It is a known fact that adolescents get attracted to smoking or even e- cigarettes responding to the social influence, or emulating the lifestyle or behavioural pattern of family, friends or society. All this is something that we know yet we decide to ignore it on a daily basis, although there’s something which is sidelined completely and that’s the media influence. Youngsters enjoy watching TV or surf through the internet throughout the day. Home videos or movie channels makes it easily accessible for them to watch all kinds of stuff.
As teenagers watch films quite too often, they do watch movies or their favourite celebrity smoking in context of toughness (broken arrow), sexuality (Basic instinct), romance (the chase), and teenage rebellion (Romeo and Juliet), or to release stress (Girl interrupted).
The industry of films have been warned and criticized for such tobacco depictions on screen, but the representatives of the industry do not believe so. As no detailed studies states that tobacco or e-cigarette use, in movies gives rise to adolescents smoking.
MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), assigns ‘smoking label’ for certain pictures that do depicts tobacco use, along with other regular rating.
An essential downward trend had occurred in the films with tobacco use between the years 2005 to the year 2010, but later went on to increase till the year 2018.
Current movies have now started depicting the cooler version of tobacco and that is e-cigarettes. As this product comes in attractive sizes and shapes, it is becoming an increasing trend in today’s culture. Most of them have heating element, battery, and a spot for holding the liquid. They are known to have various other names ranging from e-cigs, mods, tank systems, vape pens, e-hookahs, vapes etc. Few e-cigarettes are made in a manner which completely resembles the pipes, cigarettes or cigar. Some flawlessly resembles USB, pens or sticks. Mods or tank systems do not resemble the real tobacco products.
Different movie companies have different number of portrayal for tobacco incidents. Like the incidents of tobacco use in youth related movies highly increased in 2010 till 2018, those companies are;
- Time Warner
And the ones that decreased the exposure of tobacco are;
However, the data shows that the movies have not successfully challenged this policy and have been increasingly showing the use of tobacco in its movies, sadly increasing it up to the extent of 263%. This tobacco initiation done in movies has adverse effects on the adolescents and among the much younger generation looking up to them.
However, one cannot deny that there lies various opportunities for studious and movie industry to reduce the tobacco incidents by rating it R. Other kinds of interventions can be done by certifying that no payments are received by distributors and producers and hence end the portrayal of the same.
Local health and state departments could come together with state agencies and manage the movie subsidies and reduce the depiction of tobacco too.