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The glitz, the glam and the cigarettes

Feb 22, 2017

Coalition urging Government of Ontario to change ratings for future movies with tobacco

TORONTO, ON (February 22, 2017) – As the red carpet is being rolled out for the Oscars on Sunday, the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies is asking the province to ensure future movies showing tobacco use are rated for adults – not kids and teens.

Studies show that the more kids and teens see smoking in movies, the more likely they are to start smoking. Overwhelming research demonstrates that thirty-seven per cent of youth smokers in Ontario are recruited to become smokers by seeing smoking in the movies. In our province, 13,000 people die every year as a result of tobacco-related illnesses – the number one cause of preventable death and disease.
“Criteria such as violence, language, sexual activity and psychological impact, including substance abuse, are used to assign a movie rating to movies geared towards children and teens. Smoking, which kills half of its long-term users, needs to be added to the list to help prevent a new generation of young people from smoking,” says Lorraine Fry, Co-Chair, Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies.

The Oscars remind us that kids and teens in Ontario have a much higher exposure to onscreen tobacco imagery than those in the United States, due to different rating systems. This year, out of 15 Oscar nominations in major categories that show smoking, only two of them have an 18A rating in Ontario, while eight are rated R in the US. Not surprisingly, in Ontario, between 2004-2013, 86 per cent of new movies released with tobacco were youth-rated, while it was only 54 per cent in the US.

The Ontario Film Review Board classifies films to provide the public with information to make informed viewing choices for themselves and their children. The OFRB does not currently rate movies with tobacco imagery18A.
“We see the research and we know that 79 per cent of Ontarians are in support of not allowing smoking in movies rated 14A or lower. We also know that it is possible to protect young people from exposure to on screen smoking while allowing filmmakers to include smoking in films rated 18A in Ontario,” says George Habib, President and CEO of The Lung Association – Ontario.

About The Lung Association – Ontario

Breathing. It’s what unites us. It’s what inspires us. And it’s what keeps us pushing ahead, whether it’s searching for cures to lung diseases, helping people to quit smoking and ensuring that children never start, or fighting for clean air.

The Lung Association is the leading organization working to promote lung health and prevent and manage lung disease. We do this by funding vital research, pushing for improved treatments and better policies, and helping patients manage their health.

About the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies

The Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies is an alliance of leading health organizations taking collective action to counter the harmful impact of smoking in youth-rated movies. Members of the coalition include The Lung Association, Canadian Cancer Society Ontario Division, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Non-Smokers’ Rights Association/Smoking and Health Action Foundation, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada and the Tobacco Control Networks of Public Health Units in Ontario. To take action visit: www.smokefreemovies.ca

Media Contact

Chris Yaccato, Government Relations & Public Affairs Manager
The Lung Association