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 xu­fan@chi­

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