The smokiest PG-13 movie since 2002

Ali and Mortensen in Green Book (2018)

Green Book is a biopic about the unlikely friendship that develops between Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from the Bronx, and his employer, the pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), on a 1962 concert tour in the deep south. ("The Negro Motorist Green Book" was a 1936-67 guide to restaurants and lodging open to African-Americans.)

With 381 tobacco incidents, Green Book edges out the Churchill biopic Darkest Hour (2017) as the smokiest top-grossing PG-13 movie since 2002, the year Breathe California began comprehensively surveying tobacco imagery. Both movies are distributed by Comcast's Universal studio.

The R-rating for smoking endorsed by every major health organization in America includes an exception for movies depicting real people who actually smoked. In Green Book, eleven characters smoke, but the only real smoker is Tony Lip. The other ten characters — responsible for about half of all the smoking incidents — are fictional composites or nameless background actors.

Unfortunately, Green Book is just one example of studios abusing the "biographical" smoking exception. From 2010 to 2017, as we've reported, 74 percent of the 526 smoking characters in Hollywood's biographical films have been made-up.

Over the same years, kid-rated biographical films averaged twice as many tobacco incidents as other kid-rated films with smoking. So far in 2018, 79 percent of all kid-rated tobacco incidents have occurred in "biographical" films (926 of 1,174 incidents).

In addition, Vigo Mortensen's character displays Kent cigarette packages. Kent is a Reynolds/BAT brand marketed in fifty nations around the world today. Finally, Green Book's MPAA rating includes a "smoking" label. Twenty-four of 27 youth-rated films with smoking (89%) released so far in 2018 have gone unlabeled.