24 June 2012

Smoking gun

Watching actors smoking cigarettes on screen makes young viewers more likely to smoke. The tobacco industry has known this maxim for quite a while, and decades ago they offered free lifetime supplies of cigarettes to actors and actresses.

Although tobacco companies are no longer allowed to expressly pay for product placement in American films, smoking still appears in a number of current movies. Movie studios claim that they need to be allowed to show smoking, in part so that they can maintain the historical accuracy of films set in the past. For example, the Oscar-winner "The Artist" is full of characters puffing away.

If studios cared about historical accuracy, they ought to also incorporate other elements into films set in the 1920s:
-People were shorter than today, because nutrition was not as good. Hire shorter actors.
-Orthodontia didn't really exist. Only hire actors with crooked teeth.
-Dentifrice (toothpaste) didn't whiten as effectively as today. Only hire actors with yellowed teeth.
Movie studios are selective about what they choose to include when they portray historical periods. I'm not sure why cigarettes should be so sacred.