Chinese social giant Tencent announced on its official Weibo account that it will remove cigarettes from a built-in emoji in the latest version of Wechat in China, Feb. 28, 2021.
Emoji, who was asked to improve is called “leisurely”, a little man in a green camouflage helmet with smirk on his face and a cigarette in his mouth in its original version. This emoji is a non-standard emoji, that only appears on Tencent websites and apps. It was first launched in QQ at the beginning of this century. This emoji was introduced in the first version of Wechat in 2011.
In the latest version, cigarettes have been deleted.
The Beijing Tobacco Control Association wrote to Tencent as early as September 13, 2017, asking the company to remove cigarettes from its emojis to convey a healthier lifestyle. Tencent said in its response at the time that it agreed to modify the emoji, but needed to wait for an appropriate opportunity.
On January 28, 2021, Wechat released an 8.0 major version update, and cigarettes in the changed emoji were deleted. The same change was made in the version 8.01 Android client on February 28th. One of the important new features of this version is to add animation effects to all the built-in emoji.
This seems to be a good opportunity for this emoji to quit smoking.
The question of “Emoji smoking” was first raised by Beijing tobacco control volunteers in 2017, when they complained to the Beijing Tobacco Control Association that mainstream software such as Sina, QQ and Wechat contained smoking emojis. The way these emoji are holding cigarettes is cool and may lead to teenagers’ interest in cigarettes. “
Zhang Jianshu, president of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, said that these softwares are used very frequently in daily life, and every time they are sent will have an imperceptible influence and have a tendency to induce teenagers to smoke.
Although it has been four years since they first sent an open letter to Tencent, the Beijing Tobacco Control Association said in an interview that it was satisfied with the changes made by Wechat. They hope that more people will realize that smoking is an uncool thing.