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Dear Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) President
We are a group of Reality Check youth from Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School in Otsego County in upstate New York. Reality Check is the youth advocacy program of Advancing Tobacco Free Communities. We know that in 2012, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that smoking imagery in movies causes youth to smoke. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that exposure to on-screen smoking will recruit 6.4 million youth to become smokers.
50% of the kid-rated movies nominated for the 2018 Academy Awards program showed smoking. Assigning an R rating to all movies with smoking could reduce the number of teen smokers by nearly 1 in 5. A majority of U.S. adults (70%) favor giving an R-rating to all movies that contain smoking and any tobacco use.
We recently hosted a free family movie night featuring a youth-rated, no-smoking movie to advocate reducing smoking in youth-rated movies. 90 youth and adults attended the movie event and signed pledge cards urging you to give an “R” rating to ALL movies that contain tobacco use. We believe that ALL movies with smoking should be rated “R” to protect youth like us from the dangers and addiction of tobacco products.
Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in New York State and the United States. The average age of a new smoker is 13.
Thank you for your consideration.
(This letter accompanied pledge cards signed by community members supporting the assignment of an “R” rating to all movies containing tobacco use.)