1 Take the R-rating seriously | When setting parental controls on home media devices or discussing films with older kids, remember that while only one in three top-grossing films is R-rated, substantially more of these movies feature tobacco imagery. On average, R-rated films show twice as much smoking as PG-13 movies do.
2 Meet with theater managers | Your local movie theaters have little choice about the movies they show, but they can be part of the solution. The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is a formal partner in the US film ratings, so meet with local theater managers and follow up with the chains that own these screens. Share CDC and Smokefree Movie fact sheets. Show them how many kids are at risk in your state.
3 Brief local media | People get their news lots of different ways these days, but editorials in newspapers and stories on local TV news still influence decision-makers. Work up a short briefing on the history and science of smoking on screen. Attract media attention with demonstrations and educational events. Keep reporters working the health, entertainment and business beats posted on significant developments.
4 Pass civic resolutions | From New York to California and many points in between, town and city councils have endorsed Smokefree Movie resolutions and forwarded copies to media companies. Do you and your friends want a healthy environment for kids? On-screen smoking is the single biggest media risk they face. For suggested language, go here.
5 Raise kids wise to media influence | An invited group of kids and parents can stomp, whistle or blow party horns when they spot tobacco during a special showing of a youth-rated movie. Youth leaders and teachers can help kids be more media-savvy by asking why movies show smoking.
6 Inform local film festivals | Large film festivals are actually marketplaces where indie filmmakers audition their work for the major studios. A Smokefree Movies ad in the festival program or leafleting can make on-screen smoking part of the pre-screening conversation.
Network, blog and submit op-eds | Whatever you do in your school or community, remember you’re not alone. You’ve joined a larger movement with a global strategy. We’re successful because we learn from each other. Questions? Ideas? Contact us.
Go right to the top...
Go to the media companies that make most films and TV shows. Tell their CEO that you want smoking rated R and TV-MA.
Tip | Nothing impresses like a sincere, hand-signed letter dropped in a mail box. The time it takes shows the companies how much you care.
| Contact the media executives who decide if films and TV shows will push smoking. [Updated August 10, 2020]