SIMCOE April 30th, 2018. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s Health Education and Advocacy Team (HEAT) is hosting a free public screening of Avengers: Infinity War on Saturday, May 5th 2018 at The Strand in Simcoe. The goal of the event is to raise awareness about the dangers of onscreen smoking.

Children copy what they see on and off-screen and HEAT is taking action to ensure that children aren’t lighting up after seeing their favourite actors use tobacco products onscreen.

Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in Ontario and smoking among youth remains an issue. “There are a number of reasons that a young person might start smoking,” said Nicole Stone, a health promotor with the Community Health Team at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. “While this might be surprising, research has consistently shown that one of those reasons is the amount of smoking youth see in movies.”

Movies influence kids and often fail to highlight the harsh consequences of tobacco use. The World Health Organization has called on governments worldwide to give an adult rating to movies that show tobacco use. The Ontario Film Review Board considers language, nudity and violence but does not consider smoking.

“Without a rating change, producers could still put smoking in any movie they want,” said Lauren Driver, a youth volunteer with HEAT. “All that we’re asking is that future films with smoking be rated 18A.”

In 2015, Disney announced that it is banning smoking in all of its PG 13-rated future productions, including Marvel, LucasFilm (which includes all Star Wars films) and Pixar films. This ban has not slowed business for Disney, which produced five of the top ten highest grossing films of 2017.

HEAT is inviting the public to come watch a free screening of Avengers: Infinity War. The doors will open at 9:00 AM and the movie will begin at 10:00 AM. Attendees will be invited to participate in educational games and have an opportunity to show their support for a rating change in Ontario.  The Strand is located at 55 Robinson St. in Simcoe.

Parents who would like to find out which new releases contain smoking, or would like to show support for youth-rated movies that are smoke-free can visit smokefreemovies.ca

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Media contact:
Kimberly Dias
Manager of Health Promotion
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3152 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623
Kimberly.dias@hnhu.org