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The Vote: Should smoking in films shown in Liverpool be X-rated?

Are the ciggie-smoking movie stars of today helping to create a wholenew generation of nicotine addicts?

Published on July 1st 2009.

The Vote: Should smoking in films shown in Liverpool be X-rated?

THOSE smouldering eyes staring into the distance, a cigarette hangingoff his lips, it is the classic picture of legendary movie star JamesDean.

There is little doubt pictures such as this gave smoking a cool imageand it is with this very much in mind that Liverpool Primary CareTrust wants any new films depicting smoking to carry an 18 certificatewhile they are showing in the city.

They are anxious to shield impressionable youngsters from images oftheir role models enjoying a fag on screen and the city council hasagreed to hold a public consultation.

The statistics say it all about Liverpool's relationship with the evilweed.The city has been called the lung cancer capital of the world –rates here are two and a half times higher than the national average.Meanwhile, people in Liverpool are twice as likely as the nationalaverage to suffer mouth cancer, which has a strong link to smoking.

No surprise, then, that those charged with improving the city's sicklystate are willing to contemplate extreme

measures to improve the bleakcancer rates. However, Liverpool-based film producers, including SolPapadpoulos, who made Terence Davies's award-winning Of Time and theCity, oppose the move, saying it is a step too far.

And smoking is by no means the only big screen image with links toserious illness. Drunkenness among school-age children has also, apparently, reached epidemic proportions. So will the same rule now beapplied to all films showing film characters having a beer?And what about fat people? Research carried out two years ago showedthat 51per cent of Liverpool's population was obese -considerably morethan the numbers who smoke and a figure that is likely to be a lotworse by now. Obesity is linked to any number of serious healthproblems like high blood pressure, diabetes, strokes, cancer and heartdisease, so, by the same logic, ought we not to slap an 18-certificateon any film showing John Goodman or Homer Simpson munching on a double cheeseburger?

Yet lung cancer rates are a good argument for making Liverpool aspecial case. Despite great strides in cutting smoking rates -including its status as the first UK city to go smoke-free - smokingis still far too common for health chiefs' liking. Five thousandunder-18s are estimated to smoke in the city.

Drastic situations call for drastic action. While James Dean, MarlonBrando and Audrey Hepburn made smoking look sexy, were they alsounwittingly creating a future generation of lung cancer sufferers. Isit time to break that cycle?

What do you think? Go ahead and vote on the homepage!

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54 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

TeazlJune 19th 2009.


JuliaJune 19th 2009.

It is the kids who you feel sorry for.Not only are they bombarded with ads to drink sweet tasting booze, they are being brainwashed into becoming fag hags and junk food monsters at very early ages.The govt is hypocritical here; drawing massive revenues from alcohol and tobacco and spending a pittance on superficial schemes to "improve the nations health".A 100% ban on fags (£100 fine each time cctv catches you) , zero tolerance of drink driving (automatic 12 month ban) and huge increases in the price of junk food (easily done through legislation) are the appropriate solutions.Who would buy cigarettes at £25.00 per packet?

JuliaJune 19th 2009.

OOps...completing last note; obesity is not an illness - it is the result of greed, laziness and the easy availability of cheap, bad foods.The PCT should withdraw treatment from anyone who does not meet agreed BMI figures and cannot maintain certain minimum fitness levels.Defaulters can still obtain treatments but only BUPA will be available.

ÆsculapiusJune 19th 2009.

Oh I see Julia, making healthcare selective? So only people exactly like you are eligible even if they pay taxs? Did you vote BNP as well, Julia? Obviously the PCT has too much money if it can affford to dabble in areas that do not concern it, a situation that will not last for long. Let's just hope that when it hits the fan it will be these highly-paid busybodies that get the sack and not the doctors and nurses who save lives.

JuliaJune 19th 2009.

Sorry but most people are too thick to understand the damage they are doing to themselves. Make it hit them in their pockets and they very quickly learn.Legislate for good health and encourage positive behaviour, rewarding citizens who conform to norms and penalizing those who drag the rest of us down.It is logical and the best thing for the future of our children.

ÆsculapiusJune 19th 2009.

“Most people are too thick to understand”?- “Rewarding citizens who conform to norms”?- “penalizing those who drag the rest of us down”?What gives you the right to say these things? What makes you think that you are so superior that you can tell other people how to live their lives? What makes you think that you are part of some chosen few, an élite that somehow deserves better than everybody else?

