Warning: This movie contains smoking

By Alexandra Heilbron on May 19, 2010 | 24 Comments

The United Nations’ health authority, the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) has declared: “Any future film with tobacco imagery should be given an adult rating, with the possible exception of films that reflect the dangers and consequences of tobacco use or depict smoking by an actual historical figure who smoked.” On the U.S. DVD release of the movie Nine, just before the film begins, a ratings box comes onto the screen that has a new warning — that the movie contains smoking, in addition to the usual warnings about sex, violence and foul language. Most moviegoers know that tobacco companies pay big money to filmmakers to make sure actors in films smoke — and in Nine, they smoke constantly. The WHO advises barring all tobacco product placement in films — 168 nations have signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which has guidelines to protect their young people. “Smoking does not belong in youth-rated movies,” said Dr. Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative. “The more smoking adolescents see on screen, the more likely they are to start smoking. These simple policies can save generations of young people from a lifetime of addiction and an early death from tobacco.”

Comments & Discussion

  1. may • May 19, 2010 @ 11:27 AM

    This is good to hear. Smoking is a nasty habit. I recently saw what looked like a 12 year old smoking. It was disgusting.

  2. Jess • May 19, 2010 @ 11:47 AM

    Disney has characters that smoke. Aladdin had Jafar (who knows what he was smoking). Alice in Wonderland. All Dogs Go To Heaven. And there’s lots more. Now Disney has to be adult-rated?

    Just because parents can’t stop their kids from smoking doesn’t mean the rest of the world has to put up with assinine new rating systems.

    Absolutely ridiculous!

  3. Griff Xombie • May 19, 2010 @ 12:29 PM


  4. Jessica • May 19, 2010 @ 1:21 PM

    This is not going to stop anyone from smoking. I know for damn sure I didnt start the nasty habit because I saw an actor lighting up on screen. This kind of thing is everywhere outside of the media industry.

    And what doesn’t make sense if that the ratings systems seems more concerned with smoking then the fact that they allow an f-bomb to be dropped in PG rated movies. Why dont they focus on that first, before going insane over tobacco? So stupid.

  5. J • May 19, 2010 @ 1:54 PM

    “And what doesnt make sense if that the ratings systems seems more concerned with smoking then the fact that they allow an f-bomb to be dropped in PG rated movies. Why dont they focus on that first, before going insane over tobacco?”
    Seriously?? I think it’s great, get smoking out of films, it is disgusting and kills thousands of people. We should be more concerned about smoking in films, than swearing. If my kid starts smoking it will be harder to stop them from doing that than getting them to stop swearing.
    Also swearing is in the ratings system, and it is taken into account when a film is rated. As should smoking. No one is going crazy.

  6. Katherine • May 19, 2010 @ 2:03 PM

    I started smoking in my teens because one of my favourite actresses (also a teen at the time) did a part where she smoked all the time. She was supposed to be really cool in it, and so I started smoking. I’m glad they’re going to cut down on smoking in movies. Kids are so impressionable. Look at all the girls who are now getting tattoos just because Justin Bieber got one.

  7. Joshua • May 19, 2010 @ 2:19 PM

    Does the F bomb kill people? As an artist myself i am actually glad. To the guy freaking out about art censorship…WTF? They can still present the art they wish but have to make sure its appropriate for children.

    Smoking kills so many people its sad but to see a kid smoking in this day and age just pisses me off. Would you be okay if it were your child that was smoking? Or better yet why not just let them drink…. And i know that most kids that smoke don’t start because of the image in movies, but i still think the WHO are in the right place.

    I am a non smoker myself, i enjoy not having smoke in my face and everywhere i go there is some smoker messing it up. I understand the right to smoke, it’s your body. But what about my right to not have to breath in second hand smoke? Just something to think about.

  8. Joey • May 19, 2010 @ 2:26 PM

    Everyone who agrees with this crap is just supporting “big brothers” intrusion into peoples lives.

    Of all the things they pick on, it’s smoking. Yeah, lots of people do it. But isn’t teen pregnancy or drug addiction more serious?

    Next thing we know movies about casino heists (Ocean’s Eleven) will be banned.

