Melon Farmers Original Version

Adult Rating for Smoking

Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films


Les Miserables...

French anti-smoking campaigners call for less smoking in French movies

Link Here26th May 2021
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films
Anti-smoking campaigners claim that French cinema is addicted to showing smoking on screen. A new survey claims smoking features in nearly all the country's films.

The French League Against Cancer says smoking gets 2.6 minutes of screen time on average per film. Tobacco remains quasi-ubiquitous in French films, the League says. However the survey stretches definitions so as to include the presence of ashtrays and of cigarettes, or a character talking about smoking.

The group claims the exposure glamorises smoking and is calling for new measures to cut down the amount shown in movies. A spokesman explained that the group wants to restrict cultural creation. A spokesperson explains:

We do not want to interfere in cultural creation ...BUT... we do not believe that tobacco smoking adds to the character of movies.

But some prominent French filmmakers are aghast at the suggestion that they could be restricted from depicting tobacco use. Mathieu Kassovitz, the award-winning director of La Haine and star of Am39lie, told the BBC:

Movies are not there to be role models - they are there to show what society is,. We have cigarettes in real life so they should be in movies too.

He also pointed out that smoking is not always shown in a positive light.



Update: Ratings you can't trust...

World Health Organisation calls for stupid ratings for movies to support its pet anti-smoking campaign

Link Here 1st February 2016
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has ludicrously called for films showing smoking to be given an adult rating.

Movies showing use of tobacco products have enticed millions of young people worldwide to start smoking , the WHO claimed in a statement.  Dr Douglas Bettcher, WHO's director for the department of prevention of non-communicable diseases, added:

With ever tighter restrictions on tobacco advertising, film remains one of the last channels exposing millions of adolescents to smoking imagery without restrictions. Smoking in films can be a strong form of promotion for tobacco products.

Of course WHO is unconcerned by the effects of film censors being forced to award blatantly stupid ratings and the effect that this would have on parents' trust and support of movie ratings.



Offsite Article: Anime Censorship Reaches New Levels of Stupid...

Link Here 23rd March 2015
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films
TV censorship in Japan

See article from



Updated: Clean Living...

Disney decides to end the depiction of smoking in its movies rated G, PG and PG-13

Link Here19th March 2015
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films
Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger have declared that the company will absolutely prohibit smoking in its films that are targeted at younger audiences.

The details of the company's plan is that all Disney films featuring a PG-13 rating or lower - which includes the titles from Marvel Studios - will not be allowed to depict any of its characters smoking. The only potential exception to this rule is in cases where historical accuracy is important. An example that the executive threw out is Abraham Lincoln, who was just the subject of a Steven Spielberg-directed biopic and was known to be a smoker during his lifetime.

Bob Iger made it clear that the decision being made is an internal one, and not meant to influence either other Hollywood studios or the ratings board. Said Iger, We don't get involved in how MPAA applies ratings to films... nor do we try to influence the policies of the other studios we compete with.

Update: Dragged Out

19th March 2015. Thanks to Braintree

  One of Disney's earlier movies, Melody Time , was released on DVD quite some time ago and one of the characters in it, Pecos Bill, has been adjusted to remove the cigarette that he has in his mouth. So this smoking ban is not new. Curiously the US disc is edited, but the existing UK DVD contains the unedited version.

Melody Time is a 1948 USA family animation by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson...
Starring Roy Rogers, Trigger and Dennis Day. BBFC link IMDb

From IMDb:

In 1998 Disney changed the Pecos Bill segment. They cut a scene of Bill rolling a smoke and digitally removed all other shots of the offending cigarette hanging from his lips. The cigarette was edited out in each case resulting in the removal of almost the entire tornado sequence and some odd hand and mouth movements for Bill throughout.



Update: Addicted to Self Importance...

More health researchers call for an R Rating for movies with smoking

Link Here 10th July 2012
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

Another team of health campaigners feel that the US film censorship system should be used to further their pet cause.

Movies that show actors smoking tobacco should automatically earn an R rating in order to minimize copycat smoking among impressionable tweens and teenagers, the authors of a new study suggest. Lead author James D. Sargent, M.D., a cancer-prevention specialist and professor of pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical School, in Lebanon, N.H. said:

The movie industry [should] treat smoking like it treats profanity and sex and violence. If saying the 'F' word twice gets you an R rating, certainly something as important as smoking should get you an R rating.

He seems to be saying that because the censorship scheme is naff in one area, then they may as well make it even more naff in another area. There is no comment from team on how this will effect the all important credibility of film ratings.

The study, which appears in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics , was designed in part to refute the notion that it's difficult to untangle movie smoking from the many other situations, both on-screen and off, that may contribute to adolescent impulses.

PG-13 films account for nearly two-thirds of the smoking scenes adolescents see on the big screen, according to the two-year study, which surveyed roughly 5,000 children ages 10 to 14 about the movies they'd seen and whether they'd ever tried a cigarette.

