Thank You for Smoking

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Thank You for Smoking is a 2006 comedy-drama film that is a satirical look at the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.

Written and directed by Jason Reitman, based on the novel by Christopher Buckley.
America is living in spin.(taglines)

Nick Naylor

  • Few people on this planet know what it is to be truly despised. Can you blame them? I earn a living fronting an organization that kills one thousand two hundred human beings a day; 1200 people. We're talking two jumbo jet plane loads of men, women, and children. I mean there's Attila, Genghis, and me, Nick Naylor, the face of cigarettes, the Colonel Sanders of nicotine. This is where I work, the Academy of Tobacco Studies. It was established by seven gentlemen you may recognize from C-Span. These guys realized quick if they were going to claim cigarettes were not addictive, they better have proof. This is the man they rely on—Erhardt Von Grupten Mundt. They found him in Germany; I won't go into the details. He's been testing the link between nicotine and lung cancer for thirty years, and hasn't found any conclusive results. The man's a genius—he could disprove gravity. Then we got our sharks. We draft them out of Ivy League law, schools and give them timeshares and sports cars. It's just like a John Grisham novel, well—you know—without all the espionage. Most importantly, we've got spin control. That's where I come in. I get paid to talk. I don't have an MD or law degree. I have a bachelor's in kicking ass and taking names. You know that guy who can pick up any girl? I'm him, on crack.
  • After watching the footage of the Kent State shootings, Bobby Jay, then seventeen, signed up for the National Guard so that he too could shoot college students. But, the National Guard recruiter was out to lunch, so Bobby Jay ended up shooting Panamanians instead. Which was almost as good as college students, only they shoot back.
  • How many alcohol related deaths a year? 100,000? That's, what, 270 a day? Tragedy. How many firearms related deaths a year? 11,000? That comes out to a measly 30 a day!
  • In 1910, the US was producing ten billion cigarettes a year, by 1930 we were up to one hundred twenty three billion, what happened in between? Three things: a World War, Dieting and movies. [...] 1927, talking pictures are born. Suddenly directors need to give their actors something to do while they're talking. Cary Grant and Carole Lombard are lighting up, Bette Davis, a chimney, and Bogart, remember the first picture with him and Lauren Bacall? [...] She sort of shimmies in through the doorway. Nineteen years old. Pure sex. She says "Anyone got a match?" and Bogie throws the matches at her... and she catches them. Greatest romance in the century, how did it start? Lighting a cigarette. In these days, when someone smokes in the movies, they're either a psychopath... or an European. The message that Hollywood needs to send out is "Smoking is Cool!". We need the cast of, uh, Will & Grace smoking in their living room, Forrest Gump puffing away between his box of chocolates, Hugh Grant earning back the love of Julia Roberts by buying her favorite brand - her Virginia Slims. Most of the actors smoke already. If they start doing it on screen... We can put the sex back into cigarettes.
  • Everyone's got a mortgage to pay. [inner monologue] The Yuppie Nuremberg defense.
  • Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk. Everyone has a talent.


  • People, what is going on out there? I look down this table, all I see are white flags! Our numbers are down all across the board. Teen smoking, our bread and butter, is falling like a shit from heaven! We don't sell Tic Tacs for Christ's sake. We sell cigarettes! And they're cool and available and addictive. The job is almost done for us! Now, this environmentalist [Pussy] is challenging us. We have to have an answer! I'm asking you, when this cocksucker puts Captain Hook on our product, what the fuck are we going to do!?
  • 50 million dollars?! Are you out of your fucking mind?!
  • The rest of you people go slam your fucking brains against your desks until something useful comes out!

Senator Ortolan Finisterre

  • The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!
  • When you're looking for a cancer kid, he should be hopeless. He should have a wheelchair, he should have trouble talking, he should have a little pet goldfish in a Zip-lock bag, hopeless.


  • Heather Holloway: My other interviews have pinned you as a mass murderer, blood sucker, pimp, profiteer and my personal favorite, yuppie Mephistopheles.
  • Doak "The Captain" Boykin: You're family now. Tobacco takes care of its own.
  • Joey Naylor: It's like you always said, Dad, "If you want an easy job, go work for the Red Cross."
  • Bobby Jay Bliss : It was some pretty fucked up shit.
  • Polly Bailey : Are you a tit man?


