Between 2005 and 2009, tobacco use in top-grossing movies declined by almost half—and that same time period also showed a notable decline in the number of high school students trying cigarettes. Coincidence? Probably not—which is why the CDC is calling for all films with tobacco use to be rated R. The MPAA’s response to this request was to point out that, since May 2007, a full three-quarters of movies depicting smoking were rated R.
“Still, that means about one-quarter of such films could be seen by teens or even younger,” writes Clayton Jones in the Christian Science Monitor. “With the evidence so clear that Hollywood is guilty of encouraging an addiction with such harm, why does it still not impose an R rating for all movies with tobacco use?”