Movies with smoking will discourage smoking…?

Hey, remember back when we were kids and movies were divided into two categories: Those we were allowed to see (G and PG) and those we weren’t (R)? Nowadays we also have PG-13, which I think was supposed to help matters, somehow, but really just made them more complicated for most of us.

Well, some of us. Me, I have children under 13, and I have no problem telling them that they have to be this high to go on that ride. Er, 13 to see that movie. End of story. But it turns out that their friends all get to see those movies because their friends’ parents are much cooler than I am. Or something. I don’t know. I, however, maintain my position because I’m a big meanie.

I also believe in old-fashioned values like parenting my children myself, and not blaming the media for its influence on them. But I am just crazy that way.

Okay, now that you know my particular bent on these matters, perhaps you’ll understand how amusing I find the news that kid-targeted movies containing scenes of characters smoking will now also contain anti-smoking PSAs:

The six major studios will begin including antismoking public service announcements in youth-rated DVDs of films that include tobacco use.

Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., Fox and Disney will place public service announcements on DVDs of new releases that are rated G, PG and PG-13 under an agreement reached by California health officials, studio reps and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. For the past year, Walt Disney Studios has had its own program of antismoking PSAs, but joined the agreement late Thursday to feature the state-produced spots.

I mean, this is good, I guess. It would be better if they just stopped putting gratuitous smoking into movies designed for underage audiences, I suppose, and better still if parents talked to their children about the dangers of smoking… but this is good, too.

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