Young TIFF protesters urge directors to 'cut smoking off the screen'
Josh Dehaas, CTV Toronto
Published Saturday, September 6, 2014 5:54PM EDT
Dozens of young people gathered outside a Toronto International Film Fest venue on Saturday, using a flash mob and fake coughs to draw attention to the issue of smoking in movies.
As moviegoers lined up outside Roy Thomson Hall to see St. Vincent, the group used megaphones and chanted: “Now I know because I’ve seen, cut that smoking off the screen.”
St. Vincent -- starring Bill Murray as a retiree who strikes up an unlikely friendship with his young neighbour -- is a film that contains smoking and was given a “youth” rating in the United States. It is one of the most-anticipated films of this year’s TIFF.
It is not yet rated in Ontario, but the protesters were pushing for an 18A rating.
Shadi Mousavi Nia, a youth advocate with the Canadian Cancer Society, said she was there to demand that movies containing smoking be rated for adults only, ‘18A’ in Ontario, if they include smoking.
She says fewer young people will pick up the dangerous habit if they’re exposed to less of it in films.
An Ipsos Reid poll in 2011, conducted for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies, found that that 73 per cent of those polled would support disallowing movies with smoking from getting the youth-friendly ratings ‘G,’ ‘PG’ or ‘14A.’
The Canadian Cancer Society reports that 86 per cent of top-grossing movies in 2013 that contained tobacco use were youth-rated in Ontario.