The box-office-shattering Transformers: Age of Extinction has come under fire from Chinese anti-tobacco groups, who want the blockbuster to cut out the smoking scenes due to the negative impact it could have on the public. Or in other words, they’re scapegoating a movie to distract from China’s impotent anti-smoking measures, which let fitness trainers light up in the gym bathroom under “no smoking signs,” among other things.
In “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, major character Hound is seen with a cigar in his mouth, which has a bad influence on the audience, especially teenagers, said a letter to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. Non-government organizations such as ThinkTank, Nature University, and Chinese Association on Tobacco Control (CATC) are among those raising the issue.
The movie was harmful because of its smoking scenes, said Li Enze, a Beijing lawyer engaged in smoking control.
The campaigners asked the administration “examine and limit” the number of smoking shots, and require all cinemas to run footage anti-smoking ads before the movie.
In 2011, the administration released a circular on smoking in movies and TV plays. Since then, the CATC has disclosed evaluation results every day and granted a “Dirty Ashtray Award” to the movies and TV plays with most smoking, such as the blockbuster “Let the Bullets Fly”.
Yeah, definitely money and effort better spent cutting out the “smoking scenes” in real life. Not to mention that smoking is so entrenched in Chinese society due to cultural and economic factors, that blaming movies for the tobacco epidemic is a bit like attributing gun violence in a war-torn country to a Yosemite Sam cartoon.
[Image via turntherightcorner.com]