Campaign to ban cigarette emoji fails to catch fire

Emojis. Harmless little pictures, or a gateway to a life of smoking and ill-health?

An online petition calling for the cigarette emoji to be banned is drawing criticism and mockery.

"Children are the most vulnerable users of smartphones," the petition hosted on reads.

"When texting, a most common practice among them is using emojis. However, there is one specific emoji that has no reason to be a part of their conversations. The cigarette emoji."

The campaign comes with a slickly produced video, in Arabic with English subtitles, and a hashtag - #BanCigaretteEmoji.

As of Sunday morning, the petition had 915 signatures - including many from people who said they only signed it so they could leave disparaging comments.

"I signed just so I can share this to you f**king inconsiderate, brainless moronic people," a recent comment reads. "If I see the gun emoji is it gonna convince me to buy a gun? No, it's not. If I see the syringe emoji am I gonna inject heroine? [sic]"

"I believe we should go further," reads another comment.

"Ban the skull emoji because kids might think dying is cool, ban the sick emoji because kids might go and get AIDS so that they can get more diseases, ban the rocket emoji because they might possibly be made to believe nuclear holocaust is a good thing."

The video was uploaded to YouTube on April 20, a date that's become synonymous with marijuana and smoking culture.

"When you're trying to protest drugs, don't do it on 4/20," a YouTube commenter suggested.

Previous research has found a link between exposure to cigarette use in movies, and youth taking up the habit. Newshub was unable to find any research linking emojis and youth smoking.