Celebrities smoking indoors prompts online backlash

From left are actor Ji Chang-wook, and singer Meenoi. Courtesy of JTBC, AOMG

Several Korean celebrities, including actor Ji Chang-wook, singer Meenoi, EXO member D.O. and NCT’s Haechan, have found themselves in trouble after images and videos of them smoking indoors were made public.Korean law requires that buildings with a floor area exceeding 1,000 square meters, such as office buildings, factories and mixed-use buildings, be designated as non-smoking areas.The appropriateness of indoor smoking in shared spaces remains a controversial issue, even beyond legally mandated non-smoking areas.Recently, casinositezone actor Ji was seen holding his e-cigarette in a behind-the-scenes video of the JTBC drama “Welcome to Samdal-ri” released on Jan. 26, drawing criticism for openly using the device on set even in the presence of fellow actors and filming staff.Following the controversy, Ji’s agency, Spring Company, issued an apology, Sunday, acknowledging his inappropriate behavior and expressing regret for disappointing many. The label further pledged to take measures to prevent such incidents in the future.Similarly, singer Meenoi faced a backlash after inadvertently revealing her smoking habit during her recent live stream on Instagram. The unintnded exposure of Meenoi’s cigarette pack and ashtray at her apartment where she lives with her cat raised eyebrows.

This drew significant criticism as the issue of smoking within apartment buildings has long been a problem due to its potentially harmful effects on neighboring units. Both NCT’s Haechan and EXO’s D.O. have also faced fines for using e-cigarettes indoors. D.O. was spotted smoking indoors at a broadcast station through a shared video on the group’s official YouTube channel last August. Consequently, he was fined by the Mapo District Public Health Center, with the center confirming his commitment to complying with the law from now on.Haechan was seen smoking an e-cigarette device at a studio in the video clip, which showed the members of NCT practicing a dance, prompting SM Entertainment, his label, to announce the singer’s intention to pay an imposed fine.These incidents underscore the broader issue of indoor smoking, which conflicts with growing societal expectations for smoke-free indoor environments in Korea.A 2021 survey conducted by the Korea Health Promotion Institute found that 93.7 percent of Korean adults believe a complete ban on indoor smoking is necessary. Additionally, there is strong support (86.7 percent), for a total ban on heated 온라인카지노 tobacco products, indicating widespread opposition to indoor smoking, including among smokers themselves.

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