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Why Celebrities Are Closeted Smokers

Date Posted: November 15, 2011

Gone are the days of the Breakfast Club when smoking was deemed cool on the big screen. Smoking scenes in movies seem to have vanished in recent years while the “cool factor” associated with smoking is now a thing of the past. Rather than a teenager, Jordache clad Kevin Bacon seen twirling around to the rhythm of 80’s music while smoking heavily in Footloose, you’re more likely to see  Johnny Depp reading a book on a train while puffing on an electronic cigarette in the movie The Tourist.

What a change in 20 years you might say but the fact is that the movie industry is giving smoking the axe largely because the substantial shift in people’s attitudes with regards to the dangers associated with tobacco. With the newfound public health commitment to eradicate smoking, it should come as no surprise that many celebrities who are smokers are also trying to keep their dirty habit a secret. Seen as role models by younger generations, numerous celebrities just hate to be photographed while smoking, usually for fear of a negative reaction and of the stigma associated with the habit.

While there is a long list of famous personalities who smoke, some are actually “closeted smokers,” endlessly trying to keep their dirty habit under wraps.  Despite the pressure to be perfect, more celebrities than we’d think are secretly (or so they think) puffing away. Jennifer Aniston has long been a smoker yet you will rarely see her get photographed with a cigarette on hand. Selma Hayek has been puffing on smokes for decades, even around her children. Sex and the City’s Carrie was a heavy smoker herself, but few of us thought Sarah Jessica Parker and her Inspector Gadget husband, Matthew Broderick, would light up together in real life. Here’s a short list of sneaky celebrity smokers:

  • Katie Holmes
  • Kate Hudson
  • Jessica Alba
  • Brad Pitt
  • Eva Longoria
  • Katherine Heigl
  • Hayden Penettiere
  • Ben Affleck
  • Rumor Willis
  • Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
  • Daniel Radcliffe (reportedly a pack-a-day)
  • Anne Hathaway
  • Sarah Jessica-Parker
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Whitney Port
  • Nicky Hilton
  • Kate Winslet
  • Ashton Kutcher
  • Jude Law

But why all the secrecy? “It’s so taboo,” says Antonia Russo, a Manhattan image consultant who specializes in advising performing artists. Not only does the habit work against Hollywood’s health conscious image, she says, but it’s counterintuitive to being a role model for teens. “There’s definitely a concept of ‘people who smoke just don’t care about themselves’ or they’re socially irresponsible,” she says. As a role model, “you wouldn’t want to be a part of that.”

In today’s society, where we are more health-conscious and disease-aware than ever, smoking cigarettes is as much of a faux pas as is wearing real fur. It is look down upon, frowned upon, and it should come as no surprise that more and more of us mere mortals as well as A-listers are trying to kick smoking to the curb.

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