  9. bubbles • May 19, 2010 @ 2:29 PM

    This is ridiculous, whats next?
    Warning: This movie contains drinking
    Warning: This movie contains speeding
    Warning: This movie contains scenes of driving without a seat belt
    Warning: This movie contains eating unhealthy food

    Why can’t we get some useful warnings like
    Warning: This movie contains bad acting
    Warning: This movie contains no plot-line
    Warning: This movie has won numerous film festival awards

    This is a total load of crap.

  10. Moe • May 19, 2010 @ 8:48 PM

    I think most of us were taught that we are responsible for our own actions. You can blame society for all your afflictions but it comes right back to you. This is all common sense and we as guardians should be educating our youth. Most of us have a brain and we moved on from the primate stage years ago. This isnt monkey see monkey do!!!

  11. mandee • May 19, 2010 @ 9:00 PM

    Katherine on May 19, 2010 2:03 PM i was happy to read your comment. i am not a smoker (and i am 25) but im telling you right now, i actually WANT to be a smoker when i watch movies with smoking in them. it looks good to me. whats stopping me is i cant even stand the smell of smokers, it literally makes me want to throw up.

    i think the new rating is bogus though and they should just remove smoking completely from movies.

    Joshua on May 19, 2010 2:19 PM i agree. when i worked in donut shops it disgusted me when people came through the drive through smoking and blowing it in my friggen face. it was my work place and i didnt even get a break then.

    bubbles on May 19, 2010 2:29 PM lmfao hahahaha.

  12. mandee • May 19, 2010 @ 9:02 PM

    also, Moe on May 19, 2010 8:48 PM thats a rude comment, youre basically saying that me and anyone that wants to or does start smoking because of movies have no brain? clearly people do what other people do (most of the time to fit in) so therefore it IS in fact, “monkey see monkey do”.

  13. Ryan • May 19, 2010 @ 10:25 PM

    if your kids are going to follow the leader in what they see in a movie, than its just plain bad parenting!

    Movies SHOULDN’T be censored!

    ! dont rate movie R or PG 18 cause of something that you think your children are going to do!

    simple solution dont take them to that movie.

    My 3 year old nephew has enough sense to know whats right from wrong.

  14. beast • May 19, 2010 @ 11:23 PM

    It’s about having your own mind, everyone knows smoking is bad but they do it anyway. We are told in school, commercials, magazine ads, etc. Giving a movie an R rating just because there is smoking in it is ludicrous! Just because it has an R rating doesn’t mean a child is not going to see it. It is up to the parents to tell the children that they have to think for them self, not to be a follower. If they start to smoke, that is there choice weather it is their decision or because they saw it. The truth is they are going to be exposed to it in life anyways. the best thing we can do is make them aware of the risks that come with the habit!

  15. Jessie • May 20, 2010 @ 8:34 AM

    bubbles, you said exactly what I was thinking. 🙂

  16. Jason • May 20, 2010 @ 9:55 AM

    Bubbles, spoken like a devout, completely addicted smoker. What I’d like is a warning when there are smokers standing outside the front of my building. I can’t get in or out without getting a really big whiff of the stuff. Thank god it’s banned in restaurants and btw, hospitals are reporting less smoking-related illnesses since the ban took place. The only people who don’t want smoking banned are people who don’t want to admit how addicted (read: weak-willed) they are.

  17. mandee • May 20, 2010 @ 11:39 AM

    if people didnt do anything they watched or saw (on tv or with their own parents based on who raises them) none of you would be able to speak, write, type, walk, love or do anything else that makes you who you are. i am taking a psychology course and i was just reading a study about these isolated kids who were clearly neglected by their parents and locked in a room alone and no one ever spoke to them or taught them anything and the one they found her when she was 5, she never learned to talk, she barely walked after they spent years trying to teach her, her body changed and she couldnt use most of it and she died by the time she was 10. obviously people do what they see others do or else no one would be able to do anything. perhaps the next time you try to blame “bad parenting” on a child who learns to smoke from watching tv you should consider what “bad parenting” really is. people that rate the movies have the right to rate them what they want because of whats in them. if it was found that most killers were only killers because of what they saw in movies and on television i have no doubt those of you that are standing up for smoking would be demanding a ban on any horror movies and would expect them to stop making them.

