Latin Catholic by birth, Byzantine Catholic by the grace of God.
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Location: Upstate, New York, United States

Friday, April 22, 2005

Simple math for Niconazis

The PSAs here have been banging away extra hard at smoking recently. Now, they're upset that 80% of PG movies show people smoking, which in turn supposedly influences children to smoke.

Setting aside the tobacco tradition in movies, and the way it's used to convey character, there is one glaring fact to consider. About 22% of the American population smokes - thus, if there is only one character in movie, there's a 22% chance that someone will smoke. And if there are:
  • 2 characters, a 41.36% chance.
  • 3 characters, a 54.26% chance.
  • 4 characters, a 64.32% chance.
  • 5 characters, a 72.17% chance.
  • 6 characters, a 78.29% chance.
  • 7 characters, an 83.07% chance.

So there you have it. In any movie with more than seven characters (which is certainly most), Hollywood may be under representing the actual smoking population.

People don't smoke all day, a critic might say, so why would we see them all? Okay, assume half the smokers wouldn't puff during the action of the film. It still means that at least one human being will smoke 80% of the time 14 people are on screen. How many movies have less than 14 characters?

File this one under "hysteria."

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