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Smoking in Avatar Avatar came out in 2009, and was supposed to be set in the future. Grace, a scientist, played by Sigourney Weaver, is a smoker. Many smoking in the movies advocacy groups targeted James Cameron and said that he made a mistake by including smoking in Avatar.
Stanton A. Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, argues that the smoking scenes in “Avatar” amount to millions of dollars in free advertising for cigarette manufacturers.
Scenesmoking.org gave Avatar a “black lung” rating, the worst rating given.
“ I wanted Grace to be a character who is initially off-putting and even unpleasant. She’s rude, she swears, she drinks, she smokes. She is not meant to be an aspirational role model to teenagers —” -James Cameron, Director of Avatar, in response to criticism about smoking in his movie “ I do agree that young role-model characters should not smoke in movies, especially in a way which suggests that it makes them cooler or more accepted by their peers. In the same way that I would never show lying, cheating, stealing or killing as cool, or aspirational, I would never portray smoking that way.” -James Cameron
James Cameron, like many directors, used the excuse that he is an “artist” and “Movies should reflect reality. If it’s O.K. for people to lie, cheat, steal and kill in PG-13 movies, why impose an inconsistent morality when it comes to smoking?”
Rebuttal: Smoking does happen in reality, but so does lung cancer and emphysema, which are not shown in his movie.
“‘ Smoking, Mr. Cameron concluded, ‘is a filthy habit which I don’t support, and neither, I believe, does Avatar.’ ”
Disney statement “ Disney has determined not to depict smoking in movies produced by the Company that carries the Disney brand, except in limited circumstances. “ Disney must also consider the creative vision of directors…. we seek to respect their views when they honestly believe the depiction of smoking is important to a movie.”
do not enter into any product placement or promotion deals with tobacco companies for any films.
endeavor to reduce or eliminate depictions of smoking and tobacco products/brands from all English-language motion pictures it produces and/or distributes in the United States rated G, PG, and PG-13.
unless (a) the depiction involves a character who is an actual historical figure known to have used tobacco products; (b) the depiction is warranted for reasons of compelling historical accuracy; or (c) the depiction is part of a conspicuous anti-smoking reference.
Reality Check in New York held an action in 2009, targeting Sony for their lack of policy
Here was a jingle they sang outside of the Sony building to the Frosted Flakes song:
“ Hey, Sony, we hate the things you do. Hey, Sony, if we could we would sue you. You’re one of many companies that try to target teens, so get those dang cigarettes off our movie screens. They’re more than bad. They kill!”
Put pressure on the CEOS of the companies that own the major movie studios (Disney, Time Warner and Sony). Take the time to write a personalized letter about smoking in their youth-rated movies.
Action 1: Write Letters! Robert Iger, CEO THE DISNEY COMPANY 500 S. Buena Vista St. Burbank, CA 91521-9722 Fax: 818-560-1930 Sir Howard Stringer, CEO SONY CORPORATION 550 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10022 Fax: 212-833-6956 Jeffrey Bewkes, CEO TIME WARNER 1 Time Warner Center New York, NY 10019 Fax: 212-489-6183
Action 1: Write Letters! Dear Mr. Iger, I am deeply concerned about what your company’s movies are teaching American youth about smoking. The research says that 75% of PG-13 movies show smoking. That’s outrageous . The movies YOU help fund are recruiting new kids to start smoking. For kids with parents who are smokers, watching movies with smoking triples the odds that teens will try smoking. And exposure to smoking in the movies quadruples the chance that the child of nonsmoking parents will take up smoking. Tell your studios to stop making movies with smoking. This is your chance to help save thousands of lives. Sincerely…
Educate them on smoking in the movies and explain how they can help reduce exposure by showing anti-tobacco PSAs before movies with smoking in them and restricting admissions to youth-rated movies with smoking to those eligible for rated R movies.
When you write one letter to the local theater, copy it to the chain headquarters and NATO.
Action 1: Write Letters! Local Theater National Chain National Association of Theater Owners (NATO)
Introducing a city council, county board, or state legislature resolution is a great way to educate people about smoking in movies and to put pressure on the motion picture studios.
Step 1: Find a member of your city council, county board, or state legislature most likely to support the resolution.
If you can’t find someone in support of a resolution, create support! Gather signatures on a petition write letters to the editor of your local paper to get the issue some media attention.
Step 2: Step up a time to meet with them.
Step 3: Before your meeting, email a short letter explaining the issue and why it is important.
Step 4: Make sure to bring a couple other people with you. Give the person you are meeting with a packet of resources, including a copy of the resolution, facts about smoking in movies, and letters of support from local decision-makers and national organizations.
Step 5: When your resolution passes, don’t forget to let the media know!
Vince Vaughn Wild West Picture Show Productions 100 Universal City Plaza Bungalow 4144 Universal City, CA 91608 Fax: 818-733-5980 JK Simmons c/o The Gersh Agency 9465 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90212 Action 4: Contact the Actors