Toronto - T-DOT (Tobacco Don’t Own Toronto) hosts Countdown to Meltdown, a youth awareness event aimed at preventing smoking in PG 13 movies and television shows before 9 p.m.

The Countdown to Meltdown carnival and talent showcase for youth ages 12 - 19 takes place at Mel Lastman Square on Wednesday, August 1, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., with a free BBQ, dance performances, games and prizes. Some of the artists include: Earl La Pierre Jr., Motion, Rhythmic Fire, Capoeira Malês, Andrian Mitchell, T-DOT crew and Toronto youth.

“We see smoking in movies and TV shows all the time,” says Jomo Mccormack, a T-DOT member. “We’re told not to smoke, but actors like Beyonce and Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls), Andy Garcia (Ocean 13), John Cusack (1408), Haylie Duff (Material Girls) and Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle) do it. They’re used as role models for us.”

Initially T-DOT is asking youth groups to complete a petition for DreamWorks. They hope to get 5,000 signatures to send to the studio this December. Other studios will get petitions next year as well. Youth can sign the petition by going to http://www.toronto.ca/health/smokefree/t_dot.htm or by calling Toronto Health Connection at 416-338-7600.

T-DOT will also be sending letters to television networks and shows that highlight smoking before 9 p.m. - the ideal time to target youth watching TV.

T-DOT is a group of dynamic youth from Toronto ages 14-19, part of a larger youth movement across Ontario that supports the Ministry of Health Promotion’s Stupid.ca campaign.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.