Senate committee witnesses debate giving "R" rating to movies with lots of smoking - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/11/04 - Capitol Hill

Senate committee witnesses debate giving "R" rating to movies with lots of smoking

Chief movie lobbyist Jack Valenti says giving an "R" rating to movies with lots of smoking is a bad idea.

Some members of the Senate Commerce committee, though, think that's just what the doctor ordered.

A Dartmouth College study has found teens who watch smoke-filled movies are much more likely to start smoking.

But Valenti told lawmakers today that directors have a right to portray smoking if it adds to the sense of time, place or character.

Anti-smoking activists, including medical professor Stan Glantz, say if potential audiences can be advised of swearing, violence and nudity, they can also be warned the film is filled with smoking.

Valenti, though, says that could lead to endless warnings about drinking, overeating, or mistreatment of the environment.

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