Should Movies Be Rated "R" for Smoking? | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Should Movies Be Rated "R" for Smoking?

Automatic R-ratings would protect teens, who are heavily influenced by on-screen smoking, researchers say.


Does this look cool to you? Why, yes. Yes it
does. Photo via

By Bryan Le


| Share

Kids are influenced by what they see in the movies—so if sex and drugs trigger an R-rating, why not smoking? A recent study published in Pediatrics suggests that movies that contain actors smoking tobacco should earn an R rating to protect young, impressionable viewers. The study reveals that two-thirds of smoking scenes viewed by teens are from PG-13 movies—and every 500 smoking scenes a teen sees—even in the background—increases their likelihood of cigarette experimentation by 49%. “The movie industry [should] treat smoking like it treats profanity and sex and violence," says lead author Dr. James D. Sargent. "If saying the 'F' word twice gets you an R rating, certainly something as important as smoking should get you an R rating." The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) released a statement claiming that its rating system already takes smoking in to account, seeking to balance the “serious health problem” with “freedom of expression and speech and storytelling.” Currently, movies with smoking scenes are rated depending on factors such as frequency, glamorization and historical relevance—and 54% of movies made since 2007 have at least one smoking scene. But critics say the MPAA's standards aren't tough enough, especially considering that teens are highly susceptible to what they see on screen. "Adolescents are trying to figure out what they're all about and what their identity is," says Sargent. "They figure this out by watching their parents and their friends, and movie stars are like very high-profile peers. When they see people [smoking], they think this might make them look cool. As they become more convinced there's something in it for them, they become more likely to try it."

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Normies React to the 12 Steps

"I think admitting to having a problem in general is the right first step, but to admit powerlessness is unhealthy. .. I think admitting powerlessness is more harmful because it doesn't help. Admitting that you want and need help is more useful after admittance."

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv