When I was growing up, I didn’t know anything about big tobacco companies and I knew nothing about their strategies to get young people hooked on tobacco products. All I knew is that my parents smoked the red packs and that when we went out to restaurants and theatres we sat in the smoking sections. Yes, movies and restaurants had smoking sections! Can you believe it? It seems so strange today.
I’m very glad that there have been so many changes for the better: for one, my parents kicked the habit, which I know wasn’t very easy for them; secondly, I’m glad that people fought for changes that regulate how people buy cigarettes to where they can smoke. Today, smoking is forbidden in workplaces, restaurants, arenas and even on sports fields.
I am very thankful that my kids are not exposed to cigarettes and smoking today the way we were at their age, but to my dismay, kids are still being targeted! By showing smoking as glamourous or ‘cool,’ smoking in movies is one of the last ways in which tobacco companies can promote their products to kids in Ontario.
Did you know?
- Ontario kids are more likely to watch movies with smoking than kids in the U.S.
- In Ontario, 86% of movies with tobacco are youth rated versus only 56% in the U.S.
- Research shows a strong link between smoking in movies and teens starting to smoke. Over the past 7 years in Ontario, it is estimated that over 13 000 smokers aged 12-17 started because of watching smoking in movies.
As parents, you can make a difference.
Get the facts
Learn about smoking in movies and discover which movies contain smoking scenes by checking out Hooked By Hollywood.
- Talk about the smoking they see in movies and why it’s there.
- At home, consider setting limits on what movies your children watch.
- Let friends and family know what you are doing and why.
- Bring the issue to your local community by:
- working with parent councils and teachers to adopt a smoke free movie policy
- requesting that your local library label kids movies that contain smoking
- Ask your local politicians for their support.
- Join other parents taking action. Show your support for smoke-free movies for kids and teens.
I am very thankful to all those who have paved the way for important changes to tobacco legislation. I can now enjoy a meal out, a movie and a plane ride completely smoke-free. But there is still work to be done. Together, let’s stop the tobacco industry from targeting our youth.
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