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When Did Marvel Ban Smoking in Their Comic Books?

In 2001, Marvel banned heroes from smoking in their non-MAX comics (basically all of their main comic book series). Joe Quesada discussed the reasoning to the New York Post:

"Villains can still smoke, but that's OK, because villains are stupid," Quesada told The Post, elaborating that the decision was instituted because it was the "responsible thing" to do.

Quesada went on to say that the "main culprit" was Wolverine, the cigar-chomping star of the company's best-selling X-Men titles, which were turned into a hit movie last year.

"[Wolverine] is a role model for some kids and he shouldn't be smoking," Quesada said. "Besides, the healing factor would keep him from getting addicted to nicotine anyway, so it doesn't even make sense for him to smoke."

The Post article went on to report that the no-smoking ban will also target Wolverine's fellow X-Man Gambit, as well as two of Marvel's oldest characters - Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing.

The no-smoking decision was a personal one for Quesada, a non-smoker who lost his grandfather to smoking-related emphysema and saw his father suffer a collapsed lung from smoking last year and still have problems quitting.

"It's a nasty habit that's affected my life in a tragic way," Quesada said.

Quesada elaborated:

So for example, if an artist wants to draw a guy on the street smoking, fine by all means. We just have a problem with Wolverine smoking.It's just a matter of whether we want to promote cancer or not, and quite frankly, we're done promoting it."Again, there are exceptions. I just went through this with somebody. Can Nick Fury smoke? Well, you know what, if Nick Fury shows up in the FANTASTIC FOUR, I'd rather not have him smoke. But if Fury's in a MAX title, which he is, sure, let him smoke away. I think our adult readers are a little more responsible and know whether they want to smoke or not."

This was applied retroactively, as well, like the elimination of smoking on older covers...

And covers that were in the works when the ban went into place...

were also replaced...

Thanks for the question, Carlito! If anyone else has a question about comics, feel free to drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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