Hooked on a Feeling

Like most people in recent years, I have enjoyed watching series on TV more than one off movies. From House of Cards to Stranger Things, the quality and the accessibilities of such series, have made it easy for me to get “hooked” on them.

But is it the only thing that I am getting hooked on?

The one constant in all of the more recent series has been smoking. Cigarettes feature heavily on so many scenes that it is impossible to ignore.

While I can understand the odd scene showing a character smoking to emphasise the times that we lived in (ie. Peaky Blinders, Mad Men) a lot of it seems to be gratuitous.

A quick research online brings up a number of articles and stats about this subject.

One in particular caught my eye (see below)


At a glance the massive difference between the number of tobacco scenes in Stranger Things (a show predominantly aimed at young adults) and House of Cards (more mature audience) is startling.

Smoking has been in decline in a lot of the western world.

The clampdown on advertising is often quoted as one of the main factors, as well as the obvious medical evidence of the health danger associated with smoking.

I grew up in an era when smoking was the norm, when the Marlboro Man was a very cool character to aspire to, when movie stars and sports idols images were placed alongside the packet of cigarettes on billboards and glossy pages of magazines, and Formula One cars were logoed up… Smoking was everywhere. Smoking was accepted and promoted.

Watching some of the scenes from Peaky Blinders or The Spy or umpteen other shows, watching the beautifully shots scene of the character lighting the cigarette, the smoke slowing rising to the ceiling, the optics of it all is captivating and tempting, makes me wonder…

We have learned so much about this killer addiction that we should know better than letting the big tobacco industry get away with subliminal, and not so subliminal advertising.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, I am more interested in the business of it, and when you’re customer base dies at the rate of 1 in 2, you must find different ways to recruit new and younger customers.

Would love to know what you think.

Andrea Splendori




Researchers found that 100% of “Stranger Things” episodes coded included tobaccoNetflix showed 190%, or nearly three times more tobacco in 2016-17

The Verge

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