Time for James Bond to quit smoking
Of all the James Bond films – there have been 24 since 1962 – just one is smoke-free.
Bond himself stubbed out his last cigarette in 2002, but has continued to be exposed to secondhand smoke, according to New Zealand research published in Tobacco Control.
While other literature has delved into the films’ alcohol misuse and violent behaviour, there has been no detailed consideration of smoking content and health themes, said the authors, based at University of Otago’s Department of Public Health in Wellington.
This persisting smoking content remained ‘‘problematic from a public health perspective’’, especially considering the popularity of the movie series among teenagers, they said.
Examining the series, which is the longest-running and highest ever grossing movie franchise globally, the analysis found the spy’s on-screen smoking peaked during the 1960s, when he puffed away in 83 per cent of the movies produced in that decade.
While smoking has declined among his sexual partners, it was seen most recently in 2012 in Skyfall.
According to Smoke Free Movies, an initiative at the University of California San Francisco, Skyfall was the worst movie for smoking that year.
In the most recent movie, Spectre, in 2015, none of Bond’s major associates smoked, but other characters did. This resulted in an estimated 261 million ‘‘tobacco impressions’’ for 10-29 year olds in the United States alone, the authors said. (Impressions are worked out by multiplying tobacco incidents by in-theatre viewings.)
Extensive research has shown smoking on screen, even in the background or in passing, is linked with real-world experimentation.
Overall, smoking-related imagery was absent in only one Bond movie, Casino Royale, in 2006.
E-cigarettes are yet to appear in the series, the authors noted.
In the original novels, Bond was depicted as a heavy smoker. His creator, Ian Flemming, was also a heavy drinker and smoker. Flemming died of a heart attack in 1961, aged 53.
Australian Bond actor George Lazenby offers co-star Helena Ronee a light, whilst filming On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in the Swiss Alps.