Disney announced they would no longer allow smoking in any of their future films. Disney CEO and Chairman, Bob Iger made an announcement last Thursday at a stockholders meeting.
Iger provided the following comment regarding Disney’s new policy.
“We are extending our policy to prohibit smoking in movies across the board: Marvel, Lucas, Pixar and Disney films.”
The Wrap reported what prompted Disney’s decision to ban smoking in their films. It turns out; a San Francisco critical care nurse by the name of Gina Schuler shared the 2012 Surgeon General’s report “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults” with the Disney executive.
The report claims there is a link between television and movies that have characters who smoke in them and how children who watch those films or TV shows become influenced to the point where they take up the deadly habit.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the 2012 Surgeon General’s complete report, executive summary, and overview to everyone.
Disney films have many characters that smoke pipes of tobacco and other substances, cigars, and cigarettes. In fact, the first scenes of the Disney film, Mrs. Doubtfire shows cartoon characters smoking a cigarette.
In the scene, Robin Williams expresses his concern to the producer that children should not see smoking in films–that cartoon characters smoking cigarettes is morally irresponsible. Ultimately, Williams takes a stand for his belief.
Disney has an exception to their new policy, according to Iger.
“Except when we are depicting a historical figure who may have smoked at the time. For instance, we’ve been doing a movie on Abraham Lincoln, he was a smoker, and we would consider that acceptable. But in terms of any new characters that are created for any of those films, under any of those labels, we will absolutely prohibit smoking in any of those films.”
Healthcare professional Gina Schuler points out 43 percent of Disney’s Marvel Studios films rated PG13 had characters who smoked in the films. Schuler also cites Disney has not had any images of smoking in Disney films from 2014 to 2015.
Ironically, Walter Elias Disney, the cultural icon and co-founder of The Walt Disney Company was a tobacco chain smoker throughout his adult life; however, he made sure children did not see him smoking. At the age of 65, December 15, 1966, Walt Disney died of acute circulatory failure and collapse, as a result of lung cancer.
Disney and his company have been providing classic cartoons and movies for close to a century. Many believe the smoking ban in Disney films is a giant step forward.
[Featured image courtesy of Todd Anderson/Disney via Getty Images]