Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

August 6th, 2009:

China urges to stop screen smoking

CATC wants to take glamour out of habit


HONG KONG — China is urging industryites to stop showing smoking onscreen to take the glamour out of the deadly habit in a country that is home to one in three of the world’s smokers.

Xu Guihua, deputy director of the Chinese Assn. on Tobacco Control, a Beijing-based nongovernmental organization, said a lack of legislation means smoking is still shown in TV series and films, both home-produced and imported.

Of 144 hit movies from 2004 to 2009, 66 of which were imported, about 69% contain tobacco-related scenes such as people smoking a cigarette or cigar, a study by the CATC and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found.

Chen Kaige’s biopic of opera star Mei Lanfang, “Forever Enthralled,” ranked highest with 14.3 minutes of smoking, nearly 12% of the movie.

As in the West, the research showed that young people ages 13 to 18 were much more likely to be influenced by onscreen smokers to take up the habit themselves.

Sometimes a smoking scene is inevitable because the real-life characters, such as Chairman Mao Zedong, were smokers.

However, the study found that the habit could be left out of 70% of movies because it has nothing to do with the plot.