José: In Canada, in Canada you do. In Canada you see, like, I don’t know, I mean like, I’m almost speaking directly to my Japanese students right now but you would be just amazed if you went to Canada and saw what is considered tobacco advertising. It’s not advertising to make you want to smoke. It is advertising to tell you that you are taking your life into your hands'taking your life into your hands' means 'doing something very dangerous'. (0:50) if you are smoking.
Alex: Yeah, well, legally uh, tobacco companies can’t even advertise anymore
José: That’s right that’s right yeah. I remember I think I was about 18 – 19. And, it was big news, you know like uh tobacco and and alcohol. I think at the same time. It was a clamp put down on alcohol. That you couldn’t advertise um on TV anymore (mm-hmm yeah). And then eventually there was a a new rule both in America and Canada where actors in TV shows (mm hmm) couldn’t smoke on TV anymore. (mm hmm) I think that was the mid 80s. (mm hmm) And eventually just, rules started getting tighter and tighter. They couldn’t have billboards at major sporting events. And they, they couldn’t advertising in magazines and all kinds of things.
Alex: It’s interesting that uh, there came to be a point where uh, I don’t know if it was banned but it became sort of anti-PC uh an- anti-political correctThe correct term is 'political-ly correct'. (1:50) or antisocial to show actors smoking on TV. (Mm mm) You used to see it all the time in old movies and TV programs and all of a sudden, you hardly see see it.
José: And that’s what makes old, like 1940s movies so quaint when you see Humphrey Bogart and everybody else just lighting up and with the ree-. And the directors and the directors of photography would actually use the cigarette smoke to make the actors look cool. (mm-hmm) Uh it just looks really quaint and and beyond old-fashioned. It’s like, oh god you people are so ignorant.
Alex: But but recently uh, I think I’ve seen smoking make a comeback In some (Really?) TV dramas or movies, yeah because-
José: Where, In Japan?
Alex: No no. It’s in Hollywood, uh well Hollywood, American dramas and movies. (Oh) Because after all it it’s still part of (yeah) real daily life. (It is) It’s- there are people who still do it.
José: O- One thing that I note though, I agree with you now. I know what you’re talking about. But for example um, I’m recently watching the TV show Breaking Bad.
Alex: Oh isn’t that great?
José: And one of – That’s a great TV show. And uh, really recommend it. But, the one person in there who smokes a lot, or the people who- in it who smoke a lot, (yeah) generally tend to be classified under quotation marks “bad guys”, or people (uh-huh) you wouldn’t want to put up in front of a kid and say, “that’s a role model”. (mm-hmm) The people who are kind of role models, if you think about it, don’t smoke. (Hhm) All of the people who are kind of like, off the beaten path, people who have obviously turned a bad corner, (right) in Breaking Bad, (yeah) It’s all of the bad guys it’s all of the cartel people, all of the drug dealers. Uh even uh, Jesse Pinkman himself is a smoker, his junkie girlfriend was a smoker. (Hhm) So it’s all of these anti-role models, are smokers.
Alex: Was the was the uh, was the Chicken King a smoker?
José: No see what, that was part of his character. Uh Gus, the chicken guy (yeah) was completely clean-cut. So completely, you know non-smoking and and you know total businessman and everything (Uh-huh). But uh, Walter: non-smoking. His wife his family: non-smoking. Hank carries a gun, but non-smoking, clean cut guy. (mm hmm) Look at all of the- look at you know Skinny Pete, Combo, Jessie Pinkman: all of them are smoking, bad guys, right? So yeah it’s part of life (yeah). But I I like the fact that it’s still not held up to the kids. Like again the example of old movies Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains. Cool guys, good guys everybody smokes.
Alex: True true, (right) that’s true.
What does your country do to discourage smoking?
Do you think what you see on TV shows and movies (eg., fashion trends, hairstyles, products) affects what it is that you want for yourself?
This conversation makes lots of references to the actors and characters in the movie “Casablanca”, and the TV show “Breaking Bad.
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José Domingo Cruz
Vancouver, British Columbia
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