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US film ratings body to include smoking warnings

Channelnewsasia | May 11, 2007 

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced Thursday it is to consider smoking -- alongside sex, violence and adult language -- when it is deciding what ratings to give films.

The movie industry body said in a statement films which glamorized or showed pervasive smoking outside of a mitigating context could receive a higher rating.

MPAA chairman Dan Glickman however ruled out giving all films containing scenes with smoking an 'R' or restricted rating, which forbids people under 17 from viewing the film unless accompanied by an adult.

Glickman said the MPAA's move came in response to the increasing societal stigma attached to smoking, and the desire to provide an additional educational tool for parents.

"The rating board chaired by Joan Graves will now consider smoking as a factor -- among many other factors, including violence, sexual situations and language -- in the rating of films," Glickman said.

"Clearly, smoking is increasingly an unacceptable behavior in our society.

Glickman said the MPAA already factored under-age smoking when rating films. "Now, all smoking will be a consideration in the rating process," he said.

"Three questions will have particular weight for our rating board when considering smoking in a film: Is the smoking pervasive? Does the film glamorize smoking? And, is there an historic or other mitigating context?"

If a film received a tougher rating because of its depiction of smoking, it would also be accompanied by phrases such as "glamorized smoking" or "pervasive smoking."

"This ensures specific information is front and center for parents as they make decisions for their kids," Glickman said.

Glickman said although there had been calls for a blanket 'R' rating for films with smoking in them, such a move would be largely redundant.

According to a study of films between 2004 and 2006 conducted by the rating board, the number of films showing even a glimpse of smoking fell from 60 percent to 52 percent.

Of those films, 75 percent -- or three out of four -- already carried an 'R' rating for other reasons. - AFP/fa

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