Anti-smoking campaigners rally against Johnny Depp’s ‘Rango’

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2011, 17:56 PM IST

London: Actor Johnny Depp has become the target of anti-smoking campaigners, who are rallying against him over his animated movie ‘Rango’, which features characters who smoke.

The movie, which has been branded a health hazard, features the voices of Depp, 47, actress Isla Fisher, 35, and actor Bill Nighy, 61.

It is about a group of chameleons searching for water that has been stolen from a town called Dirt.

According to Kori Titus, CEO of non-profit organisation Breathe California, throughout the film “at least 60 instances of characters smoking” have been counted.

Anti-smoking activists are now claiming the images of animated lizards and birds puffing on cigarettes pose a risk to children, who they claim will want to take up the habit after seeing the footage.

“A lot of kids are going to start smoking because of this movie,” the Daily Express quoted Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California-San Francisco, as saying.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, campaigners now want movie chiefs to add a Surgeon General’s warning to the project.

A spokesperson for movie studio Paramount, Virginia Lam, insists they never meant to condone smoking and they ensured the main character isn’t seen puffing away.

“The images of smoking in the film... are portrayed by supporting characters and are not intended to be celebrated or emulated,” she told USA Today.