News and Events

A Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Movement...
At The Movies

March 13, 2015

Regal Cinemas Hollywood 16 is a hopping Friday night location for many young people of Marion County, and the night of Friday, March 13th was no different.  Patrons who chose this night to view a feature film witnessed an additional sort of spectacle other than just their planned movie outing.

SWAT at the Movies

At 7:00pm a group of SWAT members and allies assembled near the theatre entrance; at 7:15pm they spread out among the movie ticket lines and groups of friends meeting up. Then at 7:20pm, they all began to cough. They continued coughing rather loudly and excessively for approximately one minute. Suddenly, a brief whistle blow followed by the words “I am not a replacement, I am leader” cut through the air and silenced all the movie goers’ chatter. Then Titus Bailey, a 5th grader from Wyomina Park Elementary School, stated “I am not a replacement, I am an A/B Honor Roll student”.  Another voice rang out, “I am not a replacement, I am a courageous child”, said Alexus Ford, an 8th grader from Liberty Middle School.  “I am not a replacement, I am a basketball player”, expressed Nathanial Howard, a senior from Vanguard High School.

I am Not a Replacement The movie guests gathered underneath the crowded theatre awning were taken by surprise but genuinely interested in the “not a replacement” messages delivered by the SWAT members, all of whose spoken statements were uninterrupted. After thanking the crowd for their unintentional participation, a cluster of young people applauded and voiced their support for the cause. We then regrouped for a brief discussion with a heightened energy. It was evident the SWAT members felt a sense of empowerment in what they had courageously accomplished that evening.

The Kick Butts Day flash mob on a movie night not only made a huge impact on the community, but it also aided in raising awareness related to movie tobacco product placement. Tobacco industry documents reveal that, “popular films among younger smokers” are specifically targeted for placement of tobacco products. The summary paragraph of this particular document states that product placement in a certain horror film, “does very well with the prospect,” with the prospect being young viewers.  Everyone going to the box office should be aware of such tobacco industry tactics---see the annual Phlegmmy Awards article also in this newsletter for current movie reviews regarding tobacco product placement and use in current releases.

The SWAT movement at the movies was an awesome success and learning experience for both the young people who participated and the guests who went to see a film that night. One can only hope that the movie guests felt a similar sense of empowerment to that of our SWAT members.

For more information on the issue of smoking in youth-oritented movies, visit SmokeScreeners and Smoke-Free Movies.