January 19, 2017 - In Ontario, 37% of youth tobacco use can be attributed to onscreen smoking. Youth-rated movies delivered 7 billion tobacco impressions to Ontario theatre audiences between 2004 and 2013. According to multiple studies world-wide, the more smoking that youth see in movies, the more likely they are to smoke. Today, the Northwest Tobacco Control Area Network (NW TCAN,) in collaboration with the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies (OCSFM), launched a new tool to provide parents with strategies to protect their kids and make youth-rated movies smoke-free in Ontario.
“Last year we worked really hard to introduce the issue and educate parents by describing the evidence behind the smoke-free movies campaign with the release of our first video, Do Movies Cause Kids to Smoke?” says Kellie Milani, NW TCAN Youth Development Specialist. “Now we want parents to know that we all have the power to make change by selecting only smoke-free movies for kids and teens and by advocating for a change to the rating system to ensure that all new movies for kids are smoke-free in the future.”
The bottom line: There are things that can be done to fix this problem. “Under the current ratings system, scenes of smoking are not considered when assigning movies a rating. The biggest thing we can do to protect kids in Ontario from the influence of smoking in movies is to express support for a ratings change. All new movies rated for kids should be smoke-free,” says Milani. “This change has the potential to save 30,000 lives in Ontario alone.” There are also things that the public can do right now. By visiting the website, smokefreemovies.ca, parents can easily take action to show their support for a ratings change, check movie titles for onscreen smoking, or learn more about the issue.
The NW TCAN’s quick draw video can be found on YouTube by searching for “The Power to Change: Make Movies Smoke-Free” and at smokefreemovies.ca.
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