The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Nicole Kidman has sparked a controversy by lighting up a cigarette during her press conference at the Cannes Film Festival. Anti-smoking groups are up in arms, saying that Ms. Kidman should use her position to discourage smoking.
This seems eminently silly. Ms. Kidman is not legally or contractually prohibited from smoking if she so desires, and that ends the story. She does not have a peculiar obligation to be hypocritical and tell people not to do something that--while admittedly a risk factor--is a risk factor which she enjoys.
The story is more interesting for the zeal shown by anti-smoking groups, for whom this is clearly a public sin. The article concludes by noting that the groups are pushing for legislation (presumably in Australia) which would require all films depicting smoking to carry a warning! Peggy Noonan is right: liberals were much more interesting back when they smoked.
The whole episode reminds me of a friend who doesn’t smoke, except when confronted with those preachy "Truth" anti-smoking ads. He has vowed to smoke a cigarette for every ad to which he is subjected. Following his lead, after reading this story, I think I need a cigarette as well.