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Kick off March Break with a free screening of the smoke-free movie Zootopia

zootopiaSIMCOE March 8th, 2016 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 smoke.

Members of the Health Education and Advocacy Team (H.E.A.T), a volunteer youth group, will be hosting a free movie screening of Disney’s Zootopia at the Simcoe Strand Theatre on March 12th. The event is intended to raise awareness about the impact of tobacco use in movies rated G, PG and 14A.

Doors open at 10:00 am and close at 10:30 as there are a limited amount of seats available. There will be Zootopia-themed games and activities to raise awareness about the dangers of on-screen smoking.

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 smoke-free.

“Movies help the tobacco industry recruit new customers by subliminally advertising their products to children and teens,” explained Jasmine Muszik, a youth volunteer with HEAT. “We believe rating all movies containing tobacco18A would put an end to the negative influences of glamourized tobacco use in movies”. The World Health Organization recently released the third edition of “Smoke-free movies: from evidence to action” and called on governments worldwide to rate movies that portray tobacco use in a bid to prevent children and adolescents from starting to smoke cigarettes and use other forms of tobacco.

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 the U.S. 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 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.

“We want to educate audiences about the dangers of on-screen smoking in a fun and memorable way,” said Muszik.

Parents who would like to find out which new releases contain smoking, or would like to show support for smoke-free youth-rated movies can visit Twitter users are also encouraged to join the discussion using the hashtag #ratesmoking18.

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Media contact:

Nicole Stone

Health Promoter, Community Health Team

Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3201 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623

[email protected]




Lina Hassen

Health Promoter, Community Health Team

Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit

(905)318-6623 Ext. 3315

[email protected]