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Lung Cancer Alliance Says Stop Splitting Hairs: Give Movies With Smoking Scenes An R Rating

June 27, 2017

Today, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) President Laurie Fenton Ambrose called this week's decision by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to "consider" smoking as a factor when rating movies, "not good enough."

"It sounds reasonable -- a middle of the road compromise -- and that is exactly the problem. There is no middle of the road on this issue: either the MPAA really wants to help discourage our children from smoking that first cigarette or it doesn't."

Last week the MPAA said it would add smoking to the list of criteria, currently including sex, violence and drugs, used when rating movies as G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17.

Most recent studies indicate that after years of decline, teen smoking is again on the upsurge.

More than 80 percent of smokers started smoking in their teens, Ambrose pointed out. "There is enough pressure on our young people as it is without glorifying smoking in movies and on television as a cool or tough guy symbol, weight control drug or pacifier."

"We are not talking about adult-rated movies, but movies for those under the age of 17. Movies with smoking should get an automatic R rating," she said.

"I wish MPPA would talk to some of our stakeholders. It is ironic that so much debate is given to how to handle smoking in films and so little thought to how to actually help smokers and former smokers in real life," Ambrose concluded.

The Lung Cancer Alliance (LungCancerAlliance) is the only national non-profit organization solely dedicated to patient support and advocacy for people living with, or at risk for, lung cancer. As the number one cancer killer, lung cancer will kill more than 160,000 Americans this year alone, causing more deaths than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney cancers and melanoma combined.

Lung Cancer Alliance