The Middlesex-London Health Unit joined the World Health Organization’s call to action for stricter ratings on movies featuring smoking. They want to see these movies with either an 18A or R rating. Linda Stobo, the program manager for chronic disease control, says this will help reduce youth’s exposure to tobacco.
“It would help to reinforce a lot of the messages that we experience everyday and that children and youth experience every day,” she explains, “That tobacco is an addiction, most people don’t use tobacco and the majority of people who use tobacco want to quit.”
She says that tobacco advertisements have become more strict, and warn that there are consequences from smoking tobacco. Movies, on the other hand, tend to show a more glamorous side. “You don’t see them struggling with addiction. You don’t see them in hospital because of the health care implications of them using tobacco.”
The WHO and Ontario Tobacco Research Unit says around 185,000 children and youth will want to light a cigarette because they saw smoking in movies.
She says the difference between U.S. and Canada movie ratings impacts tobacco exposure. “Movies in the United States tend to be rated more strictly. As a result in Canada, we are actually exposed to more numbers of impressions of tobacco use because of how our rating system works.”
The Middlesex-London Health Unit has more information about the effects of smoking in movies on their website.