On Friday, June 17, the Reality Check program of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Oswego Counties is hosting a FREE smoke-free movie event showing “Angry Birds” at the Palace Theatre in Syracuse, NY. This event is in conjunction with Reality Check’s smoke-free media initiative to de-normalize and de-glamorize tobacco use and imagery on screen. Reality Check is using their collective voice to illuminate the entertainment industry’s best-kept secret: smoking on screen kills in real life. This event will be held Friday, June 17th at 6:00 pm at the Palace Theatre, located at 2384 James Street, Syracuse, NY 13206.
Doors will open at 5:00 pm and the first 100 people in attendance will receive a free popcorn and drink combo. Reality Check youth will be collecting signatures of support before and after the movie urging the Motion Picture Association to rate youth movies that show tobacco and e-cigarette imagery “R.” There will also be educational resources, tobacco jeopardy, and prizes including a raffle from Tobacco-Free CNY and Reality Check programs.
Tobacco on screen is the single biggest media risk to children and teens. Hollywood has known of the danger for decades. Unfortunately, movie studios and TV producers have never updated their rating systems to mention smoking or tobacco. Right now, there is no practical way for parents to know in advance if a movie or TV program includes tobacco content. The film industry has refused to modernize its R-rating based on the conclusive scientific evidence that exposure to on-screen smoking causes kids to smoke.
The Motion Picture Association (MPA), the studios’ organization that assigns ratings, provides a “smoking label” along with the regular rating for some movies that contain smoking. However, almost 9 of every 10 (87%) youth-rated, top-grossing movies with smoking do not carry an MPA “smoking label”. Research has proven that an R rating for movie smoking could substantially reduce adolescent smoking by eliminating smoking from PG-13 movies.
Reality Check is part of Tobacco-Free CNY and works to engage local stakeholders, educate community leaders and the public, and mobilize community members and organizations to strengthen tobacco and e-cigarette policies that prevent and reduce tobacco and e-cigarette use. Efforts also focus on reducing youth exposure to harmful tobacco and e-cigarette marketing in retail settings, limiting exposure to secondhand smoke, and reducing smoking imagery in the media. For more information about Reality Check and Tobacco-Free CNY programs, contact 315-435-3280.