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From November, Vietnam to Ban Gratuitous Smoking in Movies, Stage Productions

Starting from November, filmmakers will need to carefully deliberate over their decision to include smoking in their work or risk the ire of the culture ministry.

As Tuoi Tre reports, from November 15 this year, Circular 25 by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism on smoking in theatrical works will officially take effect, tightening the ministry’s control over whether Vietnamese cinematic products can contain smoking scenes.

Specifically, productions are forbidden from letting characters smoke on screen or on stage in a range of situations. These include: praising individuals or organizations who achieve success from producing and selling cigarettes; in cinematic or theatrical works produced for children; and, depicting behaviors that are banned, as mentioned in Article 9 and 13 of the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms.

These articles go into details which smoking-related acts are frowned upon, such as smoking in the presence of young children or pregnant women, coercing others to smoke, selling cigarettes to those under 18, etc.

The circular also added that smoking can only be shown on screen or on stage if the depiction is to criticize cigarette use, to portray a real historical figure, or to illustrate a real period in history. Even then, actors are forbidden from consuming real cigarettes on stage.

These regulations are part of the government’s efforts to reduce smoking among Vietnam’s population, 15.6 million of which were reported adult smokers in 2015, according to a 2016 report. The same report also showed that local smokers consumed some US$1.39 billion worth of cigarettes. 

[Photo via Creative Commons]

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