The more popular such a production is, the worse the influence is.”
Where Are We Going, Dad?, smoking scenes, the says.
It gave its Dirty Ashtray Award to Gone With the Bullets, which it said included 45 scenes featuring someone smoking, or one such scene every 3.1 minutes, totaling 9 minutes and 17 seconds of the 140-minute movie.
It is not the first time that Jiang, who’s well-known for his films with machismo and dark humor, has won the dubious honor.
His action-comedy blockbuster Let the Bullets Fly was named the smokiest movie in 2011 and won the same award for its 80 smoking scenes, comprising about 2 percent of the content.
Beijing Bu Yi Le Hu Film Co, the studio Jiang owns, says it had never heard of the prize and refused to comment.
The tobacco-control association’s report says the 21 movies had a total of 435 smoking scenes, 28 percent more than in 2013. And the 21 TV series in which smoking was depicted had 2,126 smoking scenes — 53 percent more than in 2013.
Mao Zedong, a 100-episode TV series biopic of New China’s founding father, topped the smoky dramas list with 580 scenes featuring smokers, lasting more than 1 hour and 45 minutes, or about 4.7 percent of the total footage.
Apart from the series The Chinese Farmers, which ranked second with 390 smoking scenes lasting nearly 48 minutes, two biographical series of New China’s political leaders are also criticized for their excessive smoking scenes.
The 48-episode Deng Xiaoping During a Historic Turning Point was named the third-smokiest series with 683 scenes lasting about 37 minutes, followed by the 33-episode Zhu De, the Founding Father of the Nation, with 202 scenes lasting more than 15 minutes.
The widespread screen depiction of smoking in China, a country that reportedly has more than 300 million smokers, has often been criticized by antismoking campaigners.
Xu Guihua, vice-president of the association, says celebrities and political leaders appearing on screen, in particular, set a bad example for young people.
Research has shown that youngsters who have been exposed to smoking on screen are three times more likely to at least try smoking compared with those who have had no or very little such exposure, Xu says.
“The more popular such a production is, the worse the influence is,” she says.
The association says that 6.9 percent of Chinese teenagers smoke, and another 19.9 percent have tried smoking. Xu says those who produce entertainment need to reduce depictions of smoking to set a good example of healthy living to teenagers.
Chen Dongdong, the producer of the popular TV series Feige the Big Hero, says that with anything she films she aims to come up with “clean” footage. She says celebrities have a social responsibility to be good role models.
However, some have criticized the Dirty Ashtray Awards as being little more than a token protest, particularly given that Jiang has won the top award twice and that the number of scenes depicting smoking does not appear to be falling.
“Only when the authorities take effective action to regulate movies and TV series, such as by imposing hefty fines if there are too many smoking scenes or banning productions that cross the line, will things improve,” says Ma Chaohu, a film and TV critic.
“But when you consider that most movies and TV series are based on reality, perhaps showing some characters smoking is unavoidable.” Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org