Let’s take a brief look to the list of movies subject to be re-rated to R: both episodes of Men in Black, where the aliens as well as main characters smoke, The Lord of the Rings where the hobbits smoke pipes, The Ant Bully, The Hellboy (both episodes), One Hundred and One Dalmations and even two episodes of legendary Tom & Jerry Show. All these movies and hundreds other films should be R-rated according to The Medical Association claims. That seems just ridiculous.
In addition, two recent box-office successes The Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which took almost all the Oscars on this year’s award ceremony, should also be rated as R movies since they depicted smoking.
I am definitely not trying to make you believe that underage smoking is not bad or cigarettes are healthy (what is a tremendous lie), however banning big-screen smoking or tough no-tolerance regulations in films is a very dangerous matter on a slippery road to absurd censorship. It’s was comparatively right thing from the state governments to prohibit indoor smoking, since everyone knows that exposure second hand smoke is almost as hazardous as smoking, but it’s a totally wrong to regulate cinema basing on the requirements of a health-freak minority. What would be the next thing to ban in movies? Violence? Coarse language? Nudity? Wait a minute; these things have already been regulated. Maybe health groups will draw their attention to junk food in movies or alcohol or street racing? Believe me, all these practices are dangerous for health and especially the mental health of young minds, so the next summer campaign should focus on outlawing these practices for the sake of future generations.
A rather approximate statistic the anti-smoking activists lo always cite is “nonsmoking minors who see their favorite celebrities smoke in movies are ten times more likely to try smoking as well.” But, please, waist a minute to think how many of those nonsmoking teens have also seen their own parents or relatives puffing on their cigarettes? How many songs those teenagers love to hear about drugs, alcohol or violence? What I am trying to say is that there are a lot of bad things that surround our children and although smoking is one of such harmful things, it should not singled out alone.
I think it is useless to keep arguing. The last thing that seems significant to me is that such campaigns are a complete waist of money. Instead of investing enormous funds on billboards ignored by studios and simple people, such Medical Associations should spend these funds on educating children about the hazards of smoking. In addition, for an entity so preoccupied about with children health, they don’t seem to be so much concerned about the hazardous pollution from their trucks rolling across the city.