Approximately 100 teens from as far away as Utica gathered at Roswell Park Cancer Institute this morning for a trip to Toronto.
The group, made up of members of Reality Check and Tobacco-Free Erie-Niagara, will be joining forces with members of the Youth Advocacy Training Institute in Ontario to send a message about cigarette smoking in movies. The demonstrators will be spreading the message that youths should not be exposed to smoking in movies. This message rings especially true for 17-year-old Michael McDonald.
"Generally, when you see a movie and there's smoking, you figure it's either a product placement or they're just trying to make some kind of cool character. And when you see that it's a product placement, the tobacco companies are doing it because they know that it's so influential. And when a kid is so young and they see it in pop culture so much it starts to normalize and they don't think there's anything wrong with it."
McDonald lost a grandmother to cancer that was caused by tobacco use. The demonstrators' objectives are to limit the exposure of teens to smoking by having an "R" rating attached to any movie that displays the practice.
Demonstrations will be held today outside some of Toronto's most popular theaters.