Group urges smoking ban in TV, film

The Chinese Association on Tobacco Control (CATC) Wednesday called for tobacco-free TV and film screens in China, in an attempt to take the glamour out of smoking, especially for impressionable young people.

Currently, due to a lack of legislation and low awareness, many scenes in TV series and films – including those produced in China and those imported – contain smoking scenes, which has a negative impact on viewers, particularly on minors who are not mature and tend to follow and mirror others, said Xu Guihua, deputy director of CATC, a Beijing-based non-governmental organization.

The conclusion is based on studies jointly commissioned by CATC and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Xu told China Daily.

Of 144 box-office hit movies from 2004 to 2009, 66 of which were imported, about 69 percent contain tobacco-related scenes such as people smoking a cheap cigarette or cigar, with ash tray or lighters in the background, the study found.

Among all of the movies “contaminated” with tobacco-related contents, the 2008 blockbuster Mei Lanfang, directed by leading Chinese director Chen Kaige, ranked at the top with 14.3 minutes of smoking, nearly 11.8 percent of the entire movie time, said Yang Jie, deputy director of the tobacco control office under CDC.

Red River, another Chinese film, which premiered in April, has the longest smoking scene this year: 7.6 minutes, according to the study.

More than 76 percent of the Chinese films contain smoking scenes, compared with one-third of imported films, Yang noted.


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