Froma Harrop: Criticism of 'Avatar' more interesting than film
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#1 Mar 28, 2010
Actually, smoking IS other people's business. It's the leading preventable cause of death, but before each of those 430,000 Americans die each year, they experience years of disability and need years of medical care. Their families and the public at large pay for that.
Also, 90% of smokers begin as adolescents, not as adults. Should tobacco companies be held accountable for recruiting kids to smoke? Of course. Well, how about the media companies and movie studios that sell movie tickets to kids AND deliver them to the tobacco industry?
Meanwhile, the tobacco companies profit. That makes smoking on-screen different from lying, cheating and killing in PG-13 movies. Thrills and chills sell movie tickets; they don't need someone else to "sponsor" them on screen. Tobacco? It's been on screen since 1927 because, since 1927, the tobacco companies cut commercial deals with studios and producers. And lied, cheated and killed, for that matter, earning a racketeering fraud conviction in federal court just a few years ago.
Avatar isn't the first James Cameron movie with smoking, by a long shot. Nor is it the first movie in which Sigourney Weaver smokes, by a long shot. These folks are entertainers. Nobody expects them to find a cure for cancer.
But at least they could stop causing it.
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