As his first major order of business since the passing of his larger-than-life predecessor, current MPAA honcho Dan Glickman has announced that the federal ratings board will take the unprecedented measure of factoring in on-screen cigarette smoking into their ratings decisions. But rather than risking penalizing a worthy, smoke-filled-room movie like Good Night and Good Luck with a rating of "LC-17: Parents Strongly Cautioned Some Material May Indirectly Lead to Lung Cancer," the board has established several mitigating circumstances:
He said the ratings board will ask three questions:
Is the smoking pervasive?
Does the film glamorize smoking?
Is there an historic or other mitigating context?
Also, when a film's rating is affected by the depiction of smoking, the rating will include phrases such as "glamorized smoking" or "pervasive smoking."
The decision may not completely please anti-tobacco lobbyists, who had hoped for across-the-board R-ratings, but thanks to the new MPAA classification system, at least parents will never again have to wonder whether their children might be subjected to any of a wide variety of smoking scenarios, including, but not limited to, "post-coital smoking," "appetite-suppressive smoking," and "depressing cubicle drones huddled under an office building entryway in the rain smoking." Finally, we can all rest a little easier, knowing that by lumping the deadly habit into the same, not-at-all enticing categories as explicit sex and violence, the impressionable youth of America will instantly lose interest in this forbidden subject.