Cinephiles in France Left Angry Over a Call to Ban Onscreen Smoking

Ban Onscreen Smoking

One critic of the movie industry in France once alluded that having a moral compass in the Film Industry is ‘like pouring cola into a Château Lafite’. Jean-Paul Belmondo, a star in the French Film Industry spent almost an entire movie with a Gauloise on his lips. The film was made in the 1960’s by the name À Bout du Souffle which means ‘Breathless.’ Coco channel pinning haute dresses were portrayed by Audrey Tautou while smoking. The call to ban onscreen smoking by some directors in the French film industry has been greeted with a mix of outright ridicule and disbelief. It has also posed the question of what the French films and Cinemas would look like without cigarettes. Socialist Senator Nadine Grelet-Certenais ignited the debate when he accused movie stars and filmmakers in France of being at the forefront when it comes to product promotions for the tobacco industry.

The Senator said in Parliament’s upper house that in more than 70% of all the movies made in France, there was at least one smoking scene. Grelet-Certenais noted that by making cigarette use banal, it would lead to promoting the habit of adolescents and children. The Senator also made remarks that raised the attention of the French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn. The remarks were made during a debate on how the government was planning to raise prices of tobacco-related products such as cigarettes. The Health Minister said that she would make consultations with her colleague in the Cabinet, Françoise Nyssen, and the Minister of Culture. Buzyn said that she does not understand the reason why cigarette had become so important in the French film industry and that her ministry would take decisive action to fight smoking.

According to research that was done and published five years ago by an Anti-cancer group in France, there was a reference to smoking that was featured in the 180 films featured in the study. The scenes involved an actor lighting up a cigarette, a packet of cigarettes or merely advertising an ashtray. The study also inferred that there were over ten such scenes in 10% of the films. There were calls by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last year to give an adult rating to all movies that have smoking scenes. WHO claimed that 44% of the films produced in Hollywood for the year 2014 had a smoking scene. 37% of smokers at the adolescent stage in life picked up the habit after watching a Hollywood film.

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