The Oscars kept viewers guessing all the way to the end this year — and even after it — with “Moonlight” coming in as a surprise best picture winner after the award was mistakenly given to “La La Land” first.
Sure, mistakes happen. One stupid mistake didn’t ruin the whole show. (or does it?)
To our team here at Tobacco-Free Western New York (TFWNY), there is one stupid mistake of Oscar, Hollywood and the entire movie industry. It headlines every opening night, every awards show, every screen in communities throughout our nation.
That mistake: Featuring smoking in child-rated films.
During the days leading up to the Academy Awards, our youth advocates urged Hollywood to stop promoting tobacco use in the movies that our kids see most.
According to the University of California San Francisco, more than 70 percent of the twenty-one films nominated in major Oscar categories this year feature smoking, including seven out of ten PG-13 films and eight out of eleven R-rated movies.
In 2012, based on the accumulated research evidence, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that smoking on screen causes young people to smoke. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced 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 children alive today.
The lives of our children remain at risk as long as the U.S. film industry fails to keep smoking out of the movies that young people see most. As a movie consumer, you have an opportunity to positively impact how movies are rated and to ensure movies that depict tobacco receive an R-rating.
Please join our team. Tell Hollywood it’s time to #RateSmokingR.