There are two immutable facts when it comes to smoking, the first is that it causes lung cancer and the second… it’s shit cool.
Thorax, a medical journey, published a report last month advising that films containing smoking should be given an automatic 18 certificate as it found that teens who see these films are more likely to take up smoking. Now I must claim some bias as I’ve been an on/off smoker since about the age of 18 and am currently in the on position and this notion of the automatic 18 cert is ludicrous. Teens and children want to rebel by smoking and by giving films this type of classification you will only make smoking more taboo and enticing to children. Also it is unfair to teens who have no intention of smoking and who never will as you are depriving them of a whole raft of fantastic films just because someone lights up.
Just think of all the great films that if they came out today would be automatically branded with an 18 cert, Casablanca, The Breakfast Club and basically all Westerns. If this comes into force, which I seriously doubt, the studios will cut all portrayal of smoking from films as they will not risk any loss of revenue from an automatic 18 cert. So we will be left with unrealistic portrayals of life in the movies.
My first cigarette was when I was eight or nine years old, me and my next door neighbour found a pack my brothers had left in the house and went outside to try them, it wasn’t after watching a film and this is where I feel most people who end up smoking get their influences from – family not films. This is a step too far in an already nanny state, it’s up to parents to inform their children about the perils of smoking not film censors.