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PARIS — Smoking gets 2.6 minutes of screen time on an average film, which is the equivalent of six adverts for cigarettes and tobacco products. At least, that’s according to the French League Against Cancer.
“Tobacco remains quasi-ubiquitous in French films,” the League said, according to English language coverage on the matter from the BBC. The league argues that the exposure to smoking in films further glamorizes smoking, and the group is again calling for new censorship measures to cut down the amount of smoking found in French cinema.
46% of the top-grossing films between 2010 and 2018 showed people smoking excessively, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.
However, the French Film Producers’ Association calls the lobbying from the league to be a push towards a violation of creative freedom.
“It seems to me fundamental to support communication campaigns against tobacco, in order to inform the public, but the primary vocation of art is not to provide educational information,” Xavier Rigault told the BBC.
Rigault is the vice president of the association.
Yama Dimirova, a member of the league that led the study, said that the French national government needs to move to regulate these images and further limit the support of the pieces of film that are somehow the worst offenders.
“Even though we have a very strong prevention program, we still have a lot of tobacco smoking in movies,” Dimirova told the BBC. “So films depict more smoking than in real life [and] we know this has a direct impact on the normalization of tobacco smoking.
This follows a traditional tobacco control tactic to censor the content of advertisement or even traditional art and cinema because smoking is believed to be an ongoing societal ill that is supported by the billion-dollar-valued tobacco giants of the world.
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