After getting you addicted to vodka Martinis, James Bond could now be blamed for turning you into a smoker! Cigarettes featured in all but one of the 24 movies filmed to date, new researcher has discovered. James Bond may have quit smoking 14 years ago, but he remains at high risk from the puffing habits of his many sexual partners, warned the researchers on Tuesday.
“It is well established scientifically that smoking in movies is associated with adolescents taking up smoking,” says Nick Wilson, a medical doctor who studies public health at the University of Otago. “It is likely that Bond movies overall have contributed to this general pattern given the smoking by both Bond—a hero—and glamorous women characters.”
This “would have meant high levels of secondhand smoke exposure for Bond, especially with post-coital smoking, even to the point where one partner used an ashtray positioned on his naked chest,” the public health researchers said.
However, typically brief encounters would have helped to cut his risk of lung cancer, they claimed, “by the typically brief nature of his relationships.”
Known to kill six million people a year, smoking increases risk of 17 forms of cancer. While the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts more than one billion tobacco-related deaths will occur this century.
Though seemingly frivolous, the study does have a serious message about the behavior-swaying power of film characters’ lifestyle choices. “While there are some favorable downward smoking-related trends in this movie series, the persistent smoking content remains problematic from a public health perspective, especially given the popularity of this movie series,” said the team. “Health workers may need to continue to advocate for reducing smoking in movies.”
Researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand, in the British medical journal Tobacco Control, said that they discovered Bond’s onscreen smoking peaked in the 1960s. However, the rate steadily declined until he took his last puff in 2002’s “Die Another Day”. Smoking-related gadgets, such as a rocket-in-a-cigarette device in one film, became fewer over time, and mentions of smoking risks more frequent.
Writing in the journal, the researchers said “while there have been some favourable downward smoking related trends in this movie series, the persisting smoking content remains problematic from a public health perspective, especially given the popularity of the series”.
According to the study, the most recent movie, “Spectre” (2015) made 261 million “tobacco impressions” upon 10 to 29 year olds in the United States. That’s more tobacco impressions than dollars earned in domestic box office sales—$200 million.
Like Bond, these days some younger demographics have smoked lesser. Either tobacco taxes may have made cigarette too costly or they find smoking uncool these days. Perhaps, Bond has begun to think the same.
His earlier smoking behavior, meanwhile, might be explained by the more pressing existential threats on his mind, over the course of six decades, a whooping of 15 percent of his sexual partners tried to kill, disarm or capture him. You’d probably be a little stressed out too. But maybe Mr. Bond should try some yoga—or, like, not being a spy.