Smoking in PG-13 films---including background shots and other passing instances---was just as strongly linked with real-world experimentation as the smoking in R-rated films. For every 500 smoking scenes a child saw in PG-13 movies, his or her likelihood of trying cigarettes increased by 49%. The comparable figure for R-rated movies was 33%, a statistically negligible difference.

Assigning an R rating to all movies portraying smoking would lower the proportion of kids who try cigarettes at this age by 18%, the authors estimate. (Children under 17 must be accompanied by an adult to buy a ticket for an R-rated movie.)

Sargent and his colleagues can't prove from this study alone that movies incite kids to smoke. But they did zero in on movies by controlling for a wide range of extenuating factors, including race, household income, school performance, parenting styles, smoking among friends and family members, and even personality traits such as rebelliousness.

Since 2007, the MPAA has included smoking among its key ratings criteria, along with language, sex, violence, and drug use. According to the association, film raters consider smoking in this broader context, and they also consider how frequent, glamorized, or historically relevant it is.



Update: Weak Minds...

Philippines health freaks call on film censors to ban smoking

Link Here10th June 2012
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) has urged the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to ban cigarette-smoking scenes in television and in films.

Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag announced calls to prohibit showing images of actors smoking in TV and film. Citing health hazards caused by smoking, Tayag said the move will help in preventing Filipino audiences, especially the youth, from being encouraged to smoke, and from emulating the same act as they see it being done by popular celebrities.

Tayag also said he hopes the MTRCB will release a memorandum addressing the issue, such that portrayals of cigarette or tobacco-smoking will be regulated in television and in films.



Smoked Out...

Russia introduces wide ranging anti-smoking bill that includes film censorship

Link Here27th May 2012
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

A Russian ban on smoking in public places may soon turn into law, warns the Russian Health Ministry.

A draft law has been submitted for MPs' consideration. If passed, the bill will be tougher on smokers than legislation in most European countries.

The bill includes the clause that cigarettes and smoking in children's movies will be subject to censorship.


12th November

Update: Don't Copy This at Home Children...

India to end its smoking problem via movie censorship

Henceforth, every time an Indian actor is seen taking a puff on screen, a prominent scroll warning that smoking is injurious to health will run at the bottom. What's more, the actor will personally read out the ill-effects of smoking, say the new health ministry rules to be effective from Monday.

According to the rules, all filmmakers depicting usage of tobacco will have to show a message or spot of minimum 30 seconds at the beginning and middle of the concerned film or TV programme.

For films or programmes being made after Monday, a strong editorial justification for display of tobacco products or their use shall be given to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) along with at least a UA (Parental Guidance) rating.

A representative from health ministry will also be present in the CBFC.

Also, the names of brands of cigarettes and other tobacco products will also have to be cropped or blurred.


21st September

Updated: Fag End Campaigners...

Anti-tobacco nutters think their own pet interests are above all other considerations in film classification

Tobacco campaigners have attacked incompetent film regulators and insouciant politicians for failing to act upon evidence suggesting that teenagers are being lured into smoking by seeing it in movies.

The call by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies for a complete overhaul of film regulation to protect young people from pervasive and highly damaging imagery has been rejected despite what the centre considers compelling evidence.

 Alison Lyons and John Britton from the centre wrote:

Smoking in films remains a major and persistent driver of smoking uptake among children and young people, which the actions of irresponsible film makers, incompetent regulators and insouciant politicians are abjectly failing to control.

Researchers at the University of Bristol found that 15-year-olds most exposed to films in which characters smoked were 73% cent more likely to have tried a cigarette, and nearly 50% more likely to be a current smoker, than those who watched the fewest films featuring smoking.

The campaigners call for films that feature smoking to be automatically classified as 18 and to be regarded as dangerous as illicit drugs and violence.

A Department of Culture, Sports and Media spokesman said:

The Government believes the current arrangements provide sufficient control on the depiction of smoking in films and a total ban would be a disproportionate interference. This action would undermine the credibility, and therefore the quality, of domestically produced films.

Update: BBFC Reply

21st September 2011. See  article from

The BBFC said its current guidelines were proportionate; take due account of the available evidence of harm; and reflect the clear wishes of the public .

David Cooke, the board's director, said:

Glamorising smoking has been included as a classification issue in our published classification guidelines.

There is, however, no public support for automatically classifying, for instance, a PG film at 18 just because it happens to contain a scene of smoking.


14th June

Update: Healthy Skepticism...

Philippines film censor to consider a ban on smoking in films and on TV

Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Grace Poe Llamanzares said the Department of Health (DOH) has consulted the agency regarding the guidelines in the possible implementation of a no-smoking directive on TV shows and films.

Earlier, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino appealed to showbiz industry stakeholders to shun depicting scenes of actors and actresses smoking in their entries in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

But the majority of showbiz stakeholders frowned on Tolentino's appeal. They warned that Tolentino may be treading on dangerous and questionable legal grounds since filmmaking is covered by the constitutional right of free expression.


12th June

Update: Smoking Iceland...

Parliamentary move to ban smoking in the movies

Nine Iceland MPs, led by Progressive Party MP Siv Fridleifsdottir, have suggested in a bill that the general sale of tobacco be banned and the visibility of smoking in Iceland be limited, reports.

