Disney decides to snuff out depictions of smoking

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The Walt Disney Co. generated headlines yesterday when it announced a sequel to the blockbuster hit “Frozen.”

But the entertainment giant also made another announcement that didn’t get as much attention.eastwood

CEO Bob Iger says Disney will no longer show people smoking in any of its films with a PG-13 rating or below. The one exception, Iger said, will be depictions of historical characters who smoked.

Disney is the first major studio to announce a no smoking policy, which some health advocates have been pushing for years. The group Legacy for Health, for example, says more than 185,000 young people start smoking each year because movies depict smoking as a cool thing to do. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has even studied the issue. audreyhepburn

The health risks of smoking are well documented, but Iger told shareholders in San Francisco yesterday that he made the decision just this week. He said “I thought it was the right thing for us to do.”

Of course, the decision to ban lighting up is somewhat easier for Disney than other film companies because most of its movies are geared towards children, or families.

Iger says that Disney will not join the push for the Motion Picture Association of America to prohibit smoking in R-rated films, nor will it encourage competitors to follow its lead on smoking in family fare.