DOH decries smoking scenes in Metro filmfest winner

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The DOH warns that smoking scenes in movies is an “indirect tobacco advertising and promotion vehicle,” which violates existing laws

MANILA, Philippines – Failure. This was the grade that the multi-awarded movie in the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival got from anti-tobacco advocates, according to a study by the Department of Health (DOH).

“Manila Kingpin: The Untold Story of Asiong Salonga” got the most awards in the filmfest, but the DOH was unimpressed.

44 out of 91 scenes in the 112-minute black-and-white movie, which starred Laguna Governor E.R. Ejercito, showed actors who were smoking.

“Ironically, this adjudged quality and best film is filled with tobacco and smoking scenes from the first 4 minutes of the movie up to the last few minutes towards the end. Smoking is also very obvious in the movie’s trailer, music video, print advertisement and poster,” said Anthony Roda, acting division chief of the DOH’s National Center for Health Promotion.

He warned that smoking scenes in movies is an “indirect tobacco advertising and promotion vehicle,” which violates existing laws.

Craving for cigarettes

Roda called on filmmakers to “exclude scenes that show actors smoking cigarettes” because they “entice people to crave for cigarettes.”

“We don’t want to send the wrong message to our children. We want to inculcate positive, health-conscious values and awareness….Let this be the time to educate the film makers,” he pointed out.

“Manila Kingpin: The Untold Story of Asiong Salonga” won a total of 11 awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor and the special award – Gatpuno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award.

The horror movies “Shake Rattle and Roll 13” and “Segunda Mano,” on the other hand, had one smoking scene each.

Roda said that the films “My House Husband,” “Ang Panday 2,” “Enteng ng Ina Mo” and “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow,” did not have smoking scenes.

Roda has urged tobacco control advocates to “exert efforts in educating filmmakers on the harmful effects of tobacco use and the evidences that smoking scenes have on smoking initiation and craving to smoke.”

“This strategy may encourage them not to show smoking scenes or depict the true picture of diseases and deaths brought about by smoking in their movies,” he said. –

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