Nick Naylor: I speak on behalf of cigarettes.
Child: My mommy says that cigarettes kill.
Nick Naylor: Now, is your mommy a doctor?
Child: No.
Nick Naylor: A scientific researcher of some kind?
Child: No.
Nick Naylor: Now, she doesn't exactly sound like a credible expert now, does she?
Little girl sinks back into her chair
Nick Naylor: Look at it this way. How many you want to be lawyers? Lawyers earn money to talk.
One little boy raises his hand
Nick Naylor: OK, let me try this again. How many of you want to be movie stars?
Multiple children: Yes!
Nick Naylor: Movie stars get paid to talk! That is what I do, I talk.

Nick Naylor: Now, what we need is a smoking role model, a real winner.
Jeff Megall: Indiana Jones meets Jerry Maguire.
Nick Naylor: Right, on two packs a day.

Jeff Megall: Sony has a futuristic sci-fi movie they're looking to make, Message from Sector Six.
Nick Naylor: Cigarettes in space?
Jeff Megall: It's the final frontier, Nick.
Nick Naylor: But wouldn't they blow up in an all-oxygen environment?
Jeff Megall: [long pause] Probably. But, you know, it's an easy fix. One line of dialogue: "Thank God we created the, you know, whatever device." You ought to make a product to tie in with the movie, such as a new brand of cigarettes.
Nick Naylor: Sector Sixes?

Joey: What happens when you're wrong?
Nick Naylor: See, Joey, that's the beauty of argument. When you argue correctly, you're never wrong.

Jeff Megall: Do you know what time it is in Tokyo, Nick?
Nick Naylor: No.
Jeff Megall: 4 pm tomorrow. It's the future, Nick. Anyway for Pitt to smoke it's 10 million, for the pair it's 25.
Nick Naylor: 25?! Usually when I buy 2 of something I get a discount. What's the extra 5 for?
Jeff Megall: Synergy. These are not stupid people, they got it right away. Pitt and Zeta-Jones lighting up after some cosmic fucking in the bubble suite's gonna sell a lot of cigarettes.
Nick Naylor: Well for that kind of money, my people will expect some very serious smoking. Can Brad blow smoke rings?
Jeff Megall: I don't have that information.
Nick Naylor: Well for 25 million, we'd want smoke rings.
Jeff Megall: Oh, one other thing. You'll be co-financing this picture with the Sultan of Glutan.
Nick Naylor: The Sultan of Glutan, the one that massacred and enslaved his own people? Aren't they calling him the Hitler of the South Pacific?
Jeff Megall: I can't speak to that. In all my dealings with him he's been a very reasonable and sensitive guy, he's fun, you'll like him. [his phone beeps] Oh, thats London calling, it's 7 am in the old empire.
Nick Naylor: Jeff, when do you sleep?
Jeff Megall: Sunday.

[Inside the elevator at Entertainment Global Offices (EGO)]
Jack: Do you hear that?
Nick Naylor: [pause] No.
Jack: Exactly!

[Nick Naylor and his son arguing about ice cream]
Joey: So, what happens when you're wrong?
Nick: Well, Joey, I'm never wrong.
Joey: But you can't always be right.
Nick: Well, if it's your job to be right, then you're never wrong.
Joey: But what if you are wrong?
Nick: Okay, let's say that you're defending chocolate and I'm defending vanilla. Now, if I were to say to you, "Vanilla's the best flavor ice cream", you'd say …?
Joey: "No, chocolate is."
Nick: Exactly. But you can't win that argument. So, I'll ask you: So you think chocolate is the end-all and be-all of ice cream, do you?
Joey: It's the best ice cream; I wouldn't order any other.
Nick: Oh. So it's all chocolate for you, is it?
Joey: Yes, chocolate is all I need.
Nick: Well, I need more than chocolate. And for that matter, I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom and choice when it comes to our ice cream, and that, Joey Naylor, that is the definition of liberty.
Joey: But that's not what we're talking about.
Nick: Ah, but that's what I'm talking about.
Joey: But … you didn't prove that vanilla's the best.
Nick: I didn't have to. I proved that you're wrong, and if you're wrong, I'm right.
Joey: But you still didn't convince me.
Nick: Because I'm not after you. I'm after them.

