TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2011 /CNW/ - During the Toronto International Film
Festival, people from around the world come together to celebrate some
of the best in film. What many may not be aware of is that many of
these films will feature smoking and be granted a youth rating (G, PG,
14A) in Ontario. Evidence indicates that the more youth see smoking in
movies the more likely they are to start, making this issue a serious
public health concern.
"Youth see actors and actresses as role-models and when they see smoking
in films; it influences them to do the same," said Hassan Mahmood a
Youth Health Action member. "Smoking in movies is a form of product
placement and media are powerful influencers to youth."
The issue of youth exposure to smoking in youth-rated films is more
prevalent in Canada than in the United States, as film review boards
throughout Canada grant movies a youth rating more often. According to
movie ratings comparisons done by the Ontario Coalition for Smoke Free
Movies for the period between June 2010 - May 2011 for top-grossing
movies, domestic (Canada and U.S.) release, 88 percent (49/56) of
movies released with tobacco content were youth-rated by the Ontario
Film Review Board (OFRB) (G/PG/14A). On the other hand, 57 percent
(32/56) were youth-rated by the Motion Picture Association of America
(MPAA) (G/PG/PG-13). 81 percent (394 million/489 million) of all
tobacco impressions generated in theatre were delivered in movies
youth-rated by the OFRB. These results show that movies with tobacco
are more often rated for youth in Ontario than in the U.S under the
OFRB's current rating system.
"We need to acknowledge the inconsistency of ratings of films featuring
smoking or tobacco use in Ontario," said Seemi Qaiser another member of
the Youth Health Action Network "Smoking in films creates an illusion
that tobacco use is glamorous, normal and more common than it actually
is. Rarely are the consequences of tobacco use ever shown."
According to a recent Ipsos Reid survey released by the Ontario
Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies, nearly three out of four (73 per cent)
Ontarians aged 18 years of age or older said they would support a
policy initiative to get smoking out of youth-rated movies.
Tobacco use continues to be a leading cause of disease and death in
Ontario, accounting for 13,000 deaths in the province each year. Today
there are more than 67,000 smokers in Ontario between the age of 15 and
19 and changing the movie rating system is one way to help protect
youth against smoking initiation.
The Youth Health Action Network's call for a rating change is supported
by public health organizations locally, provincially, nationally and,
internationally, including but not limited to the Toronto Public
Health, Ontario Coalition for Smoke Free Movies, Canadian Cancer
Society, US Centre for Disease control (US CDC), and World Health
Organization For more information visit www.smokefreemovies.ca.
About Youth Health Action Network
Youth Health Action Network is a network comprised of youth 16 to 24
years of age who actively plan, coordinate and implement community
based activities that engage youth to take action on tobacco and other
health related issues, including physical activity, substance and
alcohol misuse, mental health issues and nutrition.
The Toronto Youth Health Action Network organized a flash mob on
Saturday September 10, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. starting at the Yonge and
Dundas Square and ending at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, to educate the
film-going public about the promotion and advertising of tobacco
products in movies rated for children and youth.
Image with caption: "In a flash mob organized during the Toronto International Film Festival, youth show movie fans they are "TIFFed that smoking in movies is not being addressed as a serious public health issue (CNW Group/Youth Health Action Network)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110912_C2322_PHOTO_EN_3060.jpg
SOURCE Youth Health Action Network
For further information:
Media Contact: Janvere Lyder, 416 881-8379