Earlier this year a study was published confirming an association between adolescent smoking initiation and smoking seen in PG-13 movies; including smoking seen in background shots, and other passing instances. Dr. James D. Sargent, of Dartmouth Medical School, in Lebanon, New Hampshire and lead author of the study, suggest movies with smoking should be rated R because of their potential negative influences on adolescents. Dr. Michael C. Fiore, director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research, in Madison agrees with Dr. Sargent. Interesting since 2007, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), an organization that assigns movies ratings, has included smoking in its key criteria rating. However, when considered- there are several factors that come in to play when assigning a rating: the broader context, how frequent it is visible, the extent of glamorization, and/or its historically relevance. Though smoking has become increasing rare in R-rated movies, it is still present and has an influence on adolescent smoking initiation.
Should we smack the R on Shrek 7 if donkey has a cigarette after a duel? (Shrek should be rated R for other reasons but we will not get in to that). MPAA does not tell moviemakers what they can and cannot put in their movies , but could we see freedom of speech and artistic expression be challenged as public health prevention strategies? Guess we need to go back and change Pinocchio to rated R.
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