In Ontario Canada, support grows for smokefree movies and adult film rating

In results released 1 April 2016, Canadian tobacco control groups found 79 percent of Ontario adults wanted to end smoking in movies rated 14A or lower (similar to US PG-13 and lower in the US). Seventy-seven percent opposed the display of tobacco brand logos in films. Two out of three adults backed an 18A rating for future films with tobacco.

Support for smokefree movie initiatives has grown since 2011, when the Paris-based public opinion pollster Ipsos last surveyed Ontario adults on the same questions (see chart).

Half of those polled agree that tobacco companies have paid for tobacco product placement in movies, compared to 11 percent who disagree. Twice as many agree than disagree that kids who see lots of smoking in movies are more likely to start smoking. Twice as many also agree that the tobacco industry has paid actors to smoke on screen.

Only one in four adults realize that most movies with smoking are rated for youth in Ontario. Young adults were twice as aware of Ontario’s tobacco rating pattern as those over 55. While a strong majority of all Ontarians polled supported policies to limit tobacco promotion on screen, women were somewhat more supportive than men. Parents were more likely than non-parents to be aware of movie smoking’s harm and its historical links to the tobacco industry.

We congratulate the Tobacco Control Area Networks, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society and Ontario Lung Association for their polling program, which is used to guide public education and advocacy across the province. Rising public demand for an effective solution in Canada can help drive decision-makers from Toronto to Los Angeles to adult-rate smoking in future films.

The Ipsos poll interviewed 970 Ontarians ages 18+ from December 2 to December 15, 2016. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 3.6%.

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Download: Ipsos Public Affairs: Smokefree movies final omnibus report (2016)  (alternative download)

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Jonathan Polansky, Onbeyond LLC, helped prepare this blog post.