Every time I read a story about certain political forces wanting smoking in Hollywood movies to be restricted or stopped, which is the topic of this Michael Cieply story in the 9.30 N.Y. Times, I have the same reaction. Europeans, people under heavy stress, 20-something clubgoers and low-rent rubes often smoke cigarettes, and as offensive as this habit can seem to ex-smokers like myself it’s absurd to say that filmmakers shouldn’t show people sucking smoke into their lungs when it’s appropriate for the story or theme they’re trying to convey.

And yet it wouldn’t be bad to see less movie-smoking as a general rule. Actors would be forced to do lean on some other tic or mannerism — it would push them to be more creative.