This includes limiting smoking in movies and plays by preventing state funding for such productions.

The idea has been harshly criticized by actors and directors; Baltasar Kormakur told Frettabladid that this is the first step towards using state funding for censorship.


10th March

Update: Government Need to Kick their Health Kick Habit...

Looking to TV, films and the internet to extinguish the portrayal of smoking

Further curbs on the portrayal of smoking on television, in films and on the internet are to be considered by the government, which said the tobacco industry continued to find ways of promoting products despite legislation banning advertising.

The Department of Health in England promised to continue to work to reduce the depiction of smoking and tell regulators and the entertainment industry to consider what more could be done.

Guidelines produced by Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, say smoking should generally not be shown before the 9pm TV watershed and should never be glamorised or condoned.

A spokesman for the BBFC said a public consultation in 2009 had asked whether portrayal of smoking should be regarded as a classification issue, concluding that the overwhelming response was, people did not believe it should be.

Action over internet controls, however, will have to be pursued at a global level, potentially through the World Health Organisation.

The government's tobacco control plan states that the way smoking is portrayed can create the false impression that tobacco use is a normal, or even glamorous, activity, and rarely shows the real life negative consequences of tobacco use .

It adds: Smoking in the media can also give a false impression that tobacco use is more common than it actually is. [Bollox! Far few smoke in the media than in real life]

We remain especially concerned about how these influences affect perceptions of social norms and how they encourage young people to take up smoking.

Update: Even the Box Office Lights Up for Rango

See  article from

The unusual, hilarious and endearingly weird Rango hit US theaters last weekend, but the animated PG western is causing a stir among anti-smoking advocates who say that the number of characters who light up are unacceptable.

A lot of kids are going to start smoking because of this movie, said Stanton Glantz director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California.

Glantz's group and other smoke-free organizations are renewing efforts with the MPAA to slap an R-rating on any film that shows smoking.

Critics and audiences are praising Rango for being a grown-up cartoon, making references to spaghetti westerns (lots of smoking in those films ... ) and other adult-friendly movies.

A spokeswoman for Paramount said: The images of smoking in the film ... are portrayed by supporting characters and are not intended to be celebrated or emulated.


19th December

Update: Huffing and Puffing...

Indian censor rejects notion to rate films as adult because they contain cigarette smoking

Despite the growing clamour by health activists to cut out smoking scenes from the celluloid world, the censor board may not snip them, neither will it add an adults-only A rating.

If smoking scenes are central to the plot, they stay, chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification Sharmila Tagore told TOI. Sharmila was asked in the context of two upcoming releases which have actors lighting up on screen— Break Ke Baad and No One Killed Jessica .

A case in point, she said, was Anurag Kashyap's Udaan which showed teenagers smoking. There are times when it is needed to establish a personal trait of a character.We need to allow that. Besides, in most cases, it is only in one or two scenes, Sharmila said.

She rejected reports that the information and broadcasting ministry had sent a notice, asking it to issue A certificates for films with smoking scenes. We have not received any such directive from our ministry. As of now, we are following the guidelines that state smoking scenes should not be glorified and, if a character is smoking on screen, a disclaimer should be inserted for that scene.


23rd November

Update: Film Posters Doctored...

Doctors protest smoking on Indian film poster

Posters of the film Guzaarish showing actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan smoking have got doctors riled.

About 1,500 doctors from Mumbai, attached to Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), gathered at KEM Hospital and pinned black ribbons to their white robes to protest against the poster.

The protest received support from Indian Medical Association, Mumbai, and Doctors for You, a non-government organistaion.

MARD has written to the film makers, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the state health minister. The doctors want Aishwarya to personally explain to the youth, especially women, the evils of smoking. We want the poster removed immediately from BEST buses and other places and a boycott of the film by all concerned citizens. We also want the censor board to act sensibly, said Dr Madhav Swami, president, MARD.


25th August

Update: Smoked Out...

Campaigners herald smoking contribution to MPAA ratings for drop in movie smoking

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) has announced that scenes of smoking in high-grossing films fell to 1,935 incidents last year, down 49% from the recent peak of 3,967 in 2005.

This may in part be the result of a change in 2007 that includes smoking incidence in MPAA ratings, following four years of requests from state attorneys general and other groups. The MPAA has refused, however, to make smoking an automatic R-rating, even with an exclusion for historical accuracy in films like Good Night and Good Luck .

A significant factor in reduced smoking onscreen may also be pressure from websites that specifically review smoking in movies. Smoke Free Movies, a project of Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, has a directory of actors with more than three smoking roles. Scene Smoking from Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, shows how smoking is shown in films, classifying it by whether it is the lead actor, a credited non-star, or an extra, whether the brand is shown, and whether the smoker is a good guy or a bad guy.


17th June

Update: Freeview HD Recording Restrictions...

Ofcom allow recording restrictions on Freeview broadcasts

Ofcom has granted the BBC the power to introduce anti-piracy technology to Freeview to limit the recording of high-definition TV shows, despite complaints from organisations including the Open Rights Group that it is not in consumer or competition interest.

