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Call for smoking to be removed from children’s movies

This is the request from a Canadian group called the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies. The group are fired up about this issue and plan to protest at the annual Toronto International Film Festival. The basis of their campaign is that children and young adults often look to movie stars as role models and will sometimes try to emulate certain styles, from clothes, to attitudes and, it seems, a desire to smoke cigarettes.

As the stars and directors, together with the festival going public, descend to the annual Toronto International Film Festival, a protest group, including young people, plan to march through downtown Toronto on Saturday, September 10. Their aim is to send a message simply phrased as “BUTT OUT in movies.”

Essentially this is a call for any depictions or references to smoking to no longer to be allowed in any movie rated for children and teens.

Stating the reasons, a spokesperson for the group, Rakhshan Kamran, who is also involved with the Canadian Cancer Society, said: “Smoking isn`t glamorous or sexy. We are tired of seeing Hollywood portraying this behavior as normal for youth. It’s time for the Province of Ontario to take this issue seriously.”

The group feel that most aspects of violence and nudity have been well controlled in movies with certificates that enable children and young people to attend. They see the causal use of tobacco products as the last step to ‘cleaning up’ movies that children and potentially watch.

The march and other activities during the festival have been organized by the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies together with the Canadian Cancer Society’s ‘Big Tobacco Lies’ youth group.

The main march is set to start at two p.m., kicking off at Toronto City Hall. As well as the march there will be leaflets providing educational information about the perceived dangers to young people of seeing smoking glamorized in movies.

The publicity will also focus on a petition, which will be handed over to major film studios. Earlier polling data suggests that eight out of ten Ontarians already support smoke free movies rated for children and teens.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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