Smoking in kids’ movies has become a thing of the past, a new study finds.
According to the study, scenes that include tobacco have dropped considerably over the past five years, with three film companies taking care to reduce on-screen smoking. Other companies have also drastically reduced the number of scenes with smoking as well.
Study author Ursula Bauer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained, “The more you see, the more likely you are to be open to smoking and start smoking.”
Of the top-grossing movies last year, the study found that about 45 percent had tobacco scenes, down from 67 percent in 2005.
The study looked at these companies: Time Warner (Warner Bros.), Comcast (Universal and Focus Features) and the Walt Disney Company (Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone, Pixar and Buena Vista).
In those companies’ movies, the number of tobacco scenes has been reduced to 96 percent – in most cases, there is no tobacco usage in these films at all.
Members of the Motion Picture Association of America factor smoking scenes into their rating. For example, “Furry Vengeance,” where a man smoked a cigar briefly and “Alice in Wonderland,” which showed a caterpillar smoking, were part of the reason for the PG ratings for these films.
I don’t think our family has noticed much smoking in movies recently, but we do typically watch the companies listed above, so it sounds like it’s almost completely a thing of the past.
The place we really see smoking is in the old school cartoons my kids sometimes watch – the Pink Panther and Tom and Jerry come to mind, but I’m certain that the Looney Tunes characters of old probably had a smoke now and then too.
My kids always ask why the Pink Panther is smoking in the opening credits or why the characters drink too much. Ah, opportunities for discussions with your kids are all around us, even in cartoons.