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Video Rewind: Smoking

Updated on November 7, 2014
"Wendy Kroy" enjoying a cigarette in the bar in The Last Seduction
"Wendy Kroy" enjoying a cigarette in the bar in The Last Seduction

Once upon a time in a land called Hollywood, a fad was born. It depicted two things: who among society was "the bad boy" and who was "sophisticated." That "demon" was cigarettes.

I've been smoking since I was 18 and no matter where I go, people are trying to make me quit.

For those who don't smoke it's easy to say you can quit, but Hollywood showed us two movies (which I can think of) in which people were quitting this "so called disgusting habit."

The first is in the disaster/thriller film Rollercoaster. While a terrorist is blowing up popular rollercoasters throughout the country, George Segal is trying to kick the habit by going for electroshock therapy. Every time he takes a drag from his cigarette he gets a nice zap of voltage.

While he sits there smoking away and getting zapped he's determined to quit smoking. The butts in the ashtray are enough to make anyone quit but if you look closely at the time he leaves the treatment center it's close to 10:00 p.m. Maybe they had 24 hour smoking cessation clinics back then.

But the question is does he quit smoking? You'll have to see the movie to find out.

Then there's Norman Lear's Cold Turkey a true visionary tale.

Set in the fictional town of Eagle Rock, Iowa, a public relations guy (Bob Newhart) convinces a tobacco company to give out $25M to a town which can quit smoking for 30 days. This slime ball knows there's no city in the country that can achieve 100 percent of its citizens to give up smoking, but the town's in dire need of money and led by Rev. Clayton Brooks (Dick Van Dyke) the city becomes the first smoke free city in the country.

In the opening of the movie the question posed to the executives is "Have you ever heard of an entire office building quitting smoking?" Well, this movie came out in 1971 and who would have thought back then that the country would be on this anti-smoking kick.

When the town gets the approval of all 4,006 residents they not only become a tourist attraction but nerves are on end. Have you tried to quit smoking? I tried to cut back but it was a no go situation.

Getting back to the movie, as the days go on and the economy begins to improve, lives are changed and the citizens can't wait until midnight of July 1 when they can resume smoking.

Comedically it's fun to watch the main characters deal with getting over their addictions but in real life it's not so easy. While one addiction is "conquered" another develops and then we find out that greed over money becomes an issue. Who should get it? The city or the residents who committed quit?

While I don't want to give away the ending as to if the residents stick to their guns ask yourself this question: what's worse? Second (or now fifth hand smoke) or the carcinogens you breathe in daily (i.e. factory smoke, exhaust from mass transit)?

If I had to pick a poster child for smoking, my vote is for Linda Fiorentino who plays Bridget Gregory/Wendy Kroy in the thriller The Last Seduction. She has it all: the ability to smoke whenever and even in her office! (But then again the movie was made in 1993).

Bridget Gregory/Wendy Kroy has left her husband doctor/pill pusher Bill Pullman and taken all of his money to a small town in upstate New York.

She's great at manipulating the men in her life and she has a ball putting her hooks into Mike Swale (Peter Berg) while gaining his trust so she can get rid of her husband.

While on the lam, she manages to coax Mike into "playing her game" by embezzling money from the insurance company they both work for. But, while she's toying with Mike and her husband Clay, she learns a secret Mike's trying to hide about his short lived marriage and she uses that information to hold over his head.

It's time for me to go light up in a secret smoking place where the town smokers gather. At least I'm not drinking or driving-think about it.


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