The following is a republished press release from a community organization or member and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com.

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“One little letter can save a million lives!” That’s the call from advocates around the world and here in Ithaca and Cortland for Hollywood to slap an “R” rating on all movies that show smoking.

To get the message out to local teens and parents, the youth-based anti-tobacco group Reality Check is sponsoring a free showing of the hit movie, Jurassic World, on Saturday morning, February 20, at Cinemapolis, 120 East Green Street in downtown Ithaca. 

Doors open at 10:30 a.m. with free popcorn and a drink to the first 100 in. The movie starts at 11:15. All are welcome.

Smoking in PG-13 movies is common, showing up in nearly half of the PG-13 movies released in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In a 2012 report, the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that smoking in movies is a cause of youth smoking, and that getting smoking and tobacco use out of youth rated films would prevent a million future tobacco deaths among American youth.

Every year during the big movie awards week, Reality Check, New York’s youth action movement working to counter tobacco industry marketing tactics, joins in an “International Week of Action” to build consumer demand for an adult “R” rating for movies where actors and characters smoke.

Jurassic World, a PG-13-rated movie released in 2015, is smoke-free and tobacco-free.

“Hollywood knows that an R rating for youth targeted films will reduce audience numbers and therefore hurt income,” said Kat Rhinehart, faculty advisor for the Cortland High School Relay for Life team.

“There is no reason for the movie industry to still have actors and characters smoking in youth rated movies. Smoking should not be presented to youth as a social norm. Youth rated movies should show tobacco-free living as the norm, the way we want to live today.”

The Cortland High Relay for Life students have been engaged in Reality Check activities for over a year, and are coordinating this smoke-free movie event at Cinemapolis.

Reality Check youth will have smoke-free movie information and activities to build awareness and send a message to the major movie studios at the Jurassic World showing.

“The big studios and the Motion Picture Association of America need to hear from parents,” said Ted Schiele, coordinator for Tobacco Free Tompkins.

“We want people to come before the movie starts to learn about smoking in youth rated movies, and lend their voice to the ‘#RateSmokingR’ movement,” he said.

Reality Check of Cortland-Tompkins-Chenango is part of the Advancing Tobacco Free Communities program at the Cortland County Health Department. Reality Check of NY is a statewide, youth-led movement committed to exposing the manipulative and deceptive marketing practices of the tobacco industry.

Learn more about Reality Check at www.RealityCheckofNY.com. Learn more about Advancing Tobacco Free Communities at www.TfreeZone.net. Tobacco Free Tompkins is a program of the Tompkins County Health Department.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.