Top movies are smokeless

KUALA LUMPUR – Smoking scenes should be done away with in more local movies, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said yesterday.

He pointed out that the top 10 grossing movies at the cinema last year, according to worldwide ticket sales, included movies which did not feature a cigarette, such as Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon and Inception.

“Inception, in particular, is a movie designed to entertain grown-ups, and was particularly well executed without featuring any characters which [sic] smoked,” he said in his speech the ASAP Smoke Free Lifestyle Campaign and launch of a short film on anti-smoking titled “Cinta Akhir” here.

The text of his speech was delivered by the ministry’s Director of Disease Control Division Dr Chong Chee Kheong. Liow said the ministry wished to invite other film makers who created movies with similar themes to work closely with them. In conjunction with World No Tobacco Day today, Liow said, the ministry was also ready to work with film makers who wanted to produce films with such themes.

He said that based on a survey conducted by the Global Youth Tobacco Survey in 2000, some 18.2 per cent of Malaysian adolescents aged 13 to 15 were smokers.

“We need to realise that many young people take up smoking because they think it is cool to smoke. That is the problem. If their favourite movie star smokes in a movie, it doesn’t mean that they should try to emulate the act of smoking,” he said.

The ASAP campaign is funded by Dana Belia 1Malaysia. The RM130,000 shortfilm was directed by Aron Koh and starred Liyana Jasmay, Pierre Andre and singer IZ.

Meanwhile, Dana Belia 1Malaysia Director for Corporate Social Responsibility Dennis See said the foundation had so far received 700 applications for funds while only 10 had been approved.