Health officials call for higher ratings on films featuring smoking

Health Chiefs are calling for films that are portraying smoking to receive an adult rating, to protect children from being exposed to smoking.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has claimed that tobacco companies are increasingly turning to Hollywood, as restrictions are increasing across countries, to advertise tobacco products.

The WHO has revealed that in 2014 36% of films rated for young children contain one or more character smoking.

The WHO claimed that films that show the use of tobacco products could have enticed millions of young people to take up smoking.

Programme manager of WHO’s tobacco-free initiative DR Amanda Peruga, claimed: “We saw for a while a decrease in the tobacco incidences in films and other entertainment productions.

“But based on what we monitored, we saw, in 2013-14, a turning point, a picking up of the number of tobacco scenes.”

In the Smoke free movies report, it called for an end to displaying all tobacco products in films, as well as strong anti-smoking advertisements to be shown before films with tobacco imagery.

The report revealed that in 2014’s a 12A rated film, Transformers: Age of Extinction featured a robot smoking a cigar.

The report calculated that a total of 2.6bn impressions of tobacco use were featured in Hollywood blockbusters, a number they claim has increased.

Dr Douglas Bettcher, director for the department of prevention of non-communicable diseases at WHO said: ‘With ever tighter restrictions on tobacco advertising, film remains one of the last channels exposing millions of adolescents to smoking imagery without restrictions.’

During the film scenes many actors, including actors who smoke, opt to use non-addictive or harmful substitutes, herbal cigarettes.  However, US studies have revealed that four out of ten young people have started smoking as a result of films.

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