Apparently hitting back at Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss on Friday said public icons who passed off smoking on screens as "creative liberty" should take a leaf out of the book of actors like Aamir Khan how to use the artistic tool.
"Creative liberty should be used to improve society and not kill mankind", Ramadoss said in response to a query on public icons supporting smoking on screen as their right to creative liberty.
Taare Zameen Par
", he said, saying the film has helped in changing the mindset of thousands of teachers and parents in looking at the problem of dyslexia.
"That is what creative liberty should do", he said.
Shah Rukh had recently defended in Delhi on-screen smoking saying it was a creative liberty of artistes.
According to Ramadoss, increasing tobacoo abuse by students was a growing matter of concern.
The Indian component of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey indicated that nearly 10 per cent of Indian high school going students used tobacco products.
Studies from NIMHANS pointed to decreasing age of alcohol consumption from 27 to 24 and now 19 years and an increasing alcohol consumption among women, he said.
Changing dietary habits was also giving rise to problems like childhood obesity. "We appear to now even overtaking countries like the US on the issue of obesity", he said.
Ramadoss had last month said Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan can learn a thing or two from superstar Rajinikant regarding smoking on screen. He had also said Khan should not have smoked in the stands while watching a cricket match in Mumbai.