(ConservativeSense.com) – An art exhibit celebrating famous figures who smoke has opened in New York. Viviana Olen and Matt Harkins came up with the concept, and the exhibition includes images of fashion icons and other celebrities, including Kate Moss and Paris Hilton, all with cigarettes in hand.
Harkins said he has been obsessed with smoking since childhood and always thought that old movie stars with their long cigarette holders were the most glamorous thing he’d ever seen.
Laura Collins, a Chicago-based artist, painted pictures of smoking celebrities including Cher, Britney Spears, and Rihanna. She said, “There’s something so cool and fixating about smoking that you’re willing to risk your health to look cool.
Asked if the exhibit promotes an unhealthy lifestyle, Viviana Olen insisted they are not encouraging anyone to smoke but are merely acknowledging one of the realities of life. No smoking signs are littered throughout the venue at the Museum of Smoking in the Big Apple. It is not the only such museum in a major city.
Le Musee du Fumeur is located in the 11th arrondissement of Paris and is dedicated to the “history and culture of smoking. On its website, the museum appears unapologetic and says it is celebrating a “leisurely activity” undertaken by many of France’s greatest thinkers and leaders.
Founder Michka Seeliger-Chatelain told the New York Times that most of the great French writers “seem to have been smokers.
The museum’s exhibition includes old pipes and cigarette packets, and dried tobacco leaves adorn the walls. Sniff boxes also feature, as do postcards and advertisements promoting or celebrating smoking through the decades.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around 11 million American adults smoke. The practice is the leading cause of preventable deaths and kills more than 480,000 people every year. Numbers continue to drop, however, and the number of smokers fell by 20% between 2005 and 2021.
Believed to be one of the most dangerous human habits, doctors say smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and other respiratory and coronary diseases. More men smoke than women, and most of those who indulge are within the age range of 45 to 64.
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