DigJune 19th 2009.

Are you a communist Julia? I appreciate your point that there's people out there killing themselves by choosing to eat certain foods, but that's the point. They choose to. We do live in the free world. Also I don't know if you've noticed when you go shopping but fruit and vegetables are cheaper than burgers and TV dinners. So IT IS financially beneficial to eat well. What are you having for your dinner? A Big Mac for £3 or a watermelon for £1?

ÆsculapiusJune 19th 2009.

Not strictly speaking, Dig. Fruit and veg are relatively cheap, but many convenience foods loaded with palm oil, sugar salt and additives in reality make cheaper meals. In addition, there are many areas of our cities (and even in the countryside) where fresh produce is simply unavailable without access to a car. And there's another bad habit. Some folk have a poor diet, whereas those who are well-off and educated enough to know better injure their own health and that of their children and others around them by their addiction to motor cars. Apart from deaths and injury caused by accidents, there is the pollution of the air and groundwater and the effects on the driver and passengers – stress, high blood pressure, obesity, lung cancer from the benzene in the unleaded petrol and particulates in Diesel fumes and innumerable other things, yet the likes of Julia aren't so keen on laying down the law for the middle classes and demanding car addicts have a restricted service from the NHS.

DigJune 19th 2009.

We aren't far from a solution to your issues with car addicts. Check out the Honda FCX Clarity. Honda has a dream.....

Skid SoloJune 19th 2009.

But I bet the rubber deposits its tyres leave on the roads still cause sterility in plankton when it eventually gets washed into the sea, just like all other cars.

ÆsculapiusJune 19th 2009.

I see that the highly-paid, superfluous busybodies employed by the PCT have so little to do with their expensive time when they got into work this morning that they've been repeatedly voting 'Yes' in the survey to reverse the scores as they were over the weekend until the early hours of this morning. Shame on you, wasting public money like this! Redundancy can't be far off, thank goodness.

Signor ServiceJune 19th 2009.

The fact is that if smoking were outlawed tomorrow, and people did stop smoking, there'd still be a lot of lung cancer as there are many causes in the modern environment. The anti-smoking lobby is less about saving lives and more about promoting a dog-in-the-manger attitude to other people's lifestyles.

Sweet AftonJune 19th 2009.

The NHS, like the police, the Government, the armed forces, etc. IS THERE TO SERVE THE PUBLIC, not vice versa. This isn't a Nazi state yet.

Sweet AftonJune 19th 2009.

And the CITY COUNCIL is there to serve it's public too! (Though this shower have never bothered themselves about serving the public of this city in the past!)

BryherJune 19th 2009.

Hear hear! When useless, slobbish parents whine to the gutter press about how their thuggish 12-year-old child is beyond their control, social workers and doctors will simply invent a new illness to explain their drunkenness, fire-raising, vandalism, violence, etc.!Lock them up and throw away the key! Put the child into care and give them a new, more sensible name.

MinksterJune 19th 2009.

I know that smoking may shorten my life, but sometimes not having a fag would shorten someone else's. I am sick of the 'well meaning' do-gooders who patronise so many of us as we try to live with the realities of life. I have seen so many 'well intentioned' interferences by social workers, medical professionals, social planners & drug workers result in more kids running away from home, more ex-junkies & other abused individuals becoming alcoholics and resultant young mortalities that I wonder really what the big deal about having a fag is. It's not the widely popular habit that it was, its hardly the rebellion of youth and some people obviously never were young and have no idea what either angst or ecstasy is, nevermind what their value may be in terms of true humanitarian compassionate feeling. Meanwhile, I am havin a fag : )

WraithJune 19th 2009.

I see that the priggish busybodies have been doctoring the survey results again! It's been 80%-plus voting NO for about three weeks and overnight the figures have reversed.These people need to get out more - but of course the smoking ban has killed off the pubs they used to go to!

El ToroJune 19th 2009.

Does anyone remember The Bull in Great Howard Street? And does anyone know of any pubs that supply strippers these days?

Professor ChucklebuttyJune 19th 2009.

How dare you refer to my good lady in that manner, Bull indeed! She only wore that Donkey Jacket in the cold weather, she'd had a few too many Cherry Bs that day in Gt Howard St and didn't strip completely because of her shingles.