    ALSO – do any of you that are talking crap about this censor have any children? if so, do you allow them to watch movies with sex in them? movies with murder? movies with swearing? movies that teach them bad values? if you say no to any of those questions, you are just as bad as the censors that want to put up a warning about smoking. the warning is just a warning, they arent banning smoking or making the movies ALL rated r, they are probably going to make them PG (parental guidance) the way they make everything else that seems bad for children.

  18. bubbles • May 20, 2010 @ 12:53 PM

    @Jason, this has nothing to do with smoking, it’s about selective censorship. If a movie, or any other art form, portrays any kind of socially unacceptable or unhealthy behavior should it be censored?

    My point was that if the powers that be decide to warn viewers about one bad thing, they should warn about them all. I would expect to see warnings about child abuse, rape, driving while under the influence, unsafe handling of firearms etc. all things that children are susceptible to adopting, before seeing a warning for smoking.

  19. Jess • May 20, 2010 @ 8:43 PM

    Mandee, the point isn’t that people with children are letting their children watch films with various subject matter in them; it’s that it’s a parents right to censor what their children watches. Not the government.

    Every single movie has some form of sex, drugs, swearing, smoking and violence in it. Disney’s have lots of innuendo.

    Disney also sexualizes their stars. Look at Miley Cyrus. She played a character that most little girls in North America looked up to and idolized, yet over the years she has become increasingly sexualized to sell a product to those same little girls.

    It’s not the government that should be telling children what they can and cannot watch. If a parent allows their child to watch a violent movie like Saw or Hallowe’en, it’s their decision.

    As for the whole teaching of bad morals, if parents are relying on mainstream media to teach their children morals and ethics; these people should not be parents.

  20. Wollypog • May 20, 2010 @ 11:42 PM

    OK. This is just lame. I’m a former smoker and no movie ever compelled me to start. It was my own choice and a stupid one at that. We need to stop child proofing the word and start world proofing our children. Only then will we stop the wussification of society.

  21. Katherine • May 21, 2010 @ 9:24 AM

    Wollypog, are you saying that because you were a smoker and it wasn’t because of seeing someone you idolize in a movie smoking, that no one ever smokes because they see it in a movie? Because obviously that’s not true. And Moe, no one said we’re not responsible for our own actions. I know it was stupid to smoke, knew it at the time but thought if someone I looked up to was doing it, then it was cool. And Ryan, I had a very strict mother, but since I was a teen when I started, it was really easy to hide it from her. I knew she would be disappointed in me (and she was when she found out, and blamed herself) but at that point, who’s going to listen to their mother when they’re being told by society that something is cool? No teen ranks what their parents say as being cooler than what they see in movies/what their peers are doing. Most of my friends were smokers btw, it’s just that when I saw that movie, I wanted to be just like that kid and when I smoked, I felt like I was just like her. Luckily, I grew out of it but a lot of people don’t, they get addicted and can’t stop.

  22. mandee • May 21, 2010 @ 1:18 PM

    Jess on May 20, 2010 8:43 PM i agree with basically all of your comment. the point of the censors isnt so much to decide what kids can and can not watch, its to warn those parents that dont want their children seeing that type of behaviour that it is in that specific movie and perhaps they should view it first and decide if they want their child to watch it. it is up to the parents to decide what their children watch but what if it was like (im not picking on anyone im just picking off the top of my head) a christian family, shouldnt they have the right to know if theres going to be (for example) the devil in the movie they are about to rent for their own child?

    katherine, also teens wont listen to their parents because they think they know everything. of course they arent going to believe the dangers in smoking when it makes them look or seem cool.

  23. moondog • May 22, 2010 @ 6:02 PM


  24. jason Slupski • August 24, 2010 @ 12:24 AM

    Now i am completely ashamed of my Country. No more Independence. No more Pioneers. No more Craftsmen. No more Dreamers. Just a bunch of whining, frivolous lawsuit-throwing B.A. (B.M.) Business Graduates who consume and imagine every single one of them is the deserved Center of the Universe.

    We are “so going to be PWN’ed” someday soon.

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