Get the Smoke Out of Kids Movies

“Really?! In this day and age?!” That was my friend’s reaction when I told her about the issue of smoking in kids movies. She was especially shocked by the revelation that 90% of smoking imagery seen by BC audiences is in movies with youth ratings. In fact, most of the Moms (and a Dad) that I’ve spoken to about this issue are shocked and appalled.

When I explain that studies show that the more smoking youth see in movies that the higher the likelihood that they will start – the reaction ranges between “well that seems pretty obvious” to “well, duh”. But I think most people are like my friends – they can’t believe that this is happening today (sounds more like something from the golden age of film when tobacco companies collaborated with the studios and paid big stars to smoke their brand).

There is a huge opportunity to reverse this and prevent youth from smoking. It’s much cheaper than cessation programs or NRT or the health consequences that are inevitable if that young person gets hooked. We have a ratings system that already limits the content of what can be shown to youth audiences – like explicit sex or extreme violence. With tobacco we have a strong body of evidence that shows it does harm to young people. So let’s use the policy levers that are there, that are affordable to the public and let’s add tobacco as a criteria for an adult ‘R’ rating.

If you want to Get the Smoke Out of Kids Movies there are some action you can take:

  • As a parent, you can talk with your children about the movies they’re watching. Support them to be media savvy. Encourage them to be aware of product placement and lifestyle marketing in movies. Parents can also inform themselves about the content in movies before their kids see them. There are websites such screenit.com that provide detailed information for parents.
  • As a concerned citizen, you can contact your MLA and let them know that you want movies for youth to be smoke free and support the solutions below.

And of course – spread the word

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