Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction
A unanimously approved bill introduced to the Chilean Senate has caused quite a stir among the Chilean film and television world, who claim it will significantly alter film and television shows by editing out the scenes where smoking is featured.
"It would be prohibited to include any character smoking or any kind of indirect publicity, which might contribute to subliminal propaganda," Health Minister Jaime Mañalich said
Some have pointed out the damage this will do to films set in another era, where smoking was far more socially acceptable than it is now. One such film is the award-winning Chilean movie No
which is set in 1988 and is set to be released later this month.
"If this isn’t tragic, then it’s laughable," Chilean film director Pablo Pereman said. "What will they do with foreign films, for example? What will they do with era reconstructions, such as the ‘No’ film, which is full of people who smoke because that’s how it was back then. Will we have to fake the era and the people’s conduct?"
Drama director of popular television station TVN María Eugenia Rencoret has stated that the new bill won’t affect the station’s current productions too heavily, as they don’t often feature smoking.
"The use of cigarettes in fiction is minor nowadays," she said. "This is because smoking is not allowed in public spaces and we keep this in mind when we are representing fiction."
So far, the bill has been unanimously approved by the Senate’s Health Committee and now has to face its luck with the Senate floor. If it does end up going into effect, the law will prohibit not only new films featuring smoking from being shown, but will also cut scenes from films where smoking is featured. As many have pointed out, this will radically change several movies such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s
where Audrey Hepburn is rarely seen without a cigarette, and the plethora of smoking scenes in Pulp Fiction
According to Mañalich, the new law will also prohibit cigarette additives such as menthols because these additives help non-smokers "tolerate tobacco."
Despite an anti-smoking ban in health facilities and schools, as well as various other public areas, Chile was recently named
as having the highest smoking rate in the Americas.