As stars walked down the blue carpet for the MTV Movie Awards on April 9, youth advocates from Reality Check groups across New York State demonstrated against smoking in movies outside the MTV Studios in Toronto. They joined 200 youth from the Youth Advocacy Training Institute (YATI) in Ontario, Canada, a program of the Ontario Lung Association.
They learned “What’s the Deal?” with smoking in movies, and designed street savvy advocacy actions to make their message stick.
They chanted, they tweeted, they inspired.
They stood out, were heard, and made a difference.
Here are 4 points they shared with citizens, tourists and fellow teens on their journey.
- R-rating movies with smoking would lead to an 18% reduction in youth smoking.
- R-rating movies with smoking would avert 1 million smoking deaths among today’s children and teens.
- Movies with smoking will cause 2 million smoking deaths among today’s children and teens. R-rating movies with smoking would cut those deaths in half, by 1 million.
- Movies with smoking will cause 6.4 million of today’s children and teens to become smokers. By extension, R-rating movies with smoking would keep 3.1 million kids from smoking.
In addition to taking action in T-O, our Reality Check youth activists lead the fight in their communities every day — encouraging their peers to stay tobacco free, standing against the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and urging elected leaders to take action.
This cross-border crusade was a first for the Reality Check and YATI groups. It’s also the first time an awards show took place across multiple locations versus airing in a singular theater. Turns out, the first time was a charm for both.