This holiday season will bring many new movies to theaters, and teens and tweens on holiday recess from school will fill the seats. More than 30 new movies are expected to open between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.
You may think the film ratings are intended to protect your children from content and images that are not age-appropriate, but those ratings fail to protect your children from seeing their favorite celebrities smoking, even in G-rated movies. Portrayals of smoking in movies promote rebellion, independence, sexiness, wealth, power and celebration. Rarely do movies depict the realities of smoking - characters suffering from smoke-related diseases and the effects of secondhand smoke.
A new study by the Legacy Foundation found youth-rated movies (G, PG, PG-13) featured more smoking than the year before. According to the same study, youth-rated movies accounted for 68 percent of all tobacco impressions delivered to theater audiences in 2011. All this on-screen smoking strongly influences our children to start.
The bottom line is action needs to be taken now. We must protect our children from influences that cause smoking. Contact the Motion Picture Association of America at ContactUs@mpaa.org and tell them movies with smoking require an R rating or contact your local Reality Check chapter at www.realitycheckofny.com
Program coordinator, Reality Check