IMA supports WHO’s call for rating films showing smoking scenes
New Delhi, February 2, 2016: Films have been a great influence on behavior and lifestyle, especially for the youth. The connection between smoking in films and its influence on adolescent behavior is well established.
Smoking in films has lured millions of young people to smoking and once they start smoking at such an early age, they become addicted to it. And, India being the largest producer of films in the world, on-screen depiction of smoking encourages adolescents to take up smoking. In a study published in the journal PLoS One in 2014, Amy Poremba, associate professor in the Dept. of Psychology University of Iowa and corresponding author showed that tactile and visual memory is much better than auditory memory. What we see has greater impact on the memory than what we hear.
The CDC estimated in 2014 that exposure to on-screen smoking would recruit more than 6 million new, young smokers among children in the United States alone, of which 2 million would die from tobacco-induced diseases in due course of time. In 2014, smoking was found in 44% of all Hollywood films, and 36% of films rated for young people. Sixty percent of highest earning films featured tobacco imagery between 2002 and 2014.
In its report, "Smoke-free movies: from evidence to action", WHO recommends some policy measures Requiring age classification ratings for films with tobacco imagery to reduce overall exposure of youth to tobacco imagery in films Certifying in movie credits that film producers receive nothing of value from anyone in exchange for using or displaying tobacco products in a film Ending display of tobacco brands in films; and Requiring strong anti-smoking advertisements to be shown before films containing tobacco imagery in all distribution channels (cinemas, televisions, online, etc). Media productions that promote smoking should be made ineligible for public subsidies.
Speaking about the issue, Dr. SS Agarwal, National President IMA & Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K.K.Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India and Honorary Secretary General IMA said, “The dangers of smoking are well established. And that it is linked to cancer, heart attacks and chronic lung disease is beyond doubt. IMA acknowledges and recognizes the need for reducing the use of tobacco in films and agrees with this call by the WHO. In line with the WHO, IMA has written to the MOHFW and Central Board of Film certification or the Censor Board, as it is commonly known as, reiterating its stand on the issue. The Censor Board should rate films that contain smoking scenes as ‘adults’. The current practice is only to add a warning when the smoking scene comes”.
Films in India are classified under 4 categories:
U: Unrestricted public exhibition throughout India suitable for all groups
U/A: Unrestricted Public Exhibition - but Parental discretion required for children below 12 years)
A: Restricted to adults.
S: Restricted to any special class of persons; only people associated with science (Doctors, Scientists etc.) have permission to watch those films.
Children are the future of any society. Taking active measures such as rating films with smoking scenes, displaying warnings can prevent exposure of children to smoking/tobacco products, so that they do not grow up with the habit of smoking.