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  Saturday  August 10  2002    11: 07 AM

Cancer Sticks

Hollywood's Responsibility for Smoking Deaths

A cigarette in the hands of a Hollywood star onscreen is a gun aimed at a 12- or 14-year-old. (I was 12 when I started to smoke, a geeky immigrant kid who wanted so very much to be cool.) The gun will go off when that kid is an adult. We in Hollywood know the gun will go off, yet we hide behind a smoke screen of phrases like "creative freedom" and "artistic expression." Those lofty words are lies designed, at best, to obscure laziness. I know. I have told those lies. The truth is that there are 1,000 better and more original ways to reveal a character's personality. [read more]