Smoke Free Movies has launched a series of print advertisements in the Daily Variety and other publications. This advertisement first ran in the Daily Variety on October 31, 2005.
One in a Series
A PG-rated film with smoking in almost every frame? No problem.
GRAPHIC: Historical Time magazine cover of Edward R. Murrow
CAPTION: Edward R. Murrow, a smoker, died of lung cancer in 1965 at age 57. Murrow’s older brother, a smoker and decorated Air Force brigadier general, also contracted lung cancer and died in 1966.
GRAPHIC: Still of actor David Strathairn, as Murrow, in “Good Night, and Good Luck”
CAPTION: There ought to be an R-rating exception for portrayals of real smokers. And there is.
Edward R. Murrow smoked.
So did many (but hardly all) of the rest of the crew who helped make broadcast journalism respectable, indeed essential, half a century ago.
Therefore, it’s only natural, and biographically accurate, for “Good Night, and Good Luck” (PG: Warner Independent) to show Murrow and some others smoking in scene after hazy scene.
That’s not just our opinion.
It’s part of the proposal to R-rate smoking in future films, endorsed by leading health organizations, that an exception should be made when films accurately represent the smoking behavior of an actual historical figure.
Respect for truth clearly inspired this film production. The movie is an acute reminder that abuses of power must always be challenged.
As journalists have discovered, the tobacco industry routinely abused its advertis-ing power to spike stories about the health effects of smoking, long after the U.S. Surgeon General’s 1964 report linked tobacco with lung cancer.
The tobacco industry has also attempted to distort and corrupt the scientific process and has used lawsuits to discourage academic research into its practices.
The record shows that the tobacco industry misled Congress about its activities in Hollywood—and apparently failed to file accurate reports about tobacco product placement with the Federal Trade Commission.
Given this lack of candor, we may never know why movie productions now promote smoking for free, when tobacco companies used to pay them to do it.
But we can still defend young people from tobacco imagery in kid-rated films, a primary recruiter of new young smokers.
Reasonable, effective, voluntary solutions are available. Every month of delay costs 10,000 more lives.
Who will finally find the courage to do the decent thing?
Read the R rating proposal at SmokeFreeMovies.ucsf.edu.
Smoke Free Movies
The R-rating is endorsed by the World Health Organization, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Legacy Foundation, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Society for Adolescent Medicine, L.A. County Dept. of Health Services, Oklahoma Parent-Teachers Association, and others. A project of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. To explore this and other proposals, visit our web site or write: Smoke Free Movies, UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390.
GRAPHIC: Stills of smoking in “Starsky & Htuch” and “Men in Black II”
CAPTION: What’s so funny? Smoking in kid-rated movies like Starsky & Hutch and Men in Black II has climbed since product placement was barred in 1998. Of the 390,000 new young smokers Hollywood will recruit this year, tobacco will ultimately kill 120,000.
GRAPHIC: Still of ABC News anchor Peter Jennings reporting a story on lung cancer.
CAPTION: Peter Jennings reported some of the strongest tobacco exposes in network news history. He died of lung cancer this year.