Local group Reality Check brought dozens of youth together in Corning to take a stand against smoking scenes in films, a leading contributor to teenage smokers.

Reality Check Coordinator Sarah Robbins said while anti-tobacco efforts have a long way to go, they continue to fight the silver screens recruiting teen smokers and some progress is in sight. 

“Kind of a scary thought,” said Robbins. “Because this gives the tobacco industry’s direct access you know to their daily lives.”

In the modern world, kids are spending more time than ever consuming media…And according to the CDC the more smoking young people see on screen, the more likely they are to pick up the addictive habit, themselves.

“It definitely normalizes it and even glamorizes it,” said Robbins.

The CDC said giving an R rating to future movies with smoking would be expected to reduce the number of teen smokers by nearly one in five because the age of exposure to seemingly harmless images, can be deadly.

“90% of people who use tobacco started before the age of 18,” said Robbins.

The 2012 Surgeon General’s Report said less access to smoking on screen will mean fewer young people smoking off screen. Robbins said changing the rating with films containing smoking scenes could be live saving.  

“Doing this will reduce the impact of tobacco use by 50% on youth and it’s estimated by the surgeon general that it will save 1 million lives.”

There are some signs after years of petitioning, that things are looking positive for anti-tobacco groups.

“Disney, in July 2015, stated that they will limit the amount of tobacco use in their future youth rated films so we are definitely gaining some traction and raising awareness about this initiative on an international scale.”

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