~ Lead By Example ~ I have always remembered these 3 words. I lived by them when I was growing up and I continue to do so as I get older and raise my own children. Change isn’t easy and it’s something that is incredibly hard for some people but this is one change that I hope I can be a part of as it is important to the lives of many. I was a smoker from a relatively young age. I remember trying my first cigarette at only 12 years old and I started smoking daily by 15. I saw my parents doing it, actually I saw a lot of people doing it when I was younger. Almost my entire family was a family of smokers so for me, it seemed like it was something everyone did.
I spent the next 10 years trying to quit but never really doing it until I decided I wanted to have a baby. That was it. That was enough for me to quit and finally quit for good. I know it was the right thing to do for myself and my kids and it has been 14 years. I know that I started smoking because of those around me who did. I know how easy it is to fall into a bad habit and think it’s okay because everyone else is doing it.
Today our children are constantly inundated with so many things on social media, on billboards and even in movies. When we show our kids things on these platforms, they think it’s okay. When they see their favourite actor or actress lighting up a cigarette, making it look glamourous and cool, it gives the impression that it’s okay and that they should be doing it too. Kids are impressionable and even more so when the people they idolize or look up to the most are making something look like such a great thing to do. Did you know that 86% of movies with smoking in them were rated for kids and teens in Ontario?
The stats are scary to me as a mom of 5 kids. 185,000 children and teens (aged 0-17) in Ontario will start smoking because of their exposure to on-screen smoking, that’s 37% of Ontario youth smokers being recruited to become smokers because of movies they watched that had smoking in them. If movies influence children to smoke, then why don’t we have those movies that portray smoking in them rated higher so our kids can’t just go and see them?
I am helping to support a rating change in Ontario to protect not just my children but all children and I hope that all of you will too. For more information and to find out more visit the Smoke-Free Movies website and to take action, sign 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, however. All opinions in the post are my own.