Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Glantz's latest junk falls on deaf ears

Give 18 certificate to any film with a smoking scene, demand campaigners

FILMS that feature smoking should be given an automatic 18 rating to protect teenagers against taking up the habit, according to a new study.

The first line tells you everything you need to know about this garbage. Real scientific studies do not include policy demands. As The Scotsman recognises in its headline, these people are campaigners, with one particular name standing out...

The study, compiled by Dr Christopher Millett of Imperial College London and Professor Stanton Glantz of California University, advocated an overhaul of the ratings system.

By my reckoning, this is Stanton Glantz's 20th 'study' on the effect of smoking in the movies. 

The researchers assessed the number of onscreen smoking or tobacco occurrences in 572 top grossing films in the UK between 2001 and 2006, including 546 screened in the United States, plus 26 high-earning films released only in the UK.

Have these people really got nothing better to do? Couldn't we send them out into the community, washing cars or something?

As it happens, I received the new study and the worldwide press release (embargoed until 16th March) last week. I was expecting to see blanket news coverage. In fact only The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post covered it at all. Perhaps the media are becoming weary of Glantz's incessant junk science. The comments at The Scotsman certainly suggest that the fanatics have got a lot of work to do if they are going to persuade the public.

As for the BBFC, their position is clear:

Sue Clark, spokeswoman for the BBFC, said imposing an 18 rating on films which feature scenes of smoking is "not going to happen".

She said: "Sometimes smoking is included in a film for reasons of historical accuracy. The only time we would consider stepping in is if we felt a film was actively promoting smoking. But I have never seen a film that did that."

Not looking good, is it Stan?

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