The John Tung Foundation urged the Government Information Office (GIO) yesterday to ban movie posters that show characters holding cigarettes.
“These kinds of posters should not be displayed in public locations, especially when there are a lot of teenagers on summer vacation,” said Lin Ching-li (林清麗), head of the foundation’s Tobacco Hazard Prevention Section.
Lin said the foundation has received a lot of complaints recently from parents about movie posters in major MRT stations that show actors posing with cigarettes, including the French movie Coco Before Chanel.
The parents said they were worried the posters sent the wrong message — that smoking was cool and fashionable — and could mislead young people.
Such posters violate Article 22 of the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防治法), the foundation said as it urged the GIO to ban them.
It said Article 22 states that “TV shows, drama performances, concerts or professional sports occasions should not encourage or emphasize the image of smoking.”
The foundation said the Coco Before Chanel poster was altered in the UK to show the actress holding a pen instead of a cigarette, while in Hong Kong the cigarette was simply eliminated.
In France, the poster was banned from display at Paris subway stations.
Lin said that it was understandable that some movie scripts required actors to smoke, but he said such behavior should not be encouraged.
“At our MRT stations, more than 100,000 commuters would have a chance to such posters and you never know what kind of influence these posters will have on our children,” Lin said.
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