Public Health

'A Lot of Kids Are Going to Start Smoking Because of This Movie'

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USA Today reports that "anti-smoking advocates are calling the animated PG movie Rango a public health hazard for its numerous depictions of smoking." These depictions of smoking are so numerous that Breathe California, which specializes in counting depictions of smoking, lost count. "Because there are so many scenes in which characters smoke," the group "might not be able to get a definitive count until Rango comes out on DVD." In the meantime, all it can say for sure is that Rango is in the same league as 101 Dalmatians, which had "about 60 instances of Cruella De Vil smoking."

As that example suggests, tobaccophobic puff counters do not pay much attention to context. Whether the character who smokes is the hero or the villain, whether

he lives a long, happy life or dies a painful, premature death from lung cancer or self-immolation, every shot of him smoking is presumed to encourage imitation. Hence Paramount, the studio that produced Rango, does itself no good by protesting that "the images of smoking in the film…are portrayed by supporting characters and are not intended to be celebrated or emulated." After all, "youths who frequently see smoking onscreen are two to three times more likely to begin smoking than peers who rarely see it depicted." Which clearly means, according to anti-smoking activist Stanton Glantz, that "a lot of kids are going to start smoking because of this movie." Presumably we will know exactly how many after the DVD comes out.

Glantz, who thinks any movie with smoking in it should automatically be rated R, claims that policy "would cut movie smoking's effect on kids in half, saving 50,000 lives a year in the U.S. alone." In a 2005 Reason article, I questioned the scientific basis for such calculations. Over at Filmdrunk, Danger Guerrero questions the existence of Stanton Glantz.

[Thanks to Meredith Bragg for the tip.]

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110 responses to “'A Lot of Kids Are Going to Start Smoking Because of This Movie'

  1. Sue! Sue the rich!

  2. If my kid grows up to be a pirate I’ll blame Johnny Depp.

    1. How do you think dinosaurs became extinct?

  3. R U F’n KDNG?

    This guy’s license plate should be STOO PID.

  4. ? While normally appalled at depictions of smoking in movies, on this one I happen to be on Paramount’s side. I mean, they had to be historically accurate. And everyone knows that wild-western animals like moles, snakes, and chameleons smoked and smoked on the regular.

  5. Man, after reading that article, I could sure use a smoke.

    1. LOL..GOOD ONE!

  6. Wasn’t there smoking in the LOTR movies?

    1. Yeah, people puffing on pipes all over the place. The old wizard, the king-to-be, the dwarf, just off the top of my head.

      Of course, we don’t know what they were smoking, so its all good.

      1. It was tobacco. Clearly a wizard would appreciate the wisdom of prohibition, even in middle earth.

        1. Clearly the halfling’s weed has dimmed your wits Gandolf.

          1. Tobold Hornblower. Old Toby. Sounds like a hippie name to me.

    2. Pipes, burning a questionable substance.

      1. Weren’t those movies popular with kids? Or were all those short people in the theaters all hobbits?

        1. Hobbits I think. I overheard some complaining about getting carded for liquor just because they couldn’t see over the counter. 😉

      2. When I saw the movie, there was a great deal of chuckling from the audience when Gandalf and Frodo sit down together to smoke, and Gandalf says, “Best weed in the Shire.”

        1. With all of the elves, dwarves, magic, and eating, it strikes me that the whole of Middle-Earth must’ve been on something.

    3. Wasn’t there smoking in the LOTR movies?

      Yes, and anti-smoking nazis weren’t happy about that either.

      1. So they’re pro-Sauron? Because I don’t recall seeing any orcs or Nazg?l smoking.

        1. Sauron had vision!

          One world, united!

          No more discrimination against orcs or Nazgul or balrogs!

          1. The hobbits were libertarians. And they smoked the weed like crazy.

            Sauron’s minions were smoke-free and ate the flesh of their enemies. Which is okay during total war against the corporations.

