BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – As stars walk down the blue carpet for the MTV Movie Awards on April 9, youth advocates from the Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara Reality Check program will demonstrate against smoking in movies outside the MTV Studios in Toronto. They will join approximately 100 fellow Reality Check members from across New York State.
Their demonstration, designed to push the film industry to rate movies that show smoking R, will focus on three youth-rated films that are up for MTV Movie Awards in 2016: Creed, The Big Short and Ant-Man. Advocates will carry movie posters with statistics, as well as cardboard heads of smoking movie stars from the three films, to spread the word that exposure to smoking on screen is unhealthy. Throughout the demonstration, members of the group will roam the streets near MTV Studios, trying to educate the crowd and get them to sign their names on postcards intended for the movie industry.
Nicole Forsyth, A senior at Alden High School said, “There’s so much smoking still around. And it’s just not good for you. If there is smoking in movies, we want them to be rated “R” so that fewer young people are seeing them.”
Austin Ring, a Sophomore at Olean High School said, “It doesn’t seem fair that children should have to pay for people advertising everywhere. And they’re being taught to accept it.”
Lindsay Amico, the Youth Coordinator for Reality Check, said, “The main part, is making sure the kids are leaders and making sure the kids know they’re the ones driving it”
According to a 2014 report from the Surgeon General, giving an R rating to future movies with smoking would be expected to reduce the number of teen smokers by nearly 1 in 5 (18%) and prevent 1 million deaths from smoking among teens and children alive today.
The MTV Movie Awards will air on Sunday, April 10 at 8 p.m.
Reality Check is a teen-led, adult-run program which seeks to prevent and decrease tobacco use among young people throughout New York State.