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Movie Smoke-Out Debate: Hysteria vs. Health

Friday, 11 May 2007 | 2:21 PM ET

The Motion Picture Association of America announced Thursday that movies that “glamorize” smoking could soon be slapped with an “R” rating. Is the MPAA caving in to special-interest pressure -- and will the push for a Hollywood smoke-out curb smoking? Marc Dann, Ohio state attorney general, and Gary Nolan, spokesman for The Smokers Club, debated the issue on “Morning Call.”

Smoking, Movies & Ratings
Debating whether movies with smoking should be hit with an R rating, with Gary Nolan, Smoker's Club spokesman; Marc Dann, Ohio attorney general; and CNBC's Mark Haines

According to Dann, the proposed action does not go far enough. “What the motion picture industry agreed to do yesterday does not go very far. It says they might consider it,” said Dann. He believes that smoking in movies entices young children. “When people were no longer able to smoke on television, they took it to the movies very successfully and they continue to glamorize it,” said Dann, adding, “the public health of the people of the United States requires that we do something.”

Nolan believes that the proposal was extreme and not based on accurate data. He argued that smoking in films has actually declined in the past few years. He warned, “If they cave to this kind of pressure, then they necessarily have to cave when films show someone who is obese or too thin. …Let’s let common sense prevail.”