Disney announced Wednesday that it plans to ban all depictions of smoking in its family-oriented movies, according to Reuters. I think this move is a powerful one by a company whose name is synonymous with children.
Since I live in a state that depends on a tobacco company, I might be a minority. However, I’m glad that someone in Hollywood is finally stepping up to the plate to help discourage kids from trying smoking. And I think they are most definitely targeting the right films, those aimed at children viewers.
As an adult I have no problem with films that show people smoking. At this point I understand the dangers associated with smoking and have no interest in them. At the same time, I understand that there is still a large portion of the population that smokes. In fact I have several friends that do. I respect their decision just as they respect mine to not smoke.
However, as a teenager and even a pre-teen, I was fascinated with smoking because characters in movies I found fascinating looked cool and sexy smoking. Add those images to peer pressure and you have a recipe that encourages teens to try this vice.
I’m not saying teens smoke because they see it in the movies, but it’s hard to promote smoking as a bad habit to acquire when it looks so cool in the movies. And like it or not, teens (and even some adults) are influenced by what they seen on the big screen.
Disney isn’t banning smoking in all their movies, just those released under the Disney label. And that’s okay with me. I think when you get to movies aimed at adults, that the adults should be mature enough to separate reality from fiction.
Let’s hope makers of other movies aimed at children follow suit.