DigJune 19th 2009.

Pubs that supply strippers? Do you want to take some away with you?

Cleveland SquareJune 19th 2009.

The Cleveland used to offer exotic dancers at lunchtimes, but it was knocked down to make way for Liverpool One.

El ToroJune 19th 2009.

So where then?

DigJune 19th 2009.

Just an idea El Toro have you thought of Googling Liverpool strip bars? Just an idea my friend.

El ToroJune 19th 2009.

not after strip bars, mate, merely pubs that you get a pie and a pint in, and a proper stripper

Professor ChuckletittyJune 19th 2009.

Capital of Culture. Bravo, that's more like it. More power to your elbow El Toro...which you may need while watching the stripper.

leon kayJune 19th 2009.

has Gideon Ben Tovim been born with a cork up his arse and a silver spoon in his mouth .There is a depression going on in this country people are bound to smoke more what do you suggest Gid get fat like all the lardie arses I have to see on the streets of Liverpool .Get real oh pious one !!!!!!

Duc AdosJune 19th 2009.

Who is 'John Goodman'?

TV KellyJune 19th 2009.

I think smoking is rubbish. Boo! Hiss! to smoking, etc. But I am aware that people smoke and I think that it is a bit daft not to show people smoking in films. But I do think it should be portrayed realistically with phlegm and all that unpleasantness and not like in the 1953 film The Magic Cigarette in which James Stewart finds a magic cigarette which brings him good luck and his dream girl. That sort of film, if anything, glamorises smoking.

Liverpool wagJune 19th 2009.

TV Kelly! Where on Earth have you been? How's it going?

TV KellyJune 19th 2009.

I've been back home in the Isle of Man, where we still await the internet. But it's lovely to be back. Is that Grill person still writing reports on cafes and whatnot? He was always writing about going out for meals, as I recall. Obsessed, he was. He was quite funny here, where I suppose he was restrained by the editor, but can you imagine meeting him at the bus stop? "Hello, are you AA Grill?" "Grill! That reminds me. I had a pork chop the other day which I grilled. It was absolutely delicious, a balm for the soul. Or... perhaps... an OINKment, what with it being pork and everything, etc, etc." Is Warren Bradley still in charge, or did they rumble him?

TV CuriousJune 19th 2009.

Hi Kelly, I think I may be TV too but haven't given it a proper try yet. Fancy getting together for a bit of TV costume drama?

TV KellyJune 19th 2009.

I think you'll find that type of behaviour is frowned upon on the Isle of Man. Your sort would certainly be discouraged from entering Douglas.

InterestedJune 19th 2009.

Who is Douglas?

DigJune 19th 2009.

TV Curious seems the type who might enjoy the punishiment. They're still using the cat o' nine tales in the Isle of Man aren't they?

wappingJune 19th 2009.

So the tobacco industry marches on while the ranters squabble. The smoking lobby has more power, wit and ingenuity in its toenail clippings than this entire forum could achieve in a lifetime. We are all victims, smokers and non smokers alike, of their relentless manipulation of opinion. Sure, tobacco smoking can be a pleasant sensation but like all horrors of addiction it changes over time into a life-sapping burden. Thus smokers' quality of life is always less than its potential and non smokers also suffer as resources are deployed to ameliorate smoking problems which could be used in other projects. It's only very recently that any useful action has been taken on the problems of smoking generally. Every step is dogged by hilarious pettifogging from pompous individuals banging on about their freedom. That's blox, there are many injurious things we are not free to do. Incremental action against the tobacco industry is the only option available to the saner authorities who actually care about the wellbeing their constituencies. Movies show smoking because the pedlars paid for them to do so, X-rating them will have very little effect on anyone commenting here but it would be another of those incremental steps. And as for referencing fast food and alcohol, the proposal was about smoking, those others are separate issues.

Ken the feral MoggieJune 19th 2009.

Dig, how could you be so insensitive about what happened to my nine cousins? Lured there by the Manx judiciary with the promise of more free kippers than you could shake your tail at. Cousin Barry still says he can feel his missing tail swishing whenever he spots a pigeon on the back wall. Actually as none of my cousins had been - i can hardly say it - gulp - neutered, I think the whiff from the tails (always reminds me of rancid Ribena) got them to drop it in favour of the birch, or Scandanavian fun sticks as they are called.

