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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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In this film publicity image released by The Weinstein Company, John Goodman portrays Al Zimmer in a scene from "The Artist." (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company)
Shurtleff joins campaign against smoking in films

Hollywood should get out of the tobacco business, say the attorneys general of 38 states - including Utah's Mark Shurtleff.

The National Association of Attorneys General announced today that the 38 A.G.'s have sent letters (like this one) to 10 major movie studios, urging them to, as the press release puts it, "eliminate people using tobacco in youth-rated movies."

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(They probably mean "eliminate the depiction of people using tobacco in youth-rated movies," though some of those A.G.'s are pretty tough law-and-order hombres, so you never know.)

"We mean it when we say this is a colossal, preventable tragedy," Shurtleff said. "Everyone loves movies and we hope the movie studios will love their customers enough to take the needed steps to reduce the harm."

NAAG is asking studios to adopt policies to eliminate tobacco use in youth-rated movies, include anti-tobacco ads on all future DVDs and Blu-ray discs for films that depict smoking, add closing credits saying that the tobacco industry did not make payoffs to the filmmakers (something that happens now), and to keep tobacco brands and promotional material off the screen.

The MPAA - the movie-industry lobbying group that also dishes out ratings for films - has made it routine to note instances of smoking in films, and it's sometimes a factor in giving a PG-13 rating to a movie that might otherwise have earned a PG (like "The Artist," shown above).

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