August 23, 2017

Way Back When

To my baby girl,

It was the mid-80s, at 6:58 in the morning on a late spring day. Your gramma and poppa had just welcomed their first child, a baby girl.

Fast forward 30 years. It was 2016, at 12:01 in the morning on a late winter day. That baby girl had just welcomed her first child, you!

Looking back on the three decades that separated those two blissful mornings that marked our entrances into the world, times have changed. Some for the better, and, sadly, some for the worse.

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Way back when, we didn't have cell phones glued to our hips. Instead, poppa's whistle could be heard the block over and was enough to send me running home.

Way back when, we didn’t get a medal for participating. Instead, a “better luck next time” was enough to heal a bruised ego and keep us motivated.

Way back when, the words gluten-free, vegan or free-range weren’t part of normal vocabulary. Instead, we ate every. single. thing. on our plates, whether we liked it or not.

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On the other hand, I envy the world you will grow up in. 

Way back when, the answers we needed were not just a button click away. Instead, we had to head down to the library and use an encyclopedia.

Way back when, climate change and how to protect the planet were not hot topics like they are today. Instead, greenhouse gases were expelled with no regard for consequences down the road. 

Way back when, the consequences of certain habits and how they would later effect our health were not yet well known. Instead, for some, those habits were the “cool” thing to do.  

This includes smoking.  

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Gone are the days of going over to grandma's house and her lighting up a cigarette, just mere feet away. As a mom to a toddler in today's world, that behaviour would never fly. 

Despite the effects of smoking being well known today, why is it that movies rated for children still contain smoking?

In Ontario alone, 86% of movies with smoking were rated for kids and teens*. And the more kids and teens that see smoking in these movies, the more likely they are to start themselves. It is estimated that 185,000 children and teens* (aged 0-17) in Ontario will start smoking at some point in their lives because of their exposure to onscreen smoking.

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If you are going to watch a movie, I want to be able to select that movie with confidence and not have to worry about whether or not it contains material that will influence you, an easily impressionable child and my future generation.

That is why I am helping support a rating change in Ontario to protect youth, by preventing tobacco from being shown in future movies rated for kids and teens.

The Smoke-Free Movies Campaign is an Ontario-wide initiative among Public Health Units, and is now in its second phase. When successful, the change will require all new movies that contain tobacco to be rated 18A.

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The world is a big scary place, my dear. And one day, you will have to make decisions for yourself. But until that time, I am responsible for you. Just like gramma was for me. And as your mom, I don't want the decisions you make when you’re older to be influenced by what you see today.

Take action TODAY by visiting Smoke-Free movies website and signing the petition to support a rating change in Ontario to make all new youth-rated movies smoke-free.

Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and The Smoke-Free Movies Campaign and have received compensation for this post. All opinions in the post are my own. 

*Statistics provided by Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU, 2017)

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