            1. I am sure that Sean Penn and Michael Moore would have a lot of good things to say about Sauron.

              1. If you simply described each side by its goals first, I think they really would. Can’t make a utopia without breaking some elves’ heads.

              2. It would be much easier to be president of Mordor

                1. Especially if you had the Ring. Only with the Ring can social inequities be equitied.

  7. And just how many kids are going to take up wearing bright orange, cable-knit sweater vests after seeing that picture?

    This post should be rated ‘R’!

    1. I want to have a kid so that sweater vest could be his first piece of clothing.

  8. Is this a version of the Western comedy TV series that had Tim Conway in the title role? Come on, cowboys smoked.

    1. Cowboys still smoke.

      If they wanted to turn kids off tobacco, let the kids get close to a real cowboy.

      1. Better not be any smoking in those romantic cowboy poems that Henry Reid thinks needs tax payer support. Unless the slams are adult only.

    2. From the picture with the linked article, looks like they turned Tim Conway into a lizard. Is that from all the smoking?

      1. It’s not good for your skin.

  9. These people really need to get a life. Really.

    1. These clowns just make it a bit too easy to feel superior in nearly every way.

  10. These depictions of smoking are so numerous that Breathe California, which specializes in counting depictions of smoking, lost count. “Because there are so many scenes in which characters smoke,” the group “might not be able to get a definitive count until Rango comes out on DVD.”

    Can we trust the scientific conclusions of an organization that lost their thumb-clicker half-way during the first show and was too cheap to buy a $10 ticket to try counting again?

    1. my thoughts exactly

  11. That article makes me want to give away candy cigarettes to kids walking out of the movie.

    1. Do candy cigarette even exist any more?

      I thought they were banned.

      1. You can still buy them. We ordered a case for the office a couple of years ago.

      2. They probably are in some places. I think it is so in NYC.

      3. They probably are in some places. I think it is so in NYC.

      4. What SF said – they had them in Hannibal, MO when we visited last Nov. I thought they were verboten – nope, you can still get ’em!

      5. Things were always hard to light.

  12. Only one lizard photo per post please.

    Not even that if you are posting about Elliot Spitzer.

  13. Sooo disappointed in lack of Alt text for dude in orange sweater vest.

    1. That image is the a prime example of some pictures speak for themselves.

      1. And that sentence is a prime example of how to butcher basic English.

  14. I’m almost 37 years old. To this day I have never touched a cigarette despite being fed a steady TV diet of Popeye, Loony Tunes and Tom & Jerry as a child.

    1. I’m almost 37 years old. To this day I have never touched a cigarette despite being fed a steady TV diet of Popeye, Loony Tunes and Tom & Jerry as a child.

      But…but, Albert Bandura!

    2. Sure Brian….you didn’t smoke, but I am sure you regularly pulled anvils out of your pocket and dropped them on your friends!

      1. God I fucking hate that.

  15. Not to mention the red Hawaiian shirts that are bound to become the new trend as they are displayed throughout the movie.

  16. LOL’d at this from the link:

    Let me be very clear about something: Stanton Glantz is not a real person. He can’t be. An anti-smoking advocate named Stanton Glantz who lives in San Francisco and makes conclusory doomsday statements like “A lot of kids are going to start smoking because of this movie” sounds like something even Michael Bay would dismiss as being too on-the -nose. No, I’ll not be fooled by this.

    Additionally, and I don’t even know if this is possible, but I’m picturing him with two sole patches.

    1. down to the silly name, he is an Ayn Rand character

      1. down to the silly name, he is an Ayn Rand character villain.
        For a magazine called Reason you’d think they would have a preview button

          1. Holy….Johnny knows the drinking game! This is a breakthrough…

            1. See, the bots just need to be molded properly. Nurture vs. nature?

            2. Whoa. What’s next? Roads? Somalia?

            3. Skynet has become self-aware! RUN!!1!1!

  17. Nothing new to me since I live in California, where smoking is banned just about everywhere and TobacoofreeCa commercials air on all the local channels. I hate cigarette smoke but even I think the people at Breath California are a bunch of statist fucktards.

