Canadian Cancer Society youth advocates want all future youth-rated movies to be smoke-free
TORONTO /CNW/ – In 2013, 86% of top-grossing movies with tobacco were youth-rated (G, PG, 14A) in Ontario. This is a serious issue as research shows that the more youth see smoking in movies the more likely they are to try smoking.
To shed light on the issue, Canadian Cancer Society youth advocates in partnership with the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies are hosting a ‘Director’s Cut’ themed event on September 6 during the Toronto International Film Festival.
At the event, youth will be educating visitors about the issue, hosting a peaceful demonstration and securing signatures of support to make all new youth-rated movies in Ontario smoke-free.
“Smoking in movies is one of the last ways that tobacco products are promoted to young people in Canada and this needs to stop.” says 16-year-old Society youth advocate Rakhshan Kamran. Repeated exposure to smoking on-screen promotes tobacco-use as normal, cool and a desirable behaviour and most movies fail to show the negative health effects of tobacco-use such as addiction, disease and death. “There is no need for smoking in youth-rated movies as it only helps the tobacco industry recruit a new generation of smokers.”
The rating system for movies in Ontario allow youth access to more films with tobacco than the system in the United States. Last year, only 34% of top-grossing movies that contained tobacco were youth-rated in the United States, compared to 86% in Ontario.
“The portrayal of tobacco in films influences people’s perceptions whether they are consciously aware of it or not,” says Lorraine Fry, co-chair, Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies and executive director, Non-Smokers’ Rights Association (NSRA). “This is why images of smoking and tobacco in movies is toxic for children and teens.”
The signatures of support for a ratings change collected during the event will be sent to the Ontario Film Review Board (OFRB) which is responsible for assigning ratings to movies released in Ontario. The Minister of Consumer Services who has oversight over the OFRB will also receive a copy of the signatures. Ontarians can show their support for smoke-free movies at takeaction.cancer.ca/smokefreemovies.
About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division)