The Serpent viewers blast BBC for 'promoting chain-smoking' and rage they 'can smell the cigs' through the screen

The Serpent viewers blast BBC for 'promoting chain-smoking' and rage they 'can smell the cigs' through the screen

January 11, 2021

THE Serpent viewers have blasted the BBC for 'promoting chain-smoking' and raged they 'can smell the cigs' through the screen.

The BBC One drama follows real life serial killer Charles Sobhraj and his reign of terror as he killed countless travellers in Thailand, Nepal and India during the 1970s, drugging them and often stealing their identities.

Sunday's episode saw Charles and his love and accomplice Marie-Andrée Leclerc finding their victims via a series of parties and get togethers, with numerous characters puffing away on cigarettes as they did so.

Smoking was a common habit at the time, but nowadays – thanks to the smoking ban and the knowledge of how damaging it can be – it's not as prevalent and so viewers were not happy about it being a prominent aspect of the series.

Taking to Twitter, one annoyed viewer wrote: "For anyone watching The Serpent and trying to give up smoking – good luck!”

Another tweeted: "I’m gasping for air watching them chainsmoke.” 


A third added: "There is so much smoking in #TheSerpent. I feel like all I can smell is fags AND it’s giving me a parched throat…pass the gin."

Meanwhile Deborah Arnott from the anti-smoking charity ASH told The Mirror: “There’s a proven causal link between watching people smoke on screen and taking up smoking yourself. 

“Whether the smokers are heroes or villains, cool or not, doesn’t make any difference.

"Exposure to images of people smoking makes it harder for smokers to quit, and more likely that ex-smokers will start smoking again. 

“Watching The Serpent won’t turn someone into a serial killer – but it will encourage them to smoke."

Meanwhile, other viewers were left upset after Sunday's episode following the death of a pet monkey in a distressing scene.

The Serpent continues on Sunday, January 17 at 9pm on BBC One, while all episodes are available on BBC iPlayer.

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