French Icons Can Smoke Again—in Posters

Government softens anti-smoking law
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2011 5:28 AM CST
French Icons Can Smoke Again—In Posters
Jean Cocteau , French novelist and filmmaker, smokes a cigarette at the 'Bal des Petits Lits Blancs', where Cocteau was Master of Ceremonies, in Paris, France, October 1948.   (Getty Images)

French lawmakers have decided that Jean-Paul Sartre, Coco Chanel, and other long-dead icons can have their cigarettes back. Smoldering cigarettes and pipes had been airbrushed out of old photos and vintage movie posters out of fear of breaking a 1991 law that banned the "direct or indirect" promotion of smoking. A government commission has decided that cultural heritage can be exempted from the rules, the Telegraph reports.

Under the widely mocked law, Jacques Chirac's trademark cigarette was removed from the cover photo of his memoirs, while posters for a retrospective of beloved comic Jacques Tati replaced his pipe with a yellow toy windmill. The change was "a denial of historical reality, like Stalin erasing one by one the members of his Politburo," said the author who first spotted the altered Chirac photo. (More smoking stories.)

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