The BBC is to be allowed to change the Freeview multiplex licence to allow copy protection technology in set-top boxes.

Ofcom said today that only manufacturers of set-top boxes and Freeview HD TV sets that include anti-piracy technology will be allowed to be compatible with the Freeview electronic programming guide. 

Ofcom said that manufacturers would not be discriminated against and that the licence that would be required would be free. Consumers with existing set-top boxes will not have to buy new ones, the spokesman added.

The BBC's proposal would widen the range of HD content available on the [Freeview] platform, in particular high-value film and drama content, and this would bring positive benefits to citizens and consumers and also help ensure that the [Freeview] platform is able to compete on similar terms with other digital TV platforms for HD content rights, said Ofcom.


17th June

Update: Fag End Idea...

Plymouth plan to impose 18 rating on film with smoking

Children in Plymouth could be banned from watching films in which characters are seen smoking, it has emerged.

An 18 certificate would be attached to any film release which features the unhealthy habit, in attempt to prevent it from appearing glamorous.

If the plan goes ahead, it would mean many children's classics showing to only adult audiences in the event of a one-off showing or re-release.

The plans to give an 18 certificate to films that depict smoking have been laid out in the city's Tobacco Control Strategy 2010 to 2020 - a joint scheme between the NHS and the council.

A similar proposal was made last year to Liverpool City Council, but it was thrown out for reasons of practicality shortly afterwards.

Russ Moody, manager of Plymouth NHS Stop Smoking Service, said: This is about shaping the culture that surrounds the use of tobacco. Once people understand why we are doing it, to protect young people and highlight the dangers associated with smoking, on the whole, most people are compliant.

A spokesman for Plymouth City Council said the idea to enforce 18 certificates came from a forum called Smokefree Plymouth Alliance: More adults smoke in Plymouth than elsewhere in the country and the alliance is keen to look at any ideas that will give people a longer and healthier life.

Update: Stubbed Out

13th December 2010. Based on article from

In a strange development, those responsible for decision-making in this area displayed some common sense. Hurrah for the council, who said the issue should be left to national classification systems and guideline.


1st May

Update: Credibility Banned from Indian Film Censorship...

India mandates adult rating for films with smoking

Sharmila Tagore has been upset by the Indian government's new rules on smoking censorship, according to Mid Day.

The chief of the Censor Board of Film Certification reportedly does not like that all films which show smoking now have to be given an Adults only certificate.

It has been claimed that she thinks each film should be judged individually and that there should be no blanket rule.


29th April

Update: No Consideration for Others...

Academics calls for films to be rated according to their pet smoking concerns

Another analysis of modern films found that movies rated PG show cigarette use, with smoking also prominent in features granted 12 or 12A certificates.

The researchers also warned that active product placement may still be taking place, with British films more likely to feature specific tobacco brands than their US equivalents.

The analysis of the 15 most-popular films to screen in UK cinemas each year since 1989 was carried out by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies. It scrutinised 300 films, recording how often tobacco use and smoking paraphernalia, such as cigarette packs, lighters, ashtrays, or a particular brand, appeared.

While it found that the prevalence of tobacco imagery has fallen dramatically over the past two decades, there remained notable exceptions. Tobacco, or tobacco by association, appeared in 70% of the films reviewed, over half of which had been given a 15 classification by the BBFC. Brand appearances were nearly twice as likely to occur in films with UK involvement, it added. It singled out two successful home-grown productions, Bridget Jones's Diary and About a Boy , for stern criticism.

Ailsa Lyons, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham who led the study, said the findings demonstrated the need for the BBFC to review its guidance on smoking in films in order to protect vulnerable youngsters.

She said: Although smoking imagery and branding images in the most popular films have become substantially less common over the past 20 years, it is apparent that children and young people watching films in the UK are still exposed to frequent and, at times specifically branded, tobacco imagery, particularly in films originating from the UK. More consistent application of BBFC guidance could dramatically reduce this exposure and protect children and young people from damaging imagery, and encourage film makers to avoid tobacco imagery without compromising artistic freedoms or factual accuracy.

Professor John Britton, head of the university's epidemiology and public health division and the report's co-author, added: It is well established that tobacco companies used films to promote tobacco products for many years, and adolescents who view tobacco use in film and who admire the lead actors whose characters smoke, were likely to view smoking favourably.

The BBFC said the idea of imposing an 18 rating on films which feature smoking was not going to happen, with the only exception being where a film actively promoted the habit.

The findings are published in the latest British Medical Journal's Thorax publication.


16th March

Update: Cinema Chain Smoking...

Nutter researchers think they can undermine the credibility of film classification to suit their own agenda

  Don't smoke kids.
Smoking addles the brain and
you may turn into a barmy researcher

The analysis of hundreds of films released in the past decade found that young Britons see more cigarette use in movies than their US counterparts because the UK censors judge more films to be family friendly.

Researchers warn that the more smoking adolescents witness onscreen, the more their chances of taking up the habit increases, with those who see the most tobacco use about three times more likely to start smoking than those who watch the least.

