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New Alberta research sparks student action to rid smoking imagery from youth-rated movies
Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:00

News Release – Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Edmonton -  Researchers, high school students, and health organizations are calling for “R” ratings on any new films for release in Alberta that depict smoking or tobacco imagery. The call has been prompted by the release of compelling new evidence revealing that over one-third of youth smoking in Alberta results from youth exposure to smoking imagery in film.

“Our research has revealed that over one-third of youth smoking in Alberta can be attributed to the portrayal of smoking imagery on youth-rated films” said lead researcher Kelly West—a masters student at the University of Alberta School of Public Health.  “These results call for new policy measures to protect Alberta youth from exposure to tobacco imagery in film.”

West’s study, titled “The Impact of Exposure to Onscreen Smoking on Youth in Alberta”, estimates that 7,252 Alberta youth have started smoking solely as the result to their exposure to smoking imagery in films rated G, PG and PG-14.  West recently presented her paper at a public health conference at the University of Alberta.  The study revealed that between 2004 and 2013, there were 2.5 billion smoking impressions in youth-rated films in Alberta.

“Alberta youth are getting hooked by Hollywood and we are taking action on this issue starting right now” said Brookylnn Trimble from Lacombe Composite High School.  “Today we are launching a new campaign called Tobacco Rated R and we are going to rally high school students across Alberta to get engaged on this issue and to work toward an R rating on any new film that portrays smoking imagery.  We cannot allow Alberta youth to be targeted by tobacco and smoking promotions on film”.  Brooklyn was joined by students from St. Albert Catholic High School and from M.E. Lezerte High School who are also involved with Tobacco Rated R.

The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta is urging the Alberta Film Classification unit to rate all youth-rated movies that contain smoking imagery as Restricted Adult or “R”.   The unit reports to the Minister of Culture and Tourism.   The coalition has submitted a brief to the Minister and is now awaiting an official response.

“We are calling for an R rating on any new film that depicts tobacco or smoking imagery in Alberta” said Angeline Webb on behalf of the coalition.  “In the months ahead we will be meeting with various policy makers to advance this issue.  We are not expecting immediate results and we are in this campaign for the long haul. It may take a couple of years to secure an adult rating on these films and we will persist until we are successful.”

The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta is a coalition of prominent health organizations who are working to reduce and prevent tobacco use in Alberta.

Learn more about the Tobacco Rated R campaign by visiting or by entering TobaccoRatedR on Facebook or Twitter.


Kelly West at 780-686-2725

Erin Cripps-Woods at 587-783-8931

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