S Korea military gives K-pop band anti-smoking mission
South Korea's defence ministry has enlisted the help of a K-pop girl band to encourage soldiers to quit smoking.
Eight-piece group Lovelyz are now anti-smoking ambassadors for the military, which is on a drive to slash smoking rates in its ranks by 30%, the Korea Herald's K-pop site reports.
The women will feature on calendars which will hang in barracks next year, and they'll be getting their own talk show on a military TV channel to spread the message, too. Soldiers who manage to kick the habit will be invited on to the programme for a chat, the report says.
There's an extra bonus for those at the army's Nonsan training centre, where Lovelyz will act as personal K-pop counsellors, the widely read Allkpop website says. And for the unit which sees the most soldiers quit smoking, the group will put on a special end-of-year show to celebrate.
Recruiting pop stars is the defence's ministry's latest tactic in its campaign to cut tobacco use. In May, it announced a range of rewards for soldiers who quit smoking, from cash prizes to leisure equipment for barracks. The ministry says around 40% of soldiers smoke, and many light up more often after joining the military. According to the OECD, male smoking rates in South Korea are amongst the highest in the developed world.
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