Indian film star Shah Rukh Khan struggles to quit smoking

Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan is still blowing smoke.

The actor is still puffing nearly a year after he vowed to quit for his 40th birthday, he said in an interview published Wednesday in the Times of India newspaper.

However, Khan said he still thinks smoking is a bad idea.

"I have been planning to quit smoking for a while now, and I'm working hard towards it," Khan told the newspaper. "I have been smoking for long and that's why I can't give it up all of a sudden, but I have cut down on it considerably and plan to give it up completely."

The star turned 40 in November.

Khan has a huge fan following in India, and among South Asians overseas.

He has acted in nearly 50 movies, including the hits "Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghaam" ("Some Happiness, Some Sadness"), and "Kabhi Haan, Kabhi Na" ("Sometimes Yes, Sometimes No").

Last year India's Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss wrote to Khan, asking him to join an anti-tobacco campaign.

Health experts say teenagers who watch films in which stars smoke are three times more likely to try smoking, and those whose favorite stars light up on screen are 16 times more likely to have positive attitudes toward smoking.

India has tried to ban smoking in films.

However, a World Health Organization survey of tobacco use in movies made by India's massive, prolific Hindi-language film industry dubbed "Bollywood" showed that more than 76 percent of its most popular films in 1991 to 2002 depicted some sort of tobacco use, mostly cigarettes, reports AP.

The WHO says tobacco claims 5 million lives a year. According to government statistics, more than 800,000 Indians die each year from smoking-related illnesses.

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