MPAA Argues Smoking Ban in Movies Is Free Speech Infringement

MPAA Argues Smoking Ban in Movies Is Free Speech Infringement
What if Cruella de Vil vaped? What if Coffee and Cigarettes was just called Coffee? What if Danny Zuko just had a toothpick hanging from his mouth in Grease? These are all valid questions now that the Motion Picture Association of America is facing a tobacco lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that all tobacco use should be banned from films rated G, PG or PG-13, adding that depictions of smoking in such films have led to an uptick in tobacco use among teens and young adults.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, plaintiff Timothy Forsyth clarified that the goal is to reduce smoking-related deaths. "The complaint asserts that defendants cannot affix a PG-13 or lower certification on movies with tobacco imagery, because they know that it has been scientifically established that subjecting children to such imagery will result in the premature death of more than a million of them," he said. 

Seeking to have the case dismissed, the MPAA argued that their ratings are "opinions," adding that this ruling would infringe on their right to freedom of speech.

The case is still ongoing. Stay tuned for more details as they become available.