Medicine And The Media

Smoking on celluloid

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7132.712 (Published 28 February 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:712
  1. Douglas Carnall
  1. Career Focus editor, BMJ

    Douglas Carnall looks at the Health Education Authority's new campaign against tobacco in films

    “The key moment of positive association of cigarettes with romance and desire is the final scene of Now, Voyager (1942), in which Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes and hands one to Bette Davis … marking the heroine's transition to sexual maturity—and the cigarette's to gender parity.”

    The discourse of media studies has a distinctive literary flavour: what is new is its presence in the Health Education Authority's latest report. The results show that smoking on film is more prevalent than ever, though in the '90s it serves as dramatic shorthand for the portrayal of stress …

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