Increase in smoking in movies prompts response from Ohio, Ky. AGs

NEWPORT, Ky. - Have you noticed anything different at the movies?  For the last two years, there has been an increase in on-screen smoking.

That trend has local health officials worried, and attorneys general from the Tri-State are getting involved.

Health officials say eight of the 10 current top grossing films are showing something they see as dangerous to the public: Smoking . (For a list of those films, go to www.smokefreemovies.ucsf.edu/problem/now_showing.html )

The Centers for Disease Control, along with the American Heart and the American Lung associations are taking aim at Hollywood's recent depiction of smoking.

Despite Hollywood's historic love affair with cigarettes, public pressure had brought a decrease of on-screen lighting up from 2005 through 2010.

Not anymore.

The concern is so great, the Attorneys General of Ohio and Kentucky are asking movie producers to ban all scenes of smoking in any film not rated R or NC-17.

A letter written to Rupert Murdoch, who oversees 20th Century Fox, was signed by more than 30 attorneys general. (You can read that letter at http://goo.gl/hAel9 )

It also asks that any DVD that shows smoking should start with an anti-tobacco ad before the movie can be played.

Rita Pferrman, of Newport, thinks movies need to be more responsible.

"That's the way I would like [the movies] to be, [with an anti-tobacco ad]," Pferrman said. "It gives kids the idea that smoking's OK, when really, I think it's bad for your health."

Bill Franklin, of Westwood, says the government has no business telling Hollywood what to do.

"I don't agree with that form of censorship. Movies are full of things that people should not do," Franklin said. "That's part of what makes an action movie excitable."

To see whether movie producers take heed or not, we'll just have to watch the coming attractions.
 

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