    1. Most, if not all, anti-smokers are statist bastards.

      1. Most yes, but not all. I hate smoking. Hate it. So I just avoid it.

        1. Yeah me too, allergies and what not. But you’d think most people who felt the same way wouldn’t patronize a bar or restaurant that permitted smoking. Sacramento and most urban city councils think not so they just outright ban it everywhere regardless of whether it’s public or private property. Again, statist Idiots.

          1. I understand, Nick, but in your case, you’re doing the right thing. The anti-smokers I’m talking about, are the ones who think even e-cigs need to be banned. THOSE fucktards are the problem.

  18. “A lot of kids are going to start smoking because of this movie”

    I certainly hope so.

    It’ll be good for my investment in Altria (aka Phillip Morris).

  19. Don’t tell Glans about 8 Man. He smoked “energy” cigarettes, to rejuvenate his powers, that he carried in a cigarette case on his belt.

    He may threaten the world’s supply of pearls from all the clutching.

  20. Well, I’m glad I smoked for almost 30 years and then quit, and HAVEN’T seen this movie yet, or it might have induced me to start smoking.

    Or something…

    Also – roadz.

  21. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I started smoking because the girls started doing it and labeled it as cool. I guess they were emulating the rock and roll stars at the time. What I’m getting at is that it’s about time for us to make women illegal. If it weren’t for them, I never would have started smoking.

  22. Kkkorporate Mind Kkkontrol strikes again!

    Haha, suckers! Now I’ll be able to order the Black Rhino interior for my Maybach.

    1. Prole. I went for the last Albino they had….hahahahahahahaha! LOSER!

  23. It’s absurd to rate a film R, or even up any notch because of smoking in it.

    Smoking is a nasty, filthy habit akin to willfully chronic flatulence, but that people engage in it is a fact of life. Not depicting it would be hiding one’s head in the sand and depicting it in itself will rarely lead directly to kids taking up smoking.

    People should be free to smoke if they want. They should be free to have establishments that permit or hey, even encourage smoking if they want (just as others should be free to not allow it at theirs). Much less should depictions of smoking be dealt with in a heavy handed way…

    Not every nasty filthy thing should be legislated…[insert joke about least liked commenter here]

  24. I saw the film with my kid and was a little upset by the h and d bombs in the film. Why those would be put into that film I have no idea (they didn’t add anything certainly).

    What’s hilarious about bitching about the smoking in the film is that in the film characters are shot, lit on fire and more. Yeah, some of them smoked too, the horror, the horror!

    1. h and d bombs

      Heavens to Betsy!

    2. Hydrogen and dynamite bombs are facts of life, MNG. The little guy’s gotta see ’em sooner or later.

      1. I believe he means “heck” and “darn”, but is too polite to use bad words like that.

        1. CAN WE GET A BANHAMMER OVER HERE FOR THE POTTYMOUTHED CANUCK, REASON!!!!???

    3. The film is extremely funny, and despite being a Nickelodeon production and rated PG, it’s not really a kid’s movie. You’ve got to be an adult to catch all the references.

    4. Shut the hell up, you damn ass whore!

  25. I think busybodies like Mr. Glantz should be barred from public appearances, lest he encourage kids to grow up to become insufferable nags.

    1. They’re not nags. They’re perverts who get their jollies on controlling other people.

      (I’m being serious.)

  26. Well, I grew up to be a mutant ninja turtle because I watched it on TV all the time when I was a kid! This “Breathe California” might have a point…

  27. ” These depictions of smoking are so numerous that Breathe California, which specializes in counting depictions of smoking, lost count.”

    What is your job?
    I count depictions of smoking in movies.

    where the fuck do these people come from? can’t they all just choke to death on their celery sticks.

    1. By the look of him, he isn’t eating celery.

      1. By the look of him, he isn’t eating celery.

        You’re right. There should be regulations on his behavior and where he can appear in the media. Some child may see him and think it’s ok to be portly.

