Senior Editor
05.29.09 38 Comments

The American Medical Association Alliance is a lobbying group made up of physicians’ spouses that does helpful things like raising money for cancer research and treating the disabled.  Ha, just kidding, they’re trying to ban depictions of smoking in movies.

“Research has shown that one-third to one-half of all young smokers in the United States can be attributed to smoking these youth see in movies,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.  Fielding cited another study that he said “found that adolescents whose favorite movie stars smoked on screen are significantly more likely to be smokers themselves and to have a more accepting attitude toward smoking.”

My own research has shown that fans of Fast and Furious are 85% more like to have a favorable attitude towards cars.  Therefore, if we ban Fast and Furious, we can rid the world of almost all cars.

American Medical Association Alliance President Sandi Frost used as her chief example of a movie with “gratuitous smoking” this month’s blockbuster “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which was rated PG-13.  “Millions of children have been exposed to the main star of the film, Hugh Jackman, with a cigar in his mouth in various scenes,” Frost said. “I’m willing to bet that not one child would have enjoyed that movie or Mr. Jackman’s performance any less if he hadn’t been smoking.”

“I know this movie is about Indians, but do they really need to carry tomahawks?  Those can be dangerous. It wouldn’t hurt the movie at all if they were playing badminton instead.”  Oh well, at least no one’s dumb enough to pay attention to these idiots, right???

A spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox, the studio responsible for the Wolverine movie series, said Jackman’s cigar was never lit and it was limited to just two scenes. In one scene, the cigar is shot out of his mouth, prompting Jackman’s Wolverine character to suggest its loss would lead to clean living — an anti-smoking statement — the studio spokesman said.

(*pounding head against desk*)

The American Medical Association Alliance, hoping to draw studio executives’ attention, hired a mobile billboard to drive around the major studios this week. “The billboard shows a teenage girl asking the question, ‘Which movie studios will cause me to smoke this summer?’ ” Frost said. The alliance will keep an online scorecard throughout the summer to count “how many tobacco impressions each studio delivers to G, PG and PG-13 audiences,” she said. “At the end of the summer, whichever studio has delivered the most tobacco impressions to youth audiences will be named in a billboard that will run outside of their headquarters,” she said. [CNN]

Would it be considered a “tobacco impression” if I stubbed out a cigarette on your stupid hippie face?

Motion Picture Association of America spokeswoman Angela Martinez said the group “is very sensitive to the concerns of parents about the purpose of the rating systems. It’s reflective of society,” Martinez said. “It’s really a tool for parents to help determine what their kids see.”

They began factoring smoking scenes into the ratings two years ago as “a reflection of changes in society and health concerns,” she said. “Smoking is rated like all the other factors, including violence and sex,” she said.

Fielding [the guy from the first paragraph] said it should be absolute — and not just a factor. “Any movie with smoking should be rated R,” he said. “And if they worry about an R rating hurting their profits, then they should work with studios to remove smoking from films that hurt youth.”

I wouldn’t have to report this stuff if no one paid attention to these morons, but clearly they do.  And that’s why someday we’re going to have to watch movies about Mongols who eat granola and drink eight glasses of water a day. Because free will is great, but not if it leads to being unhealthy!

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