How to Regard Smoking in Movies?
There is an opinion that a smoking character in a movie may be an advertisement for smoking especially for teenagers who are easier impressed by what they see on TV.
For this reason the question weather such movies should be rated "R" or not is an issue of discussion.
A group of researchers from Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth have investigated the issue and concluded that there is a kind of relation between smoking in films and adolescent smoking. It's not something new, however. In the past the clear association of smoking exposure was also investigated but not so deeply as it should have been. Thus it wasn't clear if smoking in movies provoked in a way young people to try it too. Or maybe it arises the desire to try one more adult-oriented habit, like sexual relations for example.
The researchers published a curious article in the journal Pediatrics where they compared two categories of movies: PG-13 and R-rated. They emphasized that the exposure to smoking in both categories had the same effect on adolescents' perception of cigarettes. They concluded that it is namely cigarette that attracts interest to young people, not the content of the movie.
The decision that was offered was quite simple: instead of decreasing the number of R-rated movies - to decrease the amount of smoking scenes in those categories of movies that are targeted at adolescent audience. The Motion Picture Association of America regards smoking a factor that should be considered while rating a certain movie. However, just smoking scenes are not the one condition needed to earn a film an R. There should be present other factors like "rude humor, vulgar scenes", etc.
By the way, the attraction to try smoking can be provoked by other factors as well. For example smoking in a family may be a decisive factor for an adolescent, as he/she has been already accustomed to the cigarette smoke since childhood. Just think: will you really be happier if less smoking in movies will be the one positive point against the rest smoking situation?