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Taiwan to include tobacco in film rating scheme

Three  Caballeros

First published: February 22, 2010

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

Taiwan is planning to change its movie rating system to take account of characters who smoke, the government said Saturday, as part of a bid to reduce the number of youngsters taking up the habit.

The Department of Health wants to make tobacco use one of the criteria for deciding what age rating to give a film, a move that could mean some animated movies are out of bounds for children.

“Smoking (in movies) has a much worse impact on health than sex and violence,” the department said in a statement posted on its website.

It cited a popular Japanese cartoon series, One Piece, where the main characters smoke frequently, providing “a bad example for children”.

Taiwan has looked to tighten anti-smoking rules in recent years. The island banned smoking in all indoor public places in early 2009.

It has also outlawed all cigarette advertisement and imposed a “health tax” on cigarettes, a move the health department credits with helping to cut smoking by 10 percent.

Lung cancer has long been a leading cause of death in Taiwan, which has about five million smokers out of a total population of 23 million, according to government figures.

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