Health experts in Oman have backed the World Health Organization’s call on government to introduce age-classified ratings for films with tobacco images in order to stop children from getting addicted to cigarettes and hookah.
Report published on Monday, per Times of Oman, smoking was found in 44 percent of all Hollywood films, and 36 percent of films rated for young people in 2014. Almost 59 percent (almost two thirds) of top-grossing films featured tobacco imagery between 2002 and 2014.
Millions of youths and teenagers are hooked on movies produced by Hollywood, and the call by health experts for government to ban movies with tobacco-related imageries couldn’t have come at a better time.
The United States Surgeon General reported that adult ratings of future films with smoking would reduce smoking rates among young people in the country by nearly one-fifth and would help to avert 1 million tobacco-related deaths.
However, the Hollywood is not the only culprit in this case as movies produced outside the United States also contain smoking scenes. Surveys show that tobacco imagery was found in top-grossing movies produced in six European countries of Germany, the United Kingdom, Iceland, Poland, the Netherland and Italy; while two from Latin America, including Argentina and Mexico.
The survey also showed that nine out of 10 films from Iceland and Argentina contain smoking scenes, including movies rated for young people.
Various reports have shown that 97 percent of people suffering from lung cancer are smokers. Lung cancer, according to the Times of Oman, is expected to become the most common cancer in Oman in the next five years, said Dr. Basim Al Bahrani, director of oncology and head of medical oncology at the Royal Hospital.
The World Health Organization-Smoke-Free Movie report, which is in line with the guidelines of article 13 of the WHO FCTC, recommends various measures, including; reducing age classification ratings for films with tobacco imagery to reduce exposure of youth, certifying in movie credits that film producers receive nothing of value from anyone for using or displaying tobacco products in movies, ending display of tobacco brands in movies and requiring strong anti-smoking ads to be shown before films containing tobacco imagery in all distribution channels.
The World Health Organization report also recommends making media productions ineligible for public subsidies for promoting smoking. Cancer is the third leading cause of death in Oman after traffic accidents and heart diseases, per the Ministry of Health.
The World Health Organization and countries across the world need to embrace this policy in order to cut down on the rise of tobacco related movies. Until this is achieved, the world runs the risk of increase in the number of death caused by tobacco smoking.
However, it is not a role that should be left in the hands of the government, as the movie producers also need to do more in this regard in order to save lives. By cutting down or totally eliminating movies with tobacco smoking imageries, death as a result of lung cancer would be drastically cut down.