Green skin, black lungs: That's what smoking-in-film watchdog group the American Medical Association Alliance is accusing Universal of showcasing in The Incredible Hulk, and thereby encouraging its teen audiences of picking up the deadly habit in order to emulate the cool on-screen persona of William Hurt's stogie-loving army general. From their press release:
“Shame on ‘The Incredible Hulk’ for unnecessarily adding smoking to a sequel that would have been just as exciting and believable without it,” said Dianne Fenyk, President of the [American Medical Association (AMA) Alliance]. “Universal Studios and the other Hollywood studios should be especially embarrassed for using comic book movies, which they market to children and know youth will want to see, to promote tobacco.” [...]
The AMA Alliance is encouraging its 27,000 members to alert their local media and communities about the smoking in ”The Incredible Hulk,” as well as to continue pressuring the MPAA, Universal Studios and its other studio members to remove smoking once-and-for-all from youth-rated films.
Universal counters that they've made all the necessary MPAA-requested adjustments to their marketing materials; further, once the context for the film's tobacco-use is fully grasped, impressionable youths all over America will be turning "green with rage" at having to inhale second-hand smoke, and wind up "smaaaashing out" butts, just like their gargantuan hero. We're not entirely convinced, however, as the above tie-in with smooth, refreshing Kool-brand menthol cigarettes suggests to us that this is one superhero franchise that may be on the Big Tobacco take.