Joey: You're The Sultan of Spin!
Nick: "The Sultan of Spin"?
Joey: Mom subscribes to Newsweek.

Joey: Why did you tell that reporter all your secrets?
Nick: You're too young to understand.
Joey: Mom says it's because you have dependency issues and it was all just a matter of time before you threw it all away on some tramp.
Nick: Well, that's one theory.

[Nick and Heather are introducing themselves to each other]
Heather Holloway: Heather Holloway.
Nick: Nick Naylor. Big Tobacco.
Heather Holloway: [holds up tape recorder] Is this kosher?
Nick: Only if I can call you Heather.
Heather Holloway: By all means. So, Mr. Naylor …
Nick: [interrupting] Nick.
Heather Holloway: Nick. Let's start with …
Nick: '82 Margaux.
Heather Holloway: Okay. Is it good?
Nick: "Good"? It'll make you believe in God.

Jack: Hey, Neil! Neil! I'm going to impale your mom on a spike and feed her dead body to my dog with syphilis!
Neil: Ha, you got me!
[Jack turns back to Joey and Nick, who both look confused.]
Jack: It's an inside joke.

Nick: What?
Bobby: I got a call from the paper.
Nick: Really? What did they want?
Bobby: They wanted the correct spelling of my name and job title.
Polly: You didn't tell her about us, did you?
Nick: Who? … Heather? No! … I mean, maybe in passing.
Polly: In passing.
Bobby: Oh God, he fucked her. I tried to warn you …
Polly: Hey, he didn't fuck her. You didn't fuck her, did you? … When?
Bobby: In passing.
Nick: Look, she's a really nice girl.
Bobby: Oh God, we're really fucked.

[All voice-overs reading the newspaper article]
Nick: Nick Naylor, the lead spokesman for big tobacco, would have you believe he thinks cigarettes are harmless, but really he's doing it for the mortgage.
Polly: The "M.O.D. Squad"—meaning, of course, "Merchants of Death"—is comprised of Polly Bailey, of the Moderation Council, and Bobby Jay Bliss, of the gun business's own advisory group, S.A.F.E.T.Y.
Bobby: As explained by Naylor, the sole purpose of their meetings is to compete for the highest death toll as they compare strategies on how to dupe the American people.
Jeff: The film, Message from Sector Six, would emphasize the sex appeal of cigarettes in a way that only floating, nude, copulating Hollywood stars could.
Lorne: This did not stop Nick from bribing the dying man with a suitcase of cash to keep quiet on the subject of his recent lung cancer diagnosis.
Jill: Nick's own son, Joey Naylor, seems to be being groomed for the job as he joins his father on the majority of his trips.

Nick: [on Bobby's dessert: a piece of apple pie topped with a slice of cheese and an American flag] That's disgusting.
Bobby: It's American.
Polly: Can I have a bite?

Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Please state your name, address, and current occupation.
Nick: My name is Nick Naylor. I live at 6000 Massachusetts Avenue. I am currently unemployed but until recently I was the Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Mr. Naylor, as Vice President of the Academy of Tobacco Studies, what was required of you? What did you do?
Nick: I informed the public of all the research performed in the investigation on the effects of tobacco.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: And what, so far, has the Academy concluded in their investigation into the effects of tobacco?
Nick: Well, many things actually. Why just the other day they uncovered evidence that smoking can offset Parkinson's disease.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: I'm sure the health community is thrilled. Mr. Naylor, who provides the financial background for the Academy of Tobacco Studies?
Nick: Conglomerated tobacco.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: That's the cigarette companies.
Nick: For the most part, yes.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Do you think that might affect their priorities?
Nick: No. Just as, I'm sure, campaign contributions don't affect yours.
Audience laughs
Senator Lothridge: Mr. Naylor is not here to testify on the goings on of the Academy of Tobacco Studies. We're here to examine the possibility of a warning label on cigarettes. Now, Mr. Naylor, I have to ask you out of formality, do you believe that smoking cigarettes, over time, can lead to lung cancer and lead to other respiratory conditions such as emphysema.
Nick: Yes. In fact, I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone who really believes that cigarettes are not potentially harmful. I mean -- show of hands -- Who out here thinks that cigarettes aren't dangerous?
Senator Dupree: Mr. Naylor, there's no need for theatrics.
Nick: I'm sorry. I just don't see the point in a warning label for something people already know.
Senator Dupree: The warning symbol is a reminder, a reminder of the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
Nick: Well, if we want to remind people of danger why don't we slap a skull and crossbones on all Boeing airplanes, Senator Lothridge. And all Fords, Senator Dupree.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: That is ridiculous. The death toll from airline and automobile accidents doesn't even skim the surface cigarettes. They don't even compare.
Nick: Oh, this from a Senator who calls Vermont home.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: I don't follow you, Mr. Naylor.
Nick: Well, the real demonstrated #1 killer in America is cholesterol. And here comes Senator Finisterre whose fine state is, I regret to say, clogging the nation's arteries with Vermont cheddar cheese. If we want to talk numbers, how about the millions of people dying of heart attacks? Perhaps Vermont cheddar should come with a skull and crossbones.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: That is lu-- The great state of Vermont will not apologize for its cheese!
Senator Lothridge: Mr. Naylor, we are here to discuss cigarettes -- not planes, not cars -- cigarettes. Now as we discussed earlier these warning labels are not for those who know but rather for those who don't know. What about the children?
Nick: Gentlemen, it's called education. It doesn't come off the side of a cigarette carton. It comes from our teachers, and more importantly our parents. It is the job of every parent to warn their children of all the dangers of the world, including cigarettes, so that one day when they get older they can choose for themselves. I look at my son who was kind enough to come with me today, and I can't help but think that I am responsible for his growth and his development. And I'm proud of that.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Well, having said that, would you condone him smoking?
Nick: Well, of course not. He's not 18. That would be illegal.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Yes, I've heard you deliver that line on 20/20, but enough dancing. What are you going to do when he turns 18? C'mon, Mr. Naylor. On his 18th birthday will you share a cigarette with him? Will you spend a lovely afternoon -- like one of your ludicrous cigarette advertisements? You seem to have to have a lot to say about how we should raise our children. What of your own? What are you going to do when he turns 18?
Nick: If he really wants a cigarette, I'll buy him his first pack.

[Ron has just arrived in Senator Finisterre's office. In the office, is pride awards for his state, Vermont's cheese.]
Ron Goode: You wanted to see me sir.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Have a seat, Ron.
[Ron sits down in a chair in front of a desk, facing Senator Finisterre.]
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: You see, Ron, I can't be everywhere I'm needed. That's why I send people like you to speak on my behalf. When you're there, you're not Ron Goode, a guy whom your friends probably like, you're Senator Finisterre's aide and your name really doesn't matter. So when Ron Goode acts like a complete asshole on The Joan Lunden Show, I'm being an asshole on The Joan Lunden Show.
Ron Goode: Senator, sir, he sprang on me like....
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Where in the hell did you find Cancer Boy?
Ron Goode: He was supposed to be quite reliable the Pulmonary Council was one of his references.
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Fucking non-profits! When you're looking for a cancer kid, he should be hopeless. He should have a wheelchair, he should have trouble talking, he should have a little pet goldfish in a Zip-lock bag, hopeless.
Ron Goode: I apologize, sir, but if it wasn't for Nick Naylor-
Senator Ortolan Finisterre: Nick Naylor? Don't you even think of using him as an excuse! The man shills bullshit for a living. You work for a fucking senator! A senator who's supposed to be tough on tobacco. Have a little... pride, for God's sake!


  • America is living in spin.
  • Nick Naylor doesn't hide the truth … he filters it.


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