The study, compiled by Dr Christopher Millett of Imperial College London and Professor Stanton Glantz of California University, advocated an overhaul of the ratings system: Awarding an 18 rating to films that contain smoking would create an economic incentive for motion picture producers to simply leave smoking out of films developed for the youth market .

The researchers assessed the number of onscreen smoking or tobacco occurrences in 572 top grossing films in the UK between 2001 and 2006, including 546 screened in the United States, plus 26 high-earning films released only in the UK. They then divided the total box office earnings of each film by the year's average ticket price to calculate the estimated number of tobacco impressions delivered to audiences for each film.

Among the films assessed, over two thirds featured tobacco. Of these more than nine out of ten were classified as suitable for adolescents (15 or 12A) under the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) system.

The study, which will be published in Tobacco Control, found that in all, 5.07 billion tobacco impressions were delivered to UK cinema-going audiences during the period, of which 4.49 billion were delivered in 15 and 12A rated films. Because 79% of the films rated only for adults in the US (R) were classified as suitable for young people in the UK young Britons were exposed to 28% more smoking impressions in 15 or 12A rated movies than their US peers.

Dr Millett said: The decision to classify a film as appropriate for youths clearly has economic benefits for the film industry. A film classification policy that keeps on-screen smoking out of films rated suitable for youths would reduce this exposure for people under 18 years of age and probably lead to a substantial reduction in youth smoking.

However, Sue Clark, spokeswoman for the BBFC, said imposing an 18 rating on films which feature scenes of smoking is not going to happen .

She said: Sometimes smoking is included in a film for reasons of historical accuracy. The only time we would consider stepping in is if we felt a film was actively promoting smoking. But I have never seen a film that did that.


17th December

Update: Stubbed Out...

Liverpool 18 rated smoking films proposal rejected

Proposals to rate films showing smoking as 18 certificates were rejected by Liverpool councillors.

The proposals put forward by Liverpool Primary Care Trust were rejected by an overwhelming majority despite impassioned pleas from health executive Cllr Ron Gould.

But full council heard members on both political sides attack what they claimed amounted to censorship on the grounds of public health .

The PCT has spent months preparing and consulting on its case for the ban, which it insisted would only cover new productions which show smoking in a positive light.


7th September

Update: Smoked Out...

Indonesia looks to stub out smoking in movies

The National Commission for Child Protection said that politicians had to ban the advertising of cigarette in movies in Indonesia

We demand that the House of Representatives insert an article in the bill on films banning cigarette promotions in movies, said Muhammad Joni, the vice chairman of the Commission. The Commission said the bill must forbid cigarette companies from sponsoring the production of films, ban scenes where actors are shown smoking and prevent companies from marketing tobacco brands in the film.

Observers have speculated that the reason Indonesia has not devised a law banning cigarette ads or promotions could be that tobacco companies pay millions of rupiah in tax every year. The government has issued a regulation banning cigarette ads at sporting events and during certain hours in electronic media, like television.


14th August

Update: Opinions Smoked Out...

Liverpool consult residents over an 18 rating for movies with smoking

Liverpool City Council are proposing to override the BBFC and award 18 cinema certificates to films showing tobacco smoking.

The 18 rating would not apply to films which portray historical figures who actually smoked or those which provide a clear and unambiguous portrayal of the dangers of smoking, other tobacco use, or second-hand smoke, the council said.

The proposal has been made to the authority's Licensing and Gambling Committee by Liverpool Primary Care Trust.

If the plans go ahead, cinemas and any other premises showing films would have to notify the council 21 days in advance if they intend to show films containing images of smoking.

Today, Liverpool council launched a public consultation exercise on its website.

The BBFC is generally responsible for classifying films. However, under the Licensing Act 2003 local councils have statutory powers to classify or re-classify films to be exhibited in their particular areas. Although the government's guidance concerning the Licensing Act 2003 recommends that local councils should not duplicate the work of the BBFC it does allow local councils to reclassify films if there are good local reasons for doing so.

Offsite: Send for the Sanity Inspector

14th August 2009. See Why pretend the past was cigarette-free? from

A council's plans to bar under-18s from films with smoking sets us on a dangerous path, says Gerald Warner.

Send for the Sanity Inspector quickly. There is work for him among the denizens of Liverpool city council. The council is proposing to use its powers to upgrade to an 18-certificate the classification of films "if they depict images of tobacco smoking", in order to protect the vulnerable youth of Merseyside from exposure to such depravity.

...Read full article


3rd August

Update: Bad Habits...

Chinese groups campaign against smoking in Chinese films

A group of 40 Chinese film and TV actors have endorsed a move to ban scenes featuring smoking and tobacco products from film and TV programs

The anti-smoking campaign, which would mean any scenes including tobacco consumption would have to be cleared, is being led by the non-governmental Chinese Association on Tobacco Control (CATC) and governmental Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Tobacco Control Office.

CATC's research shows that about one third to half of the smoking youth in China began smoking after seeing their idols smoking in films or on TV. The more smoking scenes showed in a program, young people feel more motivated and encouraged to smoke, the research said.

