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One Life Crew Calls for Changes to Ontario Film Ratings

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London, ON – Smoking in movies is a serious public health issue. The evidence is clear, the more youth see smoking in movies, the more likely they are to start smoking.

Today is World No Tobacco Day, and Middlesex-London Health Unit’s youth team, the One Life Crew, is marking the day by showing its support for the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies. The Coalition includes Public Health Units across the province, Non-Government Organizations and concerned youth, and is calling on the Ontario Film Review Board to ensure future movies rated for children and teens are tobacco-free.

The One Life Crew will be at White Oaks Mall today from 4:30-8:30pm to raise awareness about the issue of on-screen smoking. Middlesex-London residents who would like to show their support for changes to the way films are rated can visit, where they can sign an online letter to the Ontario Film Review Board and Ontario Government officials.

“We can help prevent a new generation of tobacco users by making sure all future movies rated for children and teens in Ontario don’t show tobacco use,” says Jessica Pacheco, Youth Leader with the One Life Crew. “Actors are role models for young people, so when they smoke or use tobacco on screen, it influences our attitudes and behaviours around smoking.”

Tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Ontario. Of the number of children and teens who start smoking, 44% were influenced by depictions of tobacco use shown on-screen.

Organizations that support a call for smoke-free movies include: the World Health Organization, the US Centres for Disease Control, the National Cancer Institute, the US Surgeon General, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, the Ontario Lung Association, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, the Non-Smokers Rights Association, Public Health Units, concerned youth and parents.

Media Contact:
Dan Flaherty, Communications Manager, Middlesex-London Health Unit, 519-663-5317 ext.2469 or 519-617-0570 (cell.)

Michelle Alvey, Health Promoter, Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control Team

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