The Lung Association to Hollywood: Stop luring Canadian youth into smoking

Two-thirds of all youth movies released in Canada have smoking in them

OTTAWA, Aug. 19 /CNW/ - Jessica Simpson made short shorts a hit; Paris made puppies in Prada a trend.  Youth are the biggest consumer of movies and elevate the profile of Hollywood stars by mimicking movie star behaviour, taking on-screen scenes to the streets.  A report released today states that smoking in movies is no different.

Youth from the Youth Advocacy Training Institute (YATI), a program of The Lung Association, reacted strongly to findings that suggest nearly 43,000 Canadian youth will die after being lured into smoking by Hollywood moviesi.  Citing the Tobacco Vector, a recent study conducted by Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada, YATI is advocating for youth-rated films not to allow smoking.

"This is an issue that is having a huge impact on our generation.  Youth just like me are being influenced to start smoking because of smoking on the big screen," says Sal Anania, youth member of YATI.  "We don't want to stop seeing the movies we like, so it's more about making filmmakers care about our health and stop glamourizing smoking in youth-rated movies."

The Tobacco Vector study suggests that 130,000 Canadian teenagers who smoke were originally lured by the silver screen.  By presenting tobacco in a glamourous fashion, the actual health risks are minimized, misleading young fans about the harmful short and long-term consequences.  Many Hollywood R-rated films change to youth ratings when they cross over into Canada.  As a way to protect Canadian young people, YATI's youth members want the government to eliminate smoking in youth rated films by changing the rating system to designate movies with smoking an "18+" rating.

"Good actors should be able to nail a character without using a cigarette as a distraction," says Mimosa Kabir, youth member of YATI.  "Actors, movie studios and our leaders need to take the findings of today's study for what they are: shocking.  As Canadians, we should be really concerned that more than two-thirds of all youth-rated movies had smoking in them over the past five years." 

Most people who smoke begin in their teens. The nicotine in tobacco speeds up the brain and central nervous system making it highly addictive.  In addition, there are more than 4,000 toxins present in each cigarette.  About 15 percent of Canadian youth, between 15 and 19, smoke dailyii

"We pay good money to see movies and shouldn't be manipulated by the tobacco industry's product placement," continues Kabir.  "The film industry and government need to better protect children and youth against glamourous celebrity smoking with the same vigilance as other R-rated content."

About The Lung Association

Established in 1900, The Canadian Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs, and advocacy on lung health issues.

About YATI

The Youth Advocacy Training Institute (YATI) is a program of the Ontario Lung Association. YATI supports youth and youth-serving organizations in Ontario by providing exciting and interactive learning experiences for youth and adults alike on a variety of topics that help adults and youth work together to improve the health of their communities through advocacy, education, and positive youth development.

The Tobacco Vector report can be found at http://www.smoke-free.ca/

***Note: Youth members are available for interviews upon request

_________________________

i Tobacco Vector; Jonathon Polansky, OnBeyond LLC; 2010

ii Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS); Health Canada; 2008


SOURCE The Lung Association

For further information: For further information:

Karen Petcoff                                                                              John Atkinson
Media Relations                                                                       Manager of Health Promotion
Ontario Lung Association                                                          Ontario Lung Association  
416-275-6844                                                                            647-388-9560

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