Disney-branded films to ban depictions of smoking

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Disney-branded films to ban depictions of smoking

July 25, 2007
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday became the first major Hollywood studio to ban depictions of smoking, saying tobacco use would be off-limits in its family-oriented, Disney-branded films and "discouraged" in films distributed by its Touchstone and Miramax labels.
Commentary
The significance of this move by Disney studios is that they are feeling the heat from the public and public policy makers. There is, however, much less than meets the eye in terms of on-screen depiction. "Disney branded" films represent a minority of the films Disney produces and distributes and most of those have been G and PG films that generally do not include smoking. Hence the effect of this policy will be minimal in terms of actual presentation of smoking in movies that the Disney corporation distributes.
It is also not clear what "discourages" means or how that "discouragement" will be implemented. Who will be responsible for doing the "discouraging" and what are the consequences if the producer/director of a given film ignores Disney? It would be much clearer and more enforceable and accountable if they would not produce or distribute youth-rated films with any smoking as a matter of policy.
Paul Van Loon
Health Educator
Lung Association of Saskatchewan
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