The campaign calls for the authority to strengthen the censorship of smoking scenes and asks actors and celebrities to reject smoking scenes on film or TV.

At present, China's Regulation on Film Management and Script Registration stipulates that scenes excessively showing bad habits such as alcoholism and smoking should be deleted or edited.


3rd August

Offsite: Censors Smoked Out...

Why is Audrey Tautou smoking a fountain pen?

French people see Audrey Tautou in her pyjamas and drawing deep on a Gauloise, enticing pushovers like me to go and see Coco Avant Chanel .

And here she is again in the poster seen in British cinemas: same pose, same eyes, same pyjamas but instead of the fag, a preposterous pen.

...Read full article


1st August

Update: No Smoking...

Smoking censors cut Indian movie

Till yesterday evening, the team of Agyaat was worried if Censor board would come down heavily on the film. It's a 'supernatural thriller' or a 'horror flick' or a 'slasher'.

However once the film was shown to Censors, they happily passed it with just two cuts. Not just that, they also granted the film a U/A certificate.

The two cuts which have been made though are from the song Shiv Shambh '. The song has a few shots featuring a 'chillam' [an elaborate pipe like a hookah].

Says a source attached to the film: Censors felt that depicting such shots from the film would go against their anti-smoking stance. As per them, the song would have been better off if these two shots were cut. We also complied and didn't complain much. Yes, we do feel though that it would have been better had the song remained as it is since it's a part of a film being shot within a film. But then, it's ok.


18th June

Update: Burning Issue...

Liverpool to consult residents over an 18 rating for movies with smoking

Liverpool residents and local businesses are to be consulted on a proposal which would see new films which show characters smoking given an 18 rating in the city.

The proposed classification would mean that films which depict images of tobacco smoking would only be regarded as suitable for adult viewing. The move is being proposed by Liverpool Primary Care Trust.

This proposal would not apply to films which portray historical figures who actually smoked and those which provide a clear and unambiguous portrayal of the dangers of smoking, other tobacco use, or second-hand smoke.

It would also not change the classification of old films which have scenes of people smoking. These films would still be shown in Liverpool using their original classification.

Under the proposal, cinemas and any other premises showing films would have to notify the council 21 days in advance if they intend to show films containing images of smoking.

The City Council's Licensing and Gambling Committee have agreed to consult interested organisations and the general public about changing its licensing policy. The consultation with the public is likely to start in the middle of August and last until October.

Cllr Malcolm Kelly, Committee Chair, said: I would stress that no decision about this proposal has been made yet.

We were given a presentation earlier this year by the PCT in which they spoke about the high level of young people who smoke in Liverpool and that research showed that young people, are more likely to smoke if they were influenced by seeing their favourite stars smoking in films.

However, we want to get the views of a wide range of organisations and the public in general before we decide whether to go ahead with this idea.

Overruling the BBFC

Based on article from

Government guidance says authorities should only overrule the BBFC if there are "very good local reasons".

In its report to the council, Liverpool PCT said the city's smoking prevalence was excessively high at 29%. The national level is 22%. It added that research from several countries suggested smoking in movies was the most potent of the social influences which lead young people into smoking.

BBFC spokeswoman Sue Clark told the BBC that while the council was obviously entitled to re-classify films, members of the public were unlikely to back the idea: We have done our own consultation with the public and we specifically asked them about whether smoking in films should be a classification issue - we were told it shouldn't. We don't make it a classification issue unless a film is actively promoting smoking to young people - and we've never seen a film which does that.

Excessive smoking in a film may be flagged up in its consumer advice, or the extended classification information on the BBFC website, said Ms Clark.


2nd June

Update: Ban on Movie Smoking Impractical...

A change of heart at the Indian healthy ministry

India's Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's view is that a blanket ban on smoking on-screen is not practical .

Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt said the film fraternity is with the nation in making people aware against the use of tobacco: I congratulate and applaud the Health Minister for his comments on smoking on-screen. Ghulam Nabi Azad is light years ahead of Ramadoss and he proved that action speaks volumes than words.

It is just entertainment. There are so many objectionable things which are shown on screen like murder, arson and so on...Then such things should be banned first...I think we should try to implement whatever we can, Azad had said on World No Tobacco Day.

Azad's comment is in sharp contrast to that of former health minister Anbumani Ramadoss, who wanted a complete ban on smoking in films and TV serials.

On the plea of Mahesh Bhatt and some other members of the film industry, the Delhi High Court had on January 23 said that smoking was a part of life and banning it would amount to the violation of the fundamental rights.


29th May

Update: Rated R for Rant...

US Medical Association whinges at smoking in the movies

The American Medical Association Alliance, pointing to research that big-screen smoking leads teens to pick up the tobacco habit, called for an R rating for any movie with smoking scenes.

The MPAA head, however, said the smoke has been clearing from youth-rated movies, a result of the film industry's sensitivity to the issue.

The alliance, the medical association's advocacy arm, launched a summer campaign this week aimed at publicly shaming studios into making smoke-free films.

Research has shown that one-third to one-half of all young smokers in the United States can be attributed to smoking these youth see in movies, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.

