Kim Masters at Slate reports that MPAA boss Dan Glickman might have accidentally kicked off a movie-wide ban on the portrayal of smoking.
Last October, Glickman sent a letter to 40 attorneys general addressing the MPAA's concerns about smoking in movies. He said that the MPAA was turning to the Harvard School of Public Health for guidance. "My objective is to gain consensus among the member companies of MPAA on Harvard's pending recommendations, and then begin implementation," he said.
Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at U.C. San Francisco and creator of the Smoke Free Movies campaign, says Glickman probably expected Harvard to come up with a limp education campaign and leave it at that. But Harvard got tough. In recommendations presented to the industry last month and made public this week, Harvard said the studios should eliminate smoking altogether from films "accessible to children and youth."
Meaning anything below R, but no one thinks R-rated films will be safe forever. But the blanket ban sounds dull. It'd be far more entertaining if the MPAA required that everyone who smokes in the movies must be a villain, or must die for their sins like the promiscuous teens in slasher pix.