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If Film Companies Can Help Get Kids Not to Start Smoking, How About Other Ways Too?

A full-page open letter in today’s New York Times from the New York State Commissioner of Health reminds Disney, GE, News Corp., Sony, Time Warner and Viacom that showing smoking on screens inspires young people to start smoking and suggests four changes these companies can make that will promote the health of children.

Past efforts to enlist the MPAA to help curtail smoking in feature films have failed. Apparently it’s no easier to get through to movie makers than it is to teenagers.

If this appeal is successful, and I hope it is, I’d like the film companies to consider showing:

Scarlett Johansson cleaning up her room and calling her grandmother without needing to be threatened;

Michael Cera and Ellen Page engaging in safe sex;

Jonah Hill drinking rounds of water;

Abigail Breslin doing her homework and practicing the piano before going into chat rooms or talking on her cell;

Daniel Radcliffe making it home by curfew;

Keira Knightley speaking openly, or even just respectfully, to her parents;

Shia La Beouf getting up before noon;

All young people dialoguing without the word, “like.”

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