How Safe Are The 'Fake' Cigarettes In 'Mad Men' And Other Shows And Movies

It might not be filled with tobacco, nicotine, or a good dose of self-loathing, but it’s still bad.
How Safe Are The 'Fake' Cigarettes In 'Mad Men' And Other Shows And Movies

The prop guy from Peaky Blinders said lead actor Cillian Murphy smoked some 3000 cigarettes during the filming of the show. Don Draper actor Jon Hamm smoked 74 cigarettes in the pilot episode of Mad Men alone. The actor called it debilitating, and it probably didn’t help that these movie cigarettes smell like cannabis but, unfortunately, are not.

Smells like weed, sounds like Molly, tastes like dirt, apparently. These stage cigarettes aren’t actual cigarettes, as you may very well know. Those have been banned on film sets a long time ago.  Instead of being filled with leafy tobacco, addictive nicotine, and the roots of teenage self-loathing, herbal cigarettes are made from stuff like jasmine and ginseng — ingredients you will find in abundance in most health stores. But you don’t buy your vitamins just to set them on fire and inhale their fumes now, do you? Actually, don't answer that.

Anything you set alight will be a health hazard because that’s just how lungs are built (amazing, but fragile AF).  As Matthew Gold from the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Affairs explained: “Any kind of cigarette you smoke has tar and carbon monoxide, which have very real health hazards associated with them.” Yes, these “healthy alternatives” still produce tar and CO and will do all kinds of damage to the human body. This is why even herbal cigarettes need to paste those health warnings on their packaging.

Just like normal and awful cigarettes, these terrible herbal ones can come with all sorts of eyebrow-arching additives, too. And we don’t mean the sage and the rose petals. January Jones says she once found a piece of plastic in a rollie on the Mad Men set. Meanwhile, actor Bruce Campbell shared his thoughts on the fakies:

Oh, but lighting up one sandy plastic herbie a scene can’t be that bad, right? Only, yes, it can, and no, that’s not how shooting a scene works. See - Peaky Blinders and the Mad Men pilot we mentioned in the intro. As Hamm explained: 

“You have to remember, though, that shooting a scene is not shooting one take of a scene. It’s four or five setups, and three or four takes on each setup. So every time you see me light a cigarette, I do it five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 times.”

That … sounds like the worst.

Zanandi is on Twitter.

Top Image: Lionsgate Television

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