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CDC to Tinsel Town: Thank You for Not Smoking...Or Else

Perhaps I’m oblivious, but I don’t recall a lot of movies as of late where the characters are smoking. But I have twins and am always half asleep by the time we get to watch a movie so I guess I’ll have to take the CDC’s word for it. According to a new CDC report, nearly half of all the popular movies released in 2009 contained “tobacco imagery,” including 54 percent of the films that were rated PG-13. Although the the stats also show the incidents of smoking in movies have decreased by half since 2005. But I suppose that isn’t good enough for the CDC, which advocates mandating an automatic R rating on any movie that shows someone smoking a cigarette. Is it me or is that ridiculous? What about banning scenes with booze? Or people eating fast food? Oh, I know — kids should only be seen eating organic fruits and vegetables in movies and any film showing a youngster eating sugar is automatically rated X?

“Exposure to onscreen smoking in movies increases the probability that youths will start smoking. Youths who are heavily exposed to onscreen smoking are approximately two to three times more likely to begin smoking than youths who are lightly exposed,” the CDC report reads.

I’m a mom who doesn’t smoke, and of course don’t want my kids to ever start. But I’m not into mandating what movies can or cannot show and making it a factor in how the feature is rated. I think it’s my  job as a parent to know what kind of movies my kids are seeing and talking to them about the dangers of smoking. What do you think — should smoking automatically disqualify a film for PG rating?

And on a side note, in the age of a mounting national deficit, does it really behoove us to pay government workers to watch every “popular film” made in 2009 and analyze it for smoking scenes?

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