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By: Settu Shankar
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Union health minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss on Wednesday welcomed actor Ilayathalapathy Vijay's promise to "cut" smoking scenes in his movies. "I saw news reports that actor Vijay has accepted my advice and agreed to stop smoking scenes in his films. I welcome this decision and offer my best wishes," Dr Anbumani said in a press release.
At a consultation meeting of all stakeholders on tobacco prevention organised by Pasumai Thayagam on Sunday, the Union minister had objected to the actor figuring in a smoking scene in Azhagiya Tamizh Magan. He had said youth icons would lure youngsters into smoking by figuring in such scenes. Vijay is immensely popular among teenagers and college-goers, which earned him the title Ilayathalapathy.
"We conducted protests against such prominent actors smoking on screen. I had also personally talked to actor Rajinikanth about the issue and he promptly stopped showing such scenes in his movies. The last two films of the actor do not show a single smoking scene. Haven't they been a hit? Why should actors and directors think that only if the star smokes that the movie will be a hit?" he had asked.
Making an appeal to Vijay "as a Thamizhan and a doctor", the minister had said the actor too should follow the footsteps of his illustrious seniors in the film industry.
"Today, studies show that youngsters start smoking at the very young age of 10 or 12 itself. The main reason is because their favourite stars smoke on the screen and they think it's cool to do so," the minister had said. The Union minister also sought the actor's cooperation in the tobacco awareness programmes taken up by the government.