This film is part of Free

Dying for a Smoke

What the Devil made you start smoking?

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1967 10 mins


Many smokers looking to quit might ask themselves what made them start. In this cartoon it’s the devil himself in the guise of Old Nick O’Teen who lures in young Sam Sucker and friends to become his slaves. The film is aimed at teens, with Joy Batchelor’s script specifically tackling the perception that starting smoking is almost a rite of passage into adulthood.

The film has some effective imagery, particularly the smoke ring chain gang marching toward an early grave. The producers Halas & Batchelor are best known for the cartoon feature Animal Farm (1954), but while this film was being made they were also busy on episodes of an animated Lone Ranger series for American television. The doctor and truck driver have a strong resemblance to their version of the masked hero, but most distinctive in Dying For a Smoke is the wonderful backgrounds of Ted Lewis and Chris Miles.