The Weird Reason Characters in 'Tokyo Vice' Smoke So Much

Image credit: HBO Max

Smoking is bad for you, kids. But at least characters in 'Tokyo Vice' do it in style.

The HBO Max's 'Tokyo Vice' has already proven to be the prestige series we've all been waiting for – with a great cast, tense storytelling and the authentic atmosphere of late 90's Japan, the series has become something truly unique. However, one detail caught fans' attention – why do show's characters smoke so much?

For American viewers, the number of cigarettes seen in 'Tokyo Vice' may seem alarmingly high. After all, smoking is bad for your health. Hollywood understands this, so nicotine consumption in American films is an exception, not a rule.

This is not the case in Asian culture, especially in Japan. Smoking is part of the daily ritual, and despite all government attempts to reduce nicotine consumption, the bad habit continues to exist. It's also a tricky problem – Japan's biggest tobacco company Japan Tobacco is partly owned by the government.

Consequently, there are no real restrictions on smoking on screen – it would be financially disadvantageous for the country itself, given that smoking cigarettes in films can serve as advertising for tobacco companies. And the extensive smoking in 'Tokyo Vice' speaks to the show's attention to detail. It would be wrong to exclude this important part of Japanese daily life from the screen.

Fans support this unusual creators' decision, with many jokingly admitting that they themselves would consider starting smoking after seeing how cool it looks.

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