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Smoking In Films ‘Should Mean 18 Rating’

20 Sept 2011

Films depicting people smoking should be given an 18 certificate, according to a new report.

Smokers stub out their cigarettes

The report says children should not be able to see movies which show characters smoking

The study by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies and published by the British Medical Journal, says the cinema glamorises cigarettes and encourages young people to smoke.

It wants smoking to be treated like sex and violence.

Anti-smoking group Ash agrees. Chief Executive, Deborah Arnott said: “Smoking in films encourages children to take up smoking. And that’s no surprise.

“That is why tobacco advertising was banned, because showing images of people, particularly glamorous young people, smoking encourages children to smoke.”

Smoking has a long cinematic history. James Bond, Bridget Jones and Holly Golightly all famously enjoyed a puff.

But under the new proposed rules, children would not even be able to watch classic cartoons like 101 Dalmatians or Lord of the Rings which features a pipe-smoking Gandalf.

Classifiers say it is a matter of proportion. David Cooke, head of the British Board of Film Classification, said: “There is material in some films that glamorises smoking and that is one of the things we look out for as a classification issue.

“Smoking is an issue, but it is not just a concern for film, but TV as well as the internet, publishing, newspapers, magazines – you have to take a look at other types of misuse across a whole.

“You also have to look at other kinds – drugs, alcohol – clearly they are things we have to be vigilant about as well.”

“Smoking in films encourages children to take up smoking.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, Ash.

According to Cancer Research, by the age of 15, more than one in seven children regularly smoke.

But opinion is divided about whether banning it in films would make them give up.

Movie makers argue it is about freedom of expression and films should reflect real life.

Critic Mark Ecclestone says: “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy which will be up in award ceremonies, everyone smokes pretty much constantly in that movie.

“It would annoy a lot of people in that film if they were not allowed to do that as it is detail which gives the whole project authenticity.”

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