Fielding cited another study that he said found that adolescents whose favorite movie stars smoked on screen are significantly more likely to be smokers themselves and to have a more accepting attitude toward smoking.

In all, 56% of the top box office movies with smoking released between May 2007 and May 2009 were youth-rated films -- G, PG or PG-13, Fielding said.

Joan Graves, who chairs the MPAA movie rating committee, offered her own statistics, based on all of the 900 films rated each year, not just the top movies included in Fielding's numbers. The association has given no G ratings in the past two years to a movie with smoking, Graves said.

Overall, 55% of the movies rated in the past two years showed some smoking, but 75% of those with smoking scenes were given R ratings, Graves said. 21% were rated PG-13 and the remaining 5% were PG, she said.

American Medical Association Alliance President Sandi Frost used as her chief example of a movie with gratuitous smoking this month's blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was rated PG-13: Millions of children have been exposed to the main star of the film, Hugh Jackman, with a cigar in his mouth in various scenes. I'm willing to bet that not one child would have enjoyed that movie or Mr. Jackman's performance any less if he hadn't been smoking.


28th March

Update: Anti-Smoking in the Movies...

Learning to be a nutter Lesson 1: Claim to speak for 'the public'

D-MYST is a smokefree movement led by and for young people in Liverpool. D-MYST provides young people with an opportunity to air their views and concerns on tobacco and to take action to de-normalise and de-glamorise smoking.

They wrote in their blog:

DMYST have been writing to the BBFC for over two years. We wrote to them and told them about our Smokefree Movies campaign and requested a meeting with them a number of times to which we got quite an unpleasant response!

They eventually agreed to meet with us in February this year. They said that three members would be allowed to go to London to meet with them.

We met with Pete Johnson, the Chief Policy Manager of the BBFC. He told us about how exactly they classify films. He said they concentrate on issues such as violence and drugs to decide on the age range for films and smoking was not one of their main focuses. We told them that we thought they should focus more on smoking as young people take it up when they watch their favourite stars smoking this they didn't agree with and said that if the public wanted it out of youth rated films then they would consider it but don't think that the public do want it out.

We have evidence to support that the public do want smoking out of films and will continue to campaign to prove to the BBFC that the public do want it out of youth rated films!


7th February

Update: Ashtray Placement...

Finland draft law banning smoking in the media

If enacted, a new tobacco law in Finland will force television shows, films and theatre productions to be written without scenes of people smoking tobacco products.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health claims the proposed changes won't curb or censor freedom of expression.

Ilkka Oksala, a ministry official, says the law is designed in such a way that smoking advertising restrictions cannot be circumvented through indirect means, i.e. product placements in films and plays.

The tobacco act amendment, which seeks to curtail images of people smoking in newspapers, on television as well as on stage, is expected to come before Parliament for a decision this spring.


3rd February

Update: Protest at the BBFC...

A song and a dance about smoking in the movies


Don't smoke pups...
It addles the brain, you may turn
into a Liverpuddlian health nut

Anti-smoking campaigners from Liverpool took a musical message to the capital to win support to get smoking out of youth-rated movies.

Young people from D-MYST, the Liverpool-based youth activists organisation, travelled to London to stage a protest outside the offices of the BBFC.

And, to grab attention for their Scary Movies protest, they staged a dance performance outside the BBFC offices.

D-MYST have approach-ed the BBFC to arrange a meeting to discuss the issue of smoking in youth-rated movies so far without success.

They handed in a letter asking for a meeting in the near future.

SmokeFree Liverpool has also asked the BBFC to use its powers saying that 3,300 young people in Liverpool are currently smoking because of images they have seen on the silver screen.

Gideon Ben-Tovim, the chairman of Liverpool PCT, said: We are not saying that old films should be re-rated simply that new films which contain smoking should not be seen by under-18s. How simple a proposal is that?


24th January

Update: Healthy Decision...

Indian court stubs out smoking censorship

In a setback to Health Minister A Ramadoss' anti-tobacco campaign, the Delhi High Court today quashed the Centre's ban on smoking scenes in films saying it is a reality of life and any censorship on its depiction would violate creative artistes' fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who passed the order as an umpire judge after a division bench had given a split verdict on the issue, struck down the Centre's October 2006 rules banning smoking scenes in films and TV programmes A cinematographic film must reflect the realities of life. Smoking is a reality of life. It may be undesirable but it exists. It is not banned by any law, Justice Kaul said in his 50-page judgement passed on the petition of film director Mahesh Bhatt challenging the Centre's notification.

Any form of censorship is an inroad on the freedom of expression apart from the fact that censorship is highly subjective and can be essentially mindless, the court said adding: To per se depict such an act without glamourising it or promoting any particular product cannot be prohibited as it would bar a representation of how life is." The court said that restrictions imposed by the government would hamper artistes who indulge in creative acts such as film-making.


13th January

Update: Smoked Out...

India starts giving adult ratings for films with smoking scenes

Indian Regional Censor Board officials are tightening the screws on smoking scenes in Tamil cinema.

