Welcome to the world of SmokeFree Movies, [Stanton] Glantz's quixotic campaign to banish tobacco from our screens (for the children, natch). Despite years of being ridiculed and ignored on this issue, Stan is continuing his crusade and has written yet another paper on the subject (he has written a lot).Laughable indeed. But this evening I happened so see an alarming notice in the end credits of the Sherlock Holmes sequel:
Today, he claims that 100,000 Californian 12-17 year olds are smokers as a direct result of seeing smoking in the movies. This is a figure that he alone invented and which even hardcore anti-smoking head-bangers like Simon Chapman find laughable.
No person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco products.For all I know, these notices have been obligatory for years (perhaps as part of a tobacco advertising ban), but whether they're required by current statutes or simply included to avoid future legal trouble, it's an outrageous imposition.
Whatever you may think of the practice of 'product placements', it's surely not the sort of thing that should be illegal. When the government sees fit to outlaw paid depiction of tobacco products, what's to stop them from applying the same logic to alcohol and soft drinks? And how long before they decide that any depiction, paid or unpaid, should be forbidden?
We are a long way down the slippery slope.
Sure enough, Googling for the notice above turns up a hit at http://www.smokefreemovies.ucsf.edu. It's the second point of their four-point plan:
2. Certify no pay-offs. The producers should post a certificate in the closing credits declaring that nobody on the production received anything of value (cash money, free cigarettes or other gifts, free publicity, interest-free loans or anything else) from anyone in exchange for using or displaying tobacco.So it seems that what we have at the moment is voluntary compliance with the demands of some unpleasant monomaniacs. A disturbing development, nonetheless.
Where we are now: In 2008, Time Warner began including the following language in the end credits of selected films: “No person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco products.”