Making of ‘The World Back Home’ film

Our new film, ‘The World Back Home’ shows how tobacco marketing could tempt children into a lifelong addiction of smoking. Find out how we made the video. 

Children did not smoke in this film

We used fake, plastic cigarettes during the shoot to make it look like the children in the film are smoking. These fake cigarettes are completely harmless and smoke and glow to the tip was then added by post-filming special effects edited in to create the effect that you can see in the final film.

Filming was undertaken as a standard video shoot, with each child attending for the required shoot time along with a chaperone (either a parent or guardian)

We worked with a specialist agency to produce this film, who sourced professional child actors and young models through a casting agent, to be the stars of the film. All their parents were consulted for their children featuring in the film. 

The age of the youngsters was chosen because they’re on the cusp of the age when children start to try smoking, and are still influenced by packaging and branding.

If the video shocks people, we hope it encourages them to take action. We think that the longer the Government waits before acting on standard packaging, the more children will be tempted to try smoking and the more long-term smokers we'll have in years to come.  We have not portrayed smoking in this video in a glamourous way. However, it was necessary for the creative of this film to show the reality of what looks like young, underage people smoking. That is the crux of the problem we are working to tackle with our campaign.

To make sure that everyone involved was safe and understood the dangers of smoking, we:

  • gave their parents a dedicated contact at Cancer Research UK to answer any questions or concerns about the day and post-filming
  • had a parent or guardian accompany the children at the shoot
  • explained the dangers of smoking to the actors using a discussion guide created by tobacco researchers who have worked with children in the study on standardised packaging
  • gave them an educational fact sheets on smoking issues to take home and talk through with their parents post-filming.

Making the film

The film was shot at several locations in North London. We were able to keep the production costs of the film low as the agency we used worked at a significantly reduced rate. 

For the film’s message, a mix of countries where we have solid evidence to support the issues raised were selected. They are all real-life examples of the lengths that tobacco industries will go to, to make its products appealing to children, within the limits of the local laws in these countries. The children were cast to illustrate these countries but are all British nationals.

The worldwide tobacco industry markets products globally and these were just a few examples that illustrate the problems. They are not intended to pick out specific countries for blame. 

The film has been created for the web and not for TV adverts so it will just be shown online. We’ll be encouraging people who watch it to campaign for standard packs online and to then spread the message by sharing it with their friends and family.  

Further information

For more information about tobacco industry tactics over the decades and to the present day, particularly on influencing public health policy, visit the Tobacco Tactics website.

If have you any questions about the film or would like to know more about the examples we used and our research behind this, please email us at campaigning@cancer.org.uk.

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