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Everyone knows that smoking cigarettes is bad for our health. Because of this, some people are sensitive about smoking being portrayed in our television shows and films. Smoking has long been a part of the big and small screen; for many years, tobacco companies paid movie studios to place their cigarettes in films. Of course, this is no longer allowed. However, characters in TV shows and movies still do smoke in some situations.
This is what has many people up in arms. According to them, the images of people smoking are powerful because it can make young people think that smoking is cool and normal. The thinking goes that young people tend to idolize movie stars, and may think that they should emulate both the good and bad habits that they see on the screen.
People who oppose smoking on the big screen also point to a recent study that showed that in 2011, the highest-grossing films had more characters smoking on screen than in 2010. This was a reverse of five years of fewer characters smoking on screen.
Another study – in India – showed that there may be a link between the use of tobacco in Indian ‘Bollywood’ films, and tobacco use in young people in India and other countries. This study suggested that young people who were the most receptive to promotions of tobacco use tended to have been more exposed to characters smoking in films.
If We’re Going to Ban Smoking, Why Not Sugar, Too?
While it may be true that there is some correlation between smoking on screen and teenage tobacco use, people on the other side argue whether we really should be regulating and limiting how character behave on screen and what sort of habits that they have. Where does this end? Does every character in every film and TV show have to have only good habits? Should all TV shows feature people who only do good things to their bodies?
There are many examples of characters in TV and movies doing other things that are bad for them. People overeat in TV shows. Should we also begin to limit this behavior on screen?
Also, others argue that we are being rather hypocritical about limiting smoking on screen, when we are actively encouraging people to consume large sodas, candy and popcorn when they are viewing the movie.
As the well-known public health expert Dr. Robert Lustig has noted, the dangers of over consumption of sugar are as bad or worse than the effects of smoking cigarettes. If we are going to begin limiting smoking in our entertainment, surely we should also begin to limit any images of characters eating large amounts of candies, cookies and other processed foods that are full of sugar.
According to health statistics, obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the US, just behind the use of tobacco. So, it entirely makes sense that if we are going to limit the use of tobacco in films, we should also restrict how many cookies and chocolate bars our characters are eating.
Also check out the latest movie documentary trailer called, ‘Hungry for Change”. This documentary exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industry don’t want you to know about. Deceptive strategies designed to keep you craving more and more. Warning: some scenes may contain people smoking.