101 Dalmatians earns "R" rating in UK. WTF?

It looks like the smoking Nazis have their collective eyes set on Disney and any other filmmaker that dare to have incorporated the politically incorrect habit of smoking in their works.

You can add film to the long list of places where smoking is banned should these “do-gooders” have their way.

In an article entitled, “Why Cruella de Vil's cigarette could put an 18 certificate on 101 Dalmatians” the author speaks to the absurdity of such a notion.

By Jaya Narain

They don't immediately stand out as films which might corrupt young people. But 101 Dalmatians, Pinocchio and Alice In Wonderland could all be given 18 certificates under draconian moves to discourage smoking.

Council leaders will today be asked to use special powers to put restrictive ratings on films which feature the habit. But the move could mean children would be banned from watching Disney classics, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Popeye, Peter Pan and a host of other films and feature-length cartoons.

Film-makers and censors have been under increasing pressure to remove smoking scenes after research suggested children were influenced by fictional characters lighting up on screen.

Now anti-smoking groups have targeted councils which have the power to act as local censors and alter the British Board of Film Classification certification of a movie.
Today council leaders from the ten regions which form the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities will be asked to put higher age certificates on films that show smoking.

The move has been attacked by pro-smoking group Forest, whose spokesman Neil Rafferty said: 'Film-makers should not be dictated over the content of their films.
'It is an attack on freedom of expression and it is an absurdity that films such as 101 Dalmatians could be given an 18 certificate.

Children should be warned over the dangers of smoking but to remove all smokers from sight is beyond the pale.'

The British Board of Film Classification insisted there was no need to classify all films as 18 just because they showed characters smoking.
A spokesman said: 'If we see smoking in films which is actively promoting smoking to young people we would take action against them, give them a higher rating if necessary.

'But there is less and less smoking in films these days simply because people are unable to smoke in public locations.'

The concept is flawed to say the least and bodes ill for artistic freedom. The idea that children can be sequestered from reality is naïve and places the emphasis on the wrong concept. Children should be taught that people smoke and then given the tools to make a wise decision for themselves.

Thankfully this nonsense is taking place across the pond in Europe but how long before the local “thought police” take the cue and run with it here in America. Is it really so far fetched to think that such a concept would be seriously considered by those who have fought so hard to remove smoking from every public venue?

You can watch people killed, maimed and dismembered on prime time television and that does not seem to raise the specter of censorship but by God let someone light up and watch the mad dash.

A list of other productions deemed to be of questionable content includes:

Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Lord of the Rings, and Alice in Wonderland.

One has to wonder what cause de jour will follow on the heels of a victory here.

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