Controversy over smoking Kidman
AUSTRALIAN actress Nicole Kidman has raised the ire of anti-smoking groups by lighting up a cigarette during her press conference at the Cannes Film Festival.
Footage was beamed around the world yesterday of Kidman lighting up at the annual event while promoting her new movie, Dogville.
The Oscar-winning actress was immediately admonished by the film's Danish director Lars Von Trier, but Kidman shrugged her shoulders and kept smoking.
It appears Kidman has smoked for years, with newspaper reports dating back to 1994 saying she had been spotted smoking.
Anti-smoking groups today said the image of Kidman smoking was a free advertisement for the tobacco industry and glamorised the habit.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) chief executive Anne Jones said Kidman was perpetuating the image that smoking was associated with glamour, independence and success.
"It's worth millions to the tobacco industry to have celebrities smoking," she told AAP.
"It's unfortunate that she smoked at a media conference that potentially went to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Ms Jones said she would write to Kidman's Australian publicist highlighting the actress's responsibilities as a role model to millions of young women.
"She does have a right to smoke, but what I'm just saying is that smoking in front of millions of people contains this unfortunate association between smoking and glamour and success," she said.
"I will leave it to her to decide how she wants to use that information.
"I think given her role model status it would be really greatly appreciated by health groups and maybe parents in general if she didn't smoke in such a way."
Six thousand Australian women die each year from smoking-related illnesses, and 21 per cent of all Australian women over the age of 18 smoke.
Australian Democrats Senator Lyn Allison said tobacco use cost $21 billion a year in Australia and Kidman should use her position to discourage smoking.
"Many of Nicole Kidman's fans are young women and they have particularly alarming rates of addiction to tobacco," she said.
Senator Allison called on the Federal Government to fulfill its promise to introduce legislation requiring all films depicting smoking to carry a warning.