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Can This K-Pop Group Help Cut Smoking?

Photo: ddp USA/REX/Shutterstock.
K-pop acts are dominating the world right now. Earlier this year, Big Bang came second in the Time 100 list of influential people and thousands of fans came together at KCON in New York last month.

But that doesn't mean they have any less influence at home. South Korea's defence ministry has hired the eight-piece K-pop group Lovelyz to feature in a campaign encouraging soldiers to quit smoking, the BBC reported.

Lovelyz, aka Baby Soul, Jiae, Jisoo, Mijoo, Kei, Jin, Sujeong and Yein, debuted their act in 2014. Three of the band members were solo artists before joining the group and they are backed by big South Korean record label Woollim Entertainment.

The band are known for their "cute image", according to Wikia, and their debut single "Candy Jelly Love" reached the top 20 in the charts.

Despite this, they haven't really taken off in South Korea but are reportedly popular in Japan, according to Koreaboo.

Nevertheless, Lovelyz will feature on calendars that will hang in military barracks next year, in a move that echoes the way those same spots were once plastered with posters of pin-ups during WWII.

The band will also get a talk show on a military TV channel to push their anti-smoking agenda and soldiers who manage to quit will be invited on for a chat.

For the lucky soldiers at the army's Nonsan training centre, Lovelyz will even act as personal counsellors, according to the Allkpop website. And the band will put on a special end-of-year show for the unit with the most soldiers who manage to quit smoking.

The number of men who smoke in South Korea is among the highest in the world, according to the OECD, and the South Korean defence ministry says around 40% of soldiers smoke. Many smoke more often after joining the military, the BBC reported.

The South Korean government previously tried to reduce smoking among its soldiers by offering cash prizes and leisure equipment. The jury is out as to whether a pop band will be the motivation they need.