        1. Please!

          It is ‘person of weight’, not ‘portly.’

          1. I’m not fat… I’m festively plump!

            1. Uh… me, too!

              1. No, Michael. You are a ham-filled dickbag. My favorite part of Team America: Shit on Lefties was when you exploded.

  28. is that a photo of stanton glanz. He is one ugly mofo

  29. is that a photo of stanton glanz. He is one ugly mofo

  30. Any nunber cited by prohibitionists of any stripe is a number Donald Fagan would urge Rikki to lose.

  31. Smoking has a real visual appeal in movies: it gives actors’ faces interesting expressions and allows hand gestures near the face (hands have unique, rhythmic expressions too).

    Combine that with curling smoke, usually through shafts of light, and you have instant noir.

    The Deppster is a one-man PR guy for the tobacco industry. I remember tellin’ my girl that, in every movie that he’s in, he has a cool-lookin’ smokin’ scene. She responded: “He doesn’t smoke!”

    ?Ay caramba!

    1. I gather she has good personalities.

  32. Back when I was in high school, there were posters like these plastered all over the walls. Perhaps Ms Titus should sue public schools for depicting smoking. Or make it illegal for anyone under 18 to attend them.

    1. I get a placeholder page saying the domain may be for sale.

      1. He was in a pretty bad school district.

  33. How stupid can this guy be? Doesn’t he know it’s illegal to give cigarettes to kids? It’s literally impossible for kids to start smoking.

  34. I remember years ago, Paul Harvey talking about some town where some of the locals bitched about the horrific odor coming from the local bakery.

  35. The movie didn’t give me an urge to smoke, but now I have a desire to shoot bullets from my tail.

  36. I think he’s got a point. I never would have gotten addicted to heroin if I hadn’t watched Requiem for a Dream.

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  38. Sullum is correct in his questioning. Glantz and his minions (Yes, he really DOES have minions!) have millions upon millions of dollars in grant money to spend on things like counting “smoking instances” in movies (btw… a “smoking instance” isn’t necessarily actual “smoking” in Antismokerspeak: they can count depictions of ashtrays or even “no smoking” signs as a “smoking event.”)

    A few years ago they were screaming about MTV being “FILLED with smoking!” I don’t normally watch MTV, but I set my TIVO up for 24 hours of coverage and then forced myself to grind through the full 1440 minutes of it.

    “Normal” population smoking levels would have been around 120 minutes. To call it “filled” with smoking would probably mean more like double the norm, or 240 minutes of the 1440 portraying smoking.

    How many did I find? Three and a half minutes of human beings smoking, mainly Sinatra in a repeated video. About another half minute of animated squirrels smoking pipes in a treehouse.

    Meanwhile I found TEN FULL MINUTES of Glantzian / Tobacco Free Kids style antismoking commercials showing collectively 10,000 teenage smoking victim corpses piled in the streets. See Lie #2 at TheTruthIsALie.com for more on it all.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

    1. they can count depictions of ashtrays or even “no smoking” signs as a “smoking event.

      1. fight for ubiquitous No Smoking signage
      2. count that signage
      3. profit

  39. 1. fight for ubiquitous No Smoking signage
    2. count that signage
    3. profit

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  41. “Normal” population smoking levels would have been around 120 minutes. To call it “pas cher lunettes” with smoking would probably mean more like double the norm, or 240 minutes of the 1440 portraying smoking.

  42. How many did I find? Three and a half minutes of human beings smoking, mainly Sinatra in a repeated video. About another half minute of animated squirrels smoking pipes in a treehouse.

    Meanwhile I found TEN FULL MINUTES of Glantzian / Tobacco Free Kids style antismoking commercials showing collectively 10,000 teenage smoking victim corpses pas cher lunettes de soleil piled in the streets. See Lie #2 at TheTruthIsALie.com for more on it all.

  43. 1. fight for ubiquitous No Smoking signage
    2. count that signage
    3. profit

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