Ever since Dr Anbumani Ramadoss assumed office as the Union Minister for Health, he was urging actors not to feature in screen smoking. Moreover, a public ban on smoking was implemented.

Going a step further now, the Censor officials have been instructed to hand over adult certificates even if there are a couple of smoking scenes in a film.

According to director Rajesh who is directing Siva Manasula Sakthi : my film has been certified UA despite it being a breezy family entertainer. There are four instances when characters smoke in the film. The officials at the censor board said they have been instructed to do so.


11th January

Update: Censorship Drag...

Liverpool council to decide on awarding 18 certificates to cinema films featuring smoking


Don't smoke pups...
It addles the brain, you may turn
into a Liverpuddlian health nut

Liverpool health bosses are calling for an 18 certificate to be given to any film which glamorises smoking.

The city would become the first in Britain to bring in the ruling if council chiefs agree next week.

Health leaders want all movies where a character smokes without a good reason to be given an adults only classification in a bid to stop children taking up the habit.

Although cinema films are given their ratings by the BBFC, local authorities have had the power to override the decision.

The call by Liverpool Primary Care Trust is also being backed by the city council’s Public Protection Service. They say across the UK more than 150,000 children start smoking each year. In Liverpool the figure is 3,300, almost three times the expected level for the population size.

Andy Hull, of Liverpool PCT, who led the SmokeFree Liverpool campaign, said: When you’re in the worst position in the whole country for something you’ve got to be radical.

Health leaders say there should be only two exceptions to the 18 certificate – portrayal of a real historical figure who actually smoked, or where the film shows a clear and unambiguous portrayal of the dangers of smoking, other tobacco use, or secondhand smoke. But they say the new classifications would only be given to future films and not those already on release.

Council chiefs will consider the request at a meeting of the licensing and gambling committee next week. Any move to bring in the restrictions would need the agreement of the full council.


1st November

Update: Here's Looking At You Kids...

Liverpool protestors call for 18 certificates for depictions of smoking

A 70-strong group of dancers and members of the SmokeFree youth group, D-MYST, marched through Liverpool in Halloween costumes to raise awareness of smoking in youth-orientated movies.

The event is part of the SmokeFree Movies Scary Movies campaign which is designed to turn the spotlight on the issue the biggest single influence on young people to start smoking. SmokeFree Liverpool are asking UK film regulators BBFC to keep smoking out of all future films which can be seen by under-18s.

Gideon Ben-Tovim, chairman of Liverpool PCT said: This issue is a simple one, and simple action can be taken instantly by the BBFC, who already have the power to rate films which show smoking images as adult only.

The scientific fact is that more than half the young people who take up smoking say they did so because of seeing smoking in movies. That means thousands of under-18s are put at risk because of smoking images which simply don't need to be there.

The BBFC already know the facts, but have chosen to do nothing.


25th July

Update: Fag End Censorship...

Manchester council pushes for adults only certificates for movies with smoking

Council leaders in Manchester will discuss the proposals, which have been backed by health officials.

They are asking for special powers to put "restrictive" ratings on films that they believe encourage smoking.

This could mean films that have PG ratings elsewhere in Britain are rated 18 in Greater Manchester's cinemas. Children could even be banned from watching cartoons such as 101 Dalmations because it shows people smoking cigarettes.

Local councils have the power to overrule BBFC cinema certificates.

A report by the Greater Manchester Health Commission, to be discussed by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), says town halls should take into account smoking when giving a classification to film.

Very talented, rich,
world renowned and a smoker...

Thanks to DavidT

The region's 10 councils may also cut funding to theatres that put on plays involving smoking.

The GMHC's report also urges the Government to ban drivers from smoking, to reclassify all films featuring smoking to be rated 18 and to ban smoking in television programmes.

Neil Rafferty, of pro-smoking lobby group Forest, said: It is nannyism of the worst kind.

The BBFC insisted there was no need to classify all films as 18 just because they showed characters smoking. A spokesman said: If we see smoking in films which is actively promoting smoking to young people we would take action against them, give them a higher rating if necessary. But there is less and less smoking in films these days simply because people are unable to smoke in public locations.


7th July

Losing Credibility...

British Medical Association want smoking rated adults only

Film stars who smoke on screen should attract the attention of the censor in the same way as they would if they were engaged in extreme sex or violence, doctors say.

Films that show smoking in a way that condones, encourages or glamorises the activity should be considered for reclassification restricting them to an older audience, the British Medical Association said.

More than one in five adults smokes and most start before they are 18 when they are most vulnerable to images that "increase the allure of the habit", the BMA said in a report from its board of science.

The portrayal of smoking in films declined from 1950 to 1990, but has since increased. The poster for the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction, showing a sultry Uma Thurman smoking, was a gift to the tobacco industry and an example of the sort of image the BMA wants to outlaw. In the US, smoking has increased in films targeted at teenagers since 2002, the report says.

The BMA says films showing smoking in a positive light should also be preceded by an anti-smoking advert. A similar strategy to curb the promotion of cigarettes on television led to the voluntary withdrawal of tobacco advertising in the 1970s.


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