BEIJING — China is ordering makers of
films and TV shows to limit the amount of smoking depicted on-screen, the
latest effort to curb rampant tobacco use in the country with the largest
number of smokers in the world.
The order from the State
Administration of Radio, Film and Television’s website orders producers to
minimize plot lines and scenes involving tobacco and show smoking only when
necessary for artistic purposes or character development.
Minors under age 18 cannot be shown
smoking or buying cigarettes, and characters may not smoke in public buildings
or other places where smoking is banned.
Where possible, actors and
directors are encouraged to leave smoking out of their productions, the
circular said, adding images of smoking in movies and television shows were out
of sync with government efforts to control tobacco use.
The order does not mention
entertainment imported from other nations.
Hollywood blockbusters have had success in the
Chinese market despite revenue quotas that effectively limit how many foreign
productions are released in China.
China has been tightening up
restrictions on smoking over the past decade, banning tobacco advertising and
sponsorships of major sporting events.
That’s part of a slow realization
of the massive toll heavy tobacco use is taking on an aging, increasingly
Tobacco use is linked to the deaths
of at least 1 million people every year in China, where 300 million people, or
nearly 30 per cent of adults, smoke.