either immoral or stupid. If they include smoking in their films in a way they are giving away, it is well known that thousand of dollars worth of free promotion to the tobacco manufacturers and they are not paid for it, so they are stupid,” Dr. Glantz said.
The Motion Picture Association of America has been active; however it hasn’t gone as far as Glantz requires them to go. In 2007, the MPAA decided to include smoking in the list of factors when rating a film.
In case in a film there is an excessive smoking, it can make a PG film PG-13.
“Any affirmation that we market our products to minors is unfounded,” declared Reynolds American.