DigJune 19th 2009.

So it took an unintentional slight at your feline family to see you back. Good to hear from you again. Where have you been?

Ken the feral MoggieJune 19th 2009.

Pussycat pussycat where have you been? Down south visiting royalty.Ragged a few corgis while I was there.

Cy MeaseJune 19th 2009.

Wasn't the rain awful?

Pam AvisionJune 19th 2009.

Films worth watching are already restricted in Liverpool. It's been years since the Odeon has shown anything worth watching and FACT is dedicated to showing only Hollywood mainstream crap. Any other type of film is on at some daft time few can get there, for very restricted periods. Then they'll say "There's no demand for good films"!

Abi CineramaJune 19th 2009.

It's better to jump the train to the Corner House in Manchester than waste time on FACT.

Mike HomfrayJune 19th 2009.

Sadly, FACT has deteriorated considerably. I didn't bother to renew my membership this year, largely because I rarely go there now

KnowledgeableJune 19th 2009.

What a shame.

I. ZensteinJune 19th 2009.

I had such high hopes for FACT that I joined-up even before it opened but my membership lapsed years ago. It seems to function as a class apartheit thing; middle-classes and "shteurdents" go there to watch the same rubbish films as are on at the Odeon but without having to mix with the common people that frequent the Odeon. They even sell the same crappy, unsuitably noisy snacks to the customers as the Odeon.Bring back the Merseyside Film Institute Society!

Town BoyJune 19th 2009.

FACT should be honest and shove a Disney sign up over the door.

MoviolaJune 19th 2009.

Indeed. Why is it that I can't watch a quality film in Liverpool any more. The FACT cinema is these days run by Picturehouse which is a national chain. I like mainstream films, and if I want to watch one, I would choose to watch it in FACT any day over the Odeon. But, I also want to watch good, art house films. The FACT building is every bit as good as any art building I know, so why do I have to go to Amazon if I want to watch anything different?

Mike HomfrayJune 19th 2009.

FACT always has been run by Picturehouse - but for some reason, they have adopted a far more mainstream focus in terms of their programming for the Liverpool venue. This has been very noticeable since the Director of FACT who initially worked with Picturehouse moved on.For example, the Outsiders group uses the venue monthly for gay-related films but they do not put them on at other times.

I. NocorridaJune 19th 2009.

I was under the impression that FACT received and still receives European funding as an arts venue. As it shows the same pea-brained/car-chase/gun-****ing/mumbling-yank/action rubbish for disturbed adolescents of all ages as the commercial cinema chains show, isn't there a possibility it could have its funding cut unless they start showing proper films? They might even have money ‘clawed back’!

Dr. StoppageJune 19th 2009.

"Julia says..“ OOps...completing last note; obesity is not an illness - it is the result of greed, laziness and the easy availability of cheap, bad foods. The PCT should withdraw treatment from anyone who does not meet agreed BMI figures and cannot maintain certain minimum fitness levels. Defaulters can still obtain treatments but only BUPA will be available.”" ----------- If the PCT or NHS more widely sacked all its overweight and obese staff they'd lose 90% of them and the NHS would collapse. Yet the nasty little Hitlers in the PCT feel able to lecture us about healthy living. What a diabolical liberty!

Greedy PiggJune 19th 2009.

Yes Julia, most NHS staff are too fat to pass your own test. Now pass me those pork pies.

Tex NikolaJune 19th 2009.

Is the story true that Geoff Davies of Probe Records fame was banned from FACT because he complained about adverts being shown over the credits of a rarely-seen classic film they showed? (It must have been a long time ago!)

Tom BrownJune 19th 2009.

Last night on the local news there was a young man trapped in a wheelchair for life because he played rugby. Last year a young quadroplegic man (because of rugby) went to a Swiss clinic to commit suicide. Our own Prime Minister has only one eye because he played rugby. I think it is PRETTY FLIPPING OBVIOUS what the PCT busybodies really ought to be campaigning to ban.

Ena SharplesJune 19th 2009.

I agree! I have just been listening to that idiot Victoria Derbyshire on radio Five live suggesting that we ban pregnant women from buying fags. They should ban her from polluting the airwaves

DigJune 19th 2009.

Ban rugby? Why don't we ban all things that can cause disabilities? Let's start with falling over. Then cars, then clumsy people, then stairs, then gardening, tell me when to stop.

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