Caught on Camera: TFBoys Wang Yuan’s Career Challenged by a Cigarette

Smoking is bad for your health. For some, however, smoking might be causing a significant impact on their careers. Popular Chinese boyband TFBoys member Wang Yuan just became the latest celebrity that got into trouble for smoking.

The 18-year-old young celebrity made an apology to the public earlier this month, after getting caught smoking inside a Beijing restaurant.

While it is legal for adults to smoke, it is against the law to smoke inside any building. Beijing city has enforced strict non-smoking policies in all buildings, but obviously, Wang did not obey the law.

According to BBC, local health authorities in Beijing started an investigation on the matter and Wang Yuan will be punished by law.

The scene was initially recorded and photographed by Chinese media Sohu Entertainment. Wang Yuan was seen having a social gathering with two other celebrities, actor Jia Nailiang and Yang Chaoyuan.

Wang made his apology on his personal Weibo, saying that he is sorry for his actions and realizes the negative impacts that his action has brought to the public. Wang admitted his wrongdoings and urged others not to follow in his footsteps. The 18-year-old concluded on the note that he will learn from this lesson and become a better adult in the future. There are more than 72 million followers on Wang’s Twitter-style social media account.

Smoking individuals would usually receive a fine between 50 to 200 yuan. However, for the rising celebrity Wang Yuan, his damage could be much bigger: It remains unclear whether Wang would be banned from certain appearances. China has tough restrictions on celebrities who get caught using drugs. In 2015, the city of Shanghai proposed a three-year-long ban to disgraced celebrities who were using drugs. While the impacts of smoking and drug consumption are different, the concern and uncertainty would definitely affect Wang’s future career.

The latest scandal that is troubling Wang may also be a concern for China’s state media. Wang is recognized by the country’s Communist Youth League and People’s Daily as a prominent model to attract young people. His deteriorated image now will become problematic for the propaganda officials, as promoting a figure who was once disgraced will always have the risk of getting backlashes.

In addition to potential legal punishments, Wang might also face issues in managing his reputation and fans’ recognition. Starting his acting career at the age of 13, Wang has been widely recognized as a cute and handsome boy character. Wang’s fans are largely made of older age females who see Wang as a model son or a model younger brother. Growing up, Wang insisted on keeping his baby-face style to keep attracting his fans and supporters. Smoking clearly contradicted Wang’s hard-earned image: Model boys should not smoke. Smoking is for the grown-ups, while Wang has already reached the age of adulthood, his fans would have a hard time accepting such reality.

Wang will be attending the Berklee College of Music in the upcoming fall. Being an alumnus of renowned singers such as PSY and Wong Leehom, Wang will gradually shift towards a more mature figure. As he ages along the way, the Chinese boyband star will need a better way to continue his acting career beyond the teenage era.

The smoking incident and its future impacts are certainly far from over. Wang has yet to receive a notice on the fines regarding his action. The young star has found himself standing at a crossroad for his career: Would he be able to save his reputation, or would he need to make changes to his acting career?

Featured photo credit to internet