Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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Feb. 24, 2006

Oswego County Teens Plan Anti-Tobacco Event Feb. 28 at Great Northern Mall

Members of Oswego County Reality Check will support Smokefree Movies Day of International Action, Tuesday, Feb. 28, by calling public attention to Hollywood's glamorization of tobacco in movies.

"Oswego County youth are having an event at Great Northern Mall from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday with radio station 105 The Dog. We'll be giving away lots of information and fun stuff in support of smokefree movies," said Patsy George, Central Square, a member of Oswego County Reality Check.

Reality Check is a youth-driven action project sponsored by the New York State Department of Health and coordinated in Oswego County by the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

George said that "scientific data repeatedly has shown that more than one-third of adolescents between 10 and 14 years old - who start smoking - do so as a direct result of exposure to smoking in the movies. We are asking the Motion Picture Association of America to step up to the plate and stop pushing disease and addiction on youth."

According to Reality Check, three out of four movies that are rated G, PG, and PG-13 expose American youth to smoking. Youth and public health groups across the U.S. and in 20 other nations will join forces Tuesday to demand that movies that depict tobacco use receive an "R" rating.

An article by Stanton Glantz, Ph. D., in the December edition of Pediatrics magazine examined 42 studies on smoking in movies. "The influence of tobacco-related movie images on youth smoking is a major stimulus for adolescent smoking," he said. "There is a 'dose-response' -- the more smoking Hollywood shows kids on screen, the more likely they are to start smoking. That's why we are calling on the media corporations who own and control Hollywood to stop promoting smoking in movies that are marketed to kids."

Katie Ives, coordinator of the Oswego County Reality Check program, said there is consistent evidence that smoking in movies promotes youth smoking. She cited these statistics regarding live-action movies released in U.S. theaters last year:

  • 64 percent of PG-13 movies included tobacco imagery.
  • 43 percent of G/PG movies included tobacco, the highest percentage in six years.
  • 58 percent of films with tobacco imagery were rated G, PG, or PG-13, the fourth year in which a majority of movies with tobacco were youth-rated.
  • Overall, 69 percent of 2005 films showed tobacco, up from 65 percent in 2004.

Oswego County teens that want to become involved in Reality Check activities are encouraged to stop by the event Tuesday afternoon at Great Northern Mall, or call Ives at the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, weekdays, at 349-3451 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3451.

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