Weibo removes "smoking" emoji
China's internet portal website Sina has decided to remove a "smoking" emoji from its social messaging service Weibo, which shows a character displaying a cigarette in his lips after being activated by typing "cool," reports thepaper.cn.
The Beijing Tobacco Control Association has applauded the move, and is calling on Tencent to remove the emoji from its WeChat and QQ messaging services as well.
A GIF shows a hand removing the cigarette from the "cool" emoji on Weibo. [Photo: thepapper.cn]
"The act of smoking is not cool or fashionable at all," said Zhang Jianshu, president of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association. "It's obviously a mistake to equate smoking to 'being cool'."
He notes a majority of social media users in China are younger people, who tend to be more impressionable.
The "cool" emoji displaying a smoking character has been removed from Weibo. [Photo: thepapper.cn]
The Beijing Cyberspace Administration also supported Sina Weibo's move, saying, "It helps to provide a positive internet environment for teenage netizens by advocating a healthy lifestyle."