Mickey Mouse Isn’t Down with Cigs
In another blow against the tobacco industry, Disney has recently decided to eliminate all depictions of smoking within their films. They also vowed to discourage smoking within films aimed toward adult audiences through Touchstone Pictures and Miramax.
Famous villains such as Cruella DeVille of 101 Dalmatians had previously used smoking to enhance their infamous personas within Disney movies. Who could forget those long, thin cigarettes that Cruella puffed away at throughout the classic film? The rings of smoke swirling around her added a mysterious, evil air to her character.
While Disney’s attempts to snuff out smoking are honorable, I honestly don’t remember many Disney characters besides Cruella ever lighting up. Despite my obvious naivety as a child, statistics prove that children who view movies with glamorized smoking on screen are a lot more likely to try smoking themselves.
On the end of the spectrum, I’m not completely sold on Disney attempting to eliminate smoking from movies produced through Touchstone and Miramax. I’m a non-smoker and definitely do not promote smoking in any way, but the fact that Disney has the power to virtually eliminate something that is prevalent in the real world seems to me like some pretty harsh censorship.
Many of us would love to tear down the tobacco industry and save our loved ones from their addictions. However, smoking will not disappear simply by pretending that it doesn’t exist. If an adult is old enough to be watching a film with sex, drugs, alcohol abuse, violence, curse words and god knows what else, they should be able to step up and deal with the reality of smoking.
Ironically enough, Walt Disney was a chain smoker himself and eventually died from lung cancer. The company believes that Disney himself would support this amendment to the criteria for Disney films. They hope other studios will eventually join them in their crusade against the promotion of smoking.
Despite my fear of excessive censorship, I commend Disney for stepping up and taking responsibility as the number one producer children’s movies. With an influence so monstrous, they’ll undoubtedly have an impact on their cause.