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Friday, September 08, 2017

Curl Up for Tonight's Smoke-Free Movie

Bring your family, friends and lawn chairs to Victoria Park tonight and get ready for some family fun, as the Middlesex-London Health Unit brings a free showing of The Lego Batman Movie to downtown London. For the sixth year, the Health Unit is partnering with its One Life One You youth advocacy group, the Canadian Cancer Society and The City of London to bring a family-friendly movie to the park while highlighting the important issue of smoking in movies that are aimed at children or youth audiences. 

The current Environment Canada forecast calls for clearing skies and cool temperatures tonight, so those coming to the park are encouraged to bring warm clothes, blankets and snacks to enjoy the evening to the fullest. A variety of interactive activities and informative displays about the impact of smoking in movies get underway at 5:00 p.m. and the showing of The Lego Batman Movie gets underway at dusk. 

“People don’t realize that smoking shown in movies rated for children and youth happens more frequently than it does in real life; and it’s rare that movies show the devastating health impacts that result from tobacco addiction. That’s a big concern for us, because when kids see on-screen tobacco use, it increases the risk they’ll start to smoke,” says Linda Stobo, Manager of the Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control Team. “That’s why we’re urging parents and caregivers to add their voices to our campaign. They can show their support by signing a petition calling for changes to Ontario’s movie rating system. They can also send an e-mail directly to their local MPPs by visiting, and they can talk to their kids about tobacco product placement and marketing.”  

A study conducted by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU) that looked at onscreen tobacco use in top-grossing films released between 2004 and 2016 found that 86% of the movies depicting tobacco use were youth-rated in Ontario. Not surprisingly, additional research in this area has shown that the more children and youth see smoking in movies, the more likely they are to start using tobacco themselves. For several years, the Health Unit and many other health organizations and agencies have been raising the alarm about this important issue. By implementing regulatory changes to the Ontario Film Classification Act, all new movies containing tobacco use would be given an adult rating of 18A, eradicating smoking, tobacco use and tobacco industry product branding from youth-rated films. 

To learn more about the Smoke-Free Movies and how parents and individuals can get involved in advocating for changes to Ontario’s film rating system, visit

Media Contact:

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


Linda Stobo, Manager of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control
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