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Glamorizing Cigarettes

Penelope Cruz Sparks Controversy Over Making Smoking Appealing to Youth

— February 20, 2009 — Pop Culture
Thanks to Hollywood portrayal by stars like Penelope Cruz, cigarettes have gone from glamorous to nasty and back again. Flash back to the classic flicks of the 50s and 60s, and recall how wonderfully enticing the stars made smoking look. A few decades later, after the dangers of smoking were made public and highly emphasized in the media, the appearance of cigarettes on camera began to dwindle.

Since what’s old is new again, it’s really no surprise that smoking is making a return to the silver screen. Penelope Cruz smoked heavily in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a move resulting in outrage from Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, an anti-smoking group who nominated stars for their own ‘Hackademy Awards’ based on movies that made smoking look appealing.

“Instead of using cigarettes to make characters seem cool, the group says, movies should portray smoking as the cause of hacking coughs, heart attacks and cancer,” USAToday says.

Movies that got the thumbs-down include The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Tropic Thunder for Robert Downey, Jr.’s character and Vicky Cristina Barcelona for the way Penelope Cruz made cigarettes look sexy.

Sites like are dedicated entirely to celebrities that smoke and photos of them with their cigarettes, as seen in this gallery here. They include photos of old fashion stars like Rita Hayworth to today’s icons like Jennifer Aniston and Penelope Cruz. Clearly, this type of pro-smoking has stirred a lot of controversy.

An incredibly positive twist by pro-health stars would be a celebrity anti-smoking campaign… I can’t imagine one is far off!