Huron County, ON – The Academy Awards are just around the corner and the Huron County Health Unit is using the opportunity to highlight the negative impacts of movies that contain smoking. The Health Unit, along with the World Health Organization (WHO), is speaking out for a policy change that would help to prevent smoking in youth-rated movies.
According to WHO research, movies showing use of tobacco products have enticed millions of youth worldwide to start smoking. In Ontario it’s estimated that at least 185,000 children and teens will start smoking from exposure to onscreen smoking. The Smoke-Free Movies initiative would mean in Ontario any new films that showed smoking would be given an 18A rating. This year, 13 of the 19 youth-rated movies nominated for a major Academy Award contain scenes with smoking.
“Although there are tight restrictions among other forms of tobacco advertising, there is no policy or law to control tobacco exposure in films”, says Shayna Melady, Health Promotion Intern with the Huron County Health Unit. “Movies tend to glamourize and normalize tobacco use, giving young people the wrong message.”
International Week of Action is an annual event leading up to the Oscars that brings together members of the smoke-free movies action networks from around the world to raise awareness on this issue. “The evidence is clear, the more kids and teens see smoking in movies, the more likely they are to start”, says Melady. “There are many ways to get involved, and we are encouraging our community to learn more about the influence of tobacco in movies, and to take action.”
The Health Unit will be sharing information about smoking in movies every day this week, in hopes to get the word out, and help everyone understand the issue and what they can do about it.
Visit www.smokefreemovies.ca for more information or to take action.