Ah, good old LotusLand. My British Columbia, "amongst a grove the very straightest plant" in the entire land. Perhaps it is the majestic forests and unparalleled beauty that overwhelms us and can leave some ever so slightly unhinged. By "some" I mean groups like Smoke Free Movies B.C. which, I understand from the Georgia Strait, actually exists.
SFMBC apparently exists, if it truly exists at all, for but one purpose. It wants our government to slap a "restricted" rating on all films that depict tobacco use. They don't want kids exposed to scenes of smoking of any sort.
Smoke Free Movies BC is gathering support for a petition that recommends new movies featuring smoking be given an R rating.
“ We really believe that the way to stop people smoking is to have one generation not start, and that will strangle tobacco,” organizer Pamela McColl told the Straight in a phone interview.
The petition is based on recommendations made by the World Health Organization and by a Physicians for Smoke-Free Canada study released in August 2010.
According to the study, about 300,000 high-school aged children in Canada are smokers. They estimate about 130,000 of these youth began smoking as a result of exposure to on-screen tobacco use.
The group is also pushing to require movie producers to indicate on screen that no one involved in the film received anything of value in exchange for displaying tobacco, to require strong anti-smoking ads at the beginning of any movie with tobacco use ,and to bar public subsidies to youth-rated films featuring tobacco use.
Okay, okay, I suppose they have a point but just how much social engineering do we really need? I'm a reformed smoker and just as self-righteous about it as most former smokers. I'm anti-smoking but, really, how far do we take this? In BC we already require merchants to hide all tobacco products behind screens lest the kids spot them and succumb to nicotine depravity.
If we want to get serious about it, why not just outlaw tobacco entirely. Pick a date, say two years down the road, and tell the puffers they've got two years to quit or we'll make their smoking life a living hell. Cracking down on movies just sounds so damned goofy.