Smoke Free Movies BC Canada
"I got to smoke and drink in the movie and got paid for it " rejoices a most inappropriate Paul Giamatti in his acceptance speech for an award at the Golden Globes 2011. Even more inappropriate that his remarks were made during Canada's National No Smoking Week. Mr. Giamatti needs to be informed, as do the studios and actors who continue to support smoking in movies. Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada released a report August 2010, that after analyzing the results of four large US studies, researchers estimated that 44% of youth smoking can be attributed to on screen exposure. Applied to a Canadian context an estimated 130,000 Canadians age 15-19 became addicted to tobacco products due to exposure to on screen smoking, of whom 48,000 will eventually die of tobacco related diseases. The number of youth rated films with tobacco depictions shown in theatres is higher in Canada than the US because of the provincial film boards rating system. In 2009, 125 or the 145 movies with tobacco released in Canadian theatres were youth rated films with G PG or 14A, delivering more than 2/3rds of all in theatre tobacco impressions. From 2004 to 2009, an estimated $600 million in provincial and federal film production incentives have gone to US studio films shot in Canada, mostly in BC, Ontario and Quebec. An estimated $240 million of these public incentives funded US studios with smoking that were classified as appropriate for children and adolescent by Canadian provincial film authorities. Every dollar in taxpayer funding that the provinces and federal government gave to US studio films with smoking cost Canada $1.70 in tobacco related medical and productivity lose. Because provincial rating agencies seldom apply adult ratings (18A) to top grossing rated R in the United States, Canadian children are exposed to an estimated 60% more tobacco imagery than their US counterparts.
Policy Changes: 1. Rate new movies with smoking R, with the sole exception being when tobacco presentation clearly and unambiguously reflects the dangers and consequences of tobacco use or is necessary to represent smoking in a real historical figure. 2. Require producers to certify on screen that no one involved in the production of the movie received anything of value in consideration for using or displaying tobacco. 3. Require strong anti smoking ads to be shown before any movie with tobacco use at the distributor's expense, regardless of the rating and distribution channel. 4. Require producers to stop identifying tobacco brands. 5. Require that films with tobacco imagery assigned G PG or 14A rating ineligible for federal and provincial film subsidies.