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News & Events

Don’t let Big Tobacco fool you – join HEAT for a free screening of the tobacco-free movie Beauty and the Beast

SIMCOE March 28th, 2017. Children copy what they see on and off-screen, but a group of local youth from Haldimand and Norfolk are taking action to ensure that movies aren’t subliminally encouraging children to use tobacco products.

Members of the Health Education and Advocacy Team (HEAT), a volunteer youth group, will be hosting a free movie screening of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at the Strand Theatre in Simcoe on April 1st. The event is intended to raise awareness about the impact of tobacco use in movies rated G, PG and 14A.

Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and close at 10 a.m. as there are a limited number of seats available. There will be Beauty and the Beast-themed games and activities to raise awareness about the dangers of on-screen smoking.

“We want to educate audiences about the dangers of on-screen smoking in a fun and memorable way,” said Kristen Forsyth, a youth volunteer with HEAT.

Community, provincial and national health organizations have been working towards advocating for a rating change that would make all new movies rated for kids and teens be tobacco-free.

“Movies help the tobacco industry recruit new customers by subliminally advertising their products to children and youth,” said Uzair Cheema, a youth volunteer with HEAT. “We believe rating all movies containing tobacco 18A would put an end to the negative influences of glamourized tobacco use in movies.” The World Health Organization has called on governments worldwide to help prevent young people from smoking by giving an adult rating to movies that show tobacco use.

This issue is a concern in Canada as movies that are rated R in the United States are often rated PG or 14A in Canada. This means that kids in Canada are exposed to more onscreen tobacco imagery than kids in America. In fact, research reveals that 86 per cent of the movies in Ontario that contain tobacco imagery are rated for kids and teens.

These movies often fail to highlight the harsh consequences of tobacco use, such as addiction, disease, and death. Evidence also has shown a direct link between the amount of smoking young people see in movies and their likelihood of starting to use tobacco.

Parents who would like to find out which new releases contain smoking, or would like to show support for youth-rated movies that are smoke-free can visit www.hookedbyhollywood.ca.

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Media contact:
Julie Richardson
Health Promoter, Community Health Team
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 Ext. 3201
[email protected]