Association calls for strengthened supervision and regulation of smoking scenes in Chinese TV and film works
Published: May 30, 2021 11:39 PM
Smoking Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

A film produced in Hong Kong and a TV series from the Chinese mainland were given the "2020 Dirty Ashtray Award" for having too many smoking scenes by the Chinese Association on Cigarette Control on Friday, just days ahead of Monday's 34th World No Tobacco Day, as part of measures to strengthen supervision of smoking content in TV and film works in China.

The association also recommended that works with too many scenes involving smoking be barred by the National Radio and Television Administration from competing for awards at film or TV festivals and not be allowed to air during prime time.    

Since 2007, the association has been pushing for stricter regulation of smoking content in the entertainment industry in China. The association supervises smoking scenes in 30 major Chinese TV and film works every year.

The association also published a 2020 Chinese entertainment industry report on Friday, which shows that of the 30 most popular Chinese films in 2020, 18 films, or 60 percent, had smoking scenes. The total of 181 cigarettes were seen on screen.

According to the report, 18 out of 30 Chinese TV dramas also had cigarettes scenes. The total number of smoking shots was 769, with an average of 42.7 shots in each series.

The works with the most smoking scenes, film I'm Living It and TV drama The Bad Kids, were each given a "Dirty Ashtray Award" by the association. The TV drama ranked third on the chart of 2020's highest-rated Chinese dramas on Chinese media review site Douban.

The report also listed some good role models, production with no smoking scenes, such as Hong Kong produced film Shock Wave 2 and TV series Nothing But Thirty, which is also available on Netflix.

Looking at data from the supervision report published in 2019, the numbers of smoking shots in 2020 sharply decreased, which has been obvious to some viewers.

Wan, a 27-year-old avid TV and film watcher, told the Global Times on Sunday that she rarely sees characters smoking on screens, either big or small.

"I remembered a case during a variety show when a singer sang a song that originally had a lyric talking about cigarettes and smoke, the lyric was changed to 'your eyes' because 'eyes' sounds similar to 'cigarette' in Chinese," Wan said.

In the report, the association concluded that the number and length of scenes with smoking in films and TV shows has decreased, indicating that the notice issued in 2011 by the National Radio and Television Administration saying smoking scenes in films and TV shows should be "strictly controlled" has had a significant impact.

"However, the number of movies and TV series with smoking scenes is still as high as 60 percent, demonstrating that the notices have not been fully and effectively implemented, and the related authority should strengthen supervision and regulation," the report added.

The report also marks the first time that the association began supervising e-cigarettes to inform studios to pay close attention to their use.

The association called on entertainment industry insiders to voluntarily boycott the shooting of smoking advertisements and purify the screen to protect teenagers from cigarettes.