China will strengthen its regulation on smoking in movies and TV dramas to control smoking among younger Chinese, according to a government opinion issued by eight Chinese departments, including the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Education.
Teenagers are prone to copy actors, and stars smoking in films and TV dramas can easily mislead young people. Media regulators should control smoking scenes that are not relevant to the story or characterization, according to the opinion published Thursday on the commission's website.
Scenes that feature smoking in public should be deleted when necessary, and depictions of youngers smoking should be banned, read the opinion.
Films and TV dramas that overly feature smoking scenes cannot apply to receive awards.
Smoking scenes should be a criterion when recommending movies and TV dramas to primary and middle school students. Those that have too many smoking scenes should not be recommended.
The opinion asked National Radio and Television Administration to oversee the related work.
The move aims to control smoking by younger Chinese to achieve the national goal of decreasing smoking rates to 20 percent among people over the age of 15 by 2030.
Smoking is taboo for Chinese celebrities, especially young idols.
In May, news of Chinese teenage heartthrob Roy Wang (Wang Yuan) who was fined for smoking at a restaurant received over 1 billion views on social media with many netizens claiming he ruined his "good boy" image.
Wang, who is an actor, is also a member of the singing group TFBoys.
Wang later issued an apology on Sina Weibo, and said, "I deeply regret my actions, and feel very sorry for the bad social influence...I will accept responsibility and the punishment."
According to Beijing's smoking ban, smoking is forbidden indoors at public places such as restaurants, office buildings, and public transportation.
Smokers who violate the ban can receive fines up to 200 yuan ($28) and establishment owners could face fines up to 10,000 yuan for not enforcing the ban.
Chinese actress Yang Ying (Angelababy) made headlines this week for smoking at a hot pot restaurant while her husband, Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming, recently advocated for tobacco control for the Health Commission.