Guidelines on depiction of smoking on screen

PHOTO: Guidelines on depiction of smoking on screen

SINGAPORE - We thank Mr Peter Chan Teng Hong for giving us the opportunity to share more about our content codes for TV and films ("Actors puffing away in movies are not 'cool' "; Sunday).

The Media Development Authority (MDA) shares his concerns.

To address them, we have content guidelines that require broadcasters to exercise due diligence in the depiction of smoking.

Broadcasters of TV programmes must exercise care and avoid conveying the impression that smoking or substance abuse is socially acceptable, glamorous or harmless.

Hence, our free-to-air TV programme code states that children's programmes should not contain scenes depicting the consumption of tobacco products unless an educational point is being made, or if a dramatic context makes it absolutely necessary.

If a film promotes smoking, the MDA will take the context into consideration when determining its classification rating.

One example is the Hong Kong romantic comedy, Love In A Puff, which features two strangers who fall in love when they meet during cigarette breaks outside their office.

In the film, smoking is depicted as a cool and hip social activity, and the smoking scenes are frequent and prolonged.

We rated the film NC16 (No Children Under 16) with the consumer advisory, "Frequent smoking scenes and some sexual references", to allow the public to make more informed media choices.

Ho Hwei Ling (Ms)

Director (Communications)

Media Development Authority

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