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Everyone at some point in their lives will encounter an issue which they will feel strongly enough
about to stand up and say that something needs to be done to change it. Youth are consistently the #1 target for the tobacco industry and advocates from around the world have established a united front in the battle against Big Tobacco’s current role in Hollywood.
What is advocacy?
Advocacy is all about taking action by speaking out against an issue where you feel there needs to be change! Most youth advocate because they care deeply enough about an issue to stand up and say that something needs to be done about it. As a youth advocate you can use your voice to speak out against injustice or abuse of rights, influence decision makers or policy makers when they make laws and regulations and even change policies that cause harm or encourage inequality.
Why should I advocate?
You are the experts! No one knows better than you what it’s like to be a youth and the issues facing youth across the country. By choosing to advocate, you are allowing yourself to have a say in decisions that could deeply impact your life and the lives of many other youth. Don’t sit back and watch – Advocate! Speak out!
What can I advocate for?
Here are 4 Smoke-Free Movies issues that you can advocate for:
- Rate new films that include smoking “18A” in Ontario.
- Ensure producers certify no pay-offs by posting a certificate in the closing credits ensuring nothing of value was received in exchange for using or displaying tobacco products.
- Require studios and theatres to run strong anti-tobacco ads before any film with tobacco.
- Stop showing tobacco brands in any film.
- Require films with tobacco imagery assigned a youth rating to be ineligible for government film subsidies
DON’T WORRY! this is not going to limit the movies that you can see with your friends! If movies with smoking are rated 18A, then studios will have to choose between keeping tobacco in their films or risk losing their biggest audience, YOUth!
How can I advocate?
Here are some ideas to get you started…
1. Endorse effective action to reduce smoking in movies by sending an email to the Ontario Film Review Board
2. Write to the Ontario Minister of Consumer Services and the members of the OFRB and urge them to have the OFRB institute the following policies as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies:
· Rate new movies with tobacco depictions “18A” in Ontario.
· Require producers to certify on-screen that no one involved in the production received anything of value in consideration for using or displaying tobacco.
· Require strong anti-smoking ads before any movie with tobacco use in Ontario, regardless of its rating and distribution channel at the expense of the distributor.
· Require producers to stop identifying tobacco brands in films shown in Ontario.
· Require films with tobacco imagery assigned a youth rating to be ineligible for government film subsidies
3. Request municipalities with public library video collections to clearly label their videos to warn of the risks to children and adolescents from viewing tobacco imagery. The tobacco content of films from 2002 to the present is available at www.scenesmoking.org.
4. Write letters to Canadian theatre executives to educate them about the problem and the impact smoking in the movies is having on Canadian youth. Urge them to work with the Canadian tobacco control community to counter tobacco images in movies by placing proven-effective, strong anti-tobacco messages (at distributors’ and exhibitors’ expense)before films that depict smoking.
5. Write letters to federal and provincial ministries that administer film subsidies requesting that films with tobacco imagery assigned a G, PG, or 14A rating be ineligible for public subsidies.