With tobacco companies still turning in profits and millions still being addicted to the butt, the answer to that question is unfortunately not in the negative.
But in recent times we have seen a sea change in the attitudes towards smoking. It is no longer considered cool; its association with various cancers and life threatening diseases is too clearly established for smoking to be considered the glamorous thing to do any longer.
If you think back to Hollywood films of old, a Humphrey Bogart could reliably be found with a cigarette dangling negligently from the lips; the characteristic drawls further impeded by the butt clamped between the teeth.
Even the leading ladies such as Bette Davis were to be found with attractive cigarette holders between the fingers adding to their glam quotient. This is no longer the case in Hollywood today.
If anything, smoking is now being seen as the crutch of the dysfunctional in a number of recent films; it is de-glam activity that is discouraged by at least some studios that have responsibly self regulated on this issue, particularly in the case of kids’ films.
Getting cigarettes out of movies is a work in progress; having to battle the many lucrative product placement deals that cigarette companies traditionally had with Hollywood prior to the 1998 settlement.
Take a film set in the glamorous world of high fashion and media such as The Devil Wears Prada. Had it been made 20 years before it actually was, cigarettes would perhaps have been dangling from every other set of lips and fingers.
However there was no smoking in that film though set in what can only be termed as some of the most tobacco happy settings in the world! The producers saw to it that smoking was cut out entirely.
So in that film there was no smoking and even more interestingly, no one noticed either. If Grease were to be made today, perhaps all the cool dudes would be shown as non smokers?
Even among the youth today, smoking is largely a stigmatized activity. It is not something that a kid learns to do with gleeful surreptitiousness behind their parents’ back.
Cigarettes are banned in so many public areas and information about their deadliness is so accessible that kids no longer equate smoking with looking cool.
It is likely that the kids today have heard enough about the kind of damage that cigarettes are able to inflict; they have perhaps seen a relative or family friend battle cancer closely enough to be well aware of this.