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Reviews Film

Tobacco industry satire fails to ignite

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 13 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:920
  1. Gavin Yamey, senior editor (
  1. PLoS Medicine (, San Francisco, United States

    Hollywood portrayal of antics of smoking lobbyists pales in comparison to real life

    How does a self respecting tobacco industry lobbyist sleep soundly at night, given that the product he is peddling kills one in two of its users? And how should he respond when his preadolescent son asks him, “Daddy, what do you actually dofor a living?”

    Nick Naylor (played by Aaron Eckhart), handsome, Armani-clad, fast-talking spokesman for the euphemistically named Academy of Tobacco Studies (a front for Big Tobacco), already has enough on his plate without having to deal with these tricky moral questions keeping him up at night.

    For a start, anti-smoking activists are threatening to kidnap him. On top of that, the Birkenstock sandal-wearing senator from Vermont, who goes by the rather rococo name Ortolan Finistirre (William H Macy), has introduced legislation requiring the skull and crossbones to be prominently displayed on every cigarette pack. Worst of all, tobacco sales are plummeting, much to the dismay of Nick's boss BR (J K Simmons), who, in an angry outburst to his employees, reminds them: “We don't sell Tic Tacs. We sell cigarettes. And …

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