Visit the Movie Smoking Scorecard on Facebook and you’ll see comments like this:
“Star Trek gets our THUMBS UP! for a smoke-free movie :)”
It’s part of a new push from the American Medical Association and other groups to get movie studios to avoid tobacco imagery.
Advocates say all movies that include “gratuitous smoking” should get an automatic “R” rating, citing studies that say smoking in films encourages real-life teen smoking.
The effort includes:
- Mobile billboards around Los Angeles. They show a young girl asking, "Which movie studios will cause me to smoke this summer?" and promoting the campaign's Facebook page.
- A scorecard that regularly tallies the number of tobacco impressions in this summer's youth-rated blockbusters.
- A letter-writing and petition drive across the country during the blockbuster season.
- A strategically placed billboard located near — and naming — the studio with the worst summer record at the end of September.
Many are thrilled, such as Ricky Taltalbu who said on the Facebook page it’s a “great campaign” and noted the need for studios to produce more “responsible” films.
But not everyone shares his enthusiasm.
Facebook user Adam Vaccaro denounced the campaign, saying “this is an awful, awful campaign that is detrimental to art. [T]obacco has long been an important literary technique, usually representative of self destruction, thereby essentially agreeing with what you are trying to promote.”
Film producer Jamie Patricof, whose credits include “Half Nelson” and “Sugar,” tells FOX News that in his films, “A lot of time smoking is a component of someone who has serious problems – it’s another one of their vices.”
Patricof adds, “The MPAA and the ratings system always have a challenge of what’s gratuitous or not and I think that it’s hard when you get to a point where you just have to ban everything. We have to fight to not let that happen. There are bad things in society that are portrayed in film that we can’t just hide from people. We just have to make sure that they are not glamorized.”