if my memory serves me right... i believe Joe Q banned their characters from smoking because his uncle or grandpa someone close to him at the time died of lung cancer and didn't want the MU characters portraying it as a glamorous habit.. i think its BS. Most comic readers now-a-days are grown people that can make their own personnel choices and most likely don't let some super hero in a comic dictate their habits. there are very few kids reading comics now. so yeah Joe Q is dumb IMO.
I have to disagree. I think that, if Quesada did ban smoking from Marvel Comics, it was a very good idea.
Are most comic book readers adults who can make their own choices? Yes. Definitely. But a) that's a problem, and b) most people still believe that comic books are for children.
SO. Second problem first. Most people believe comic books are for children. How many times have you heard "When are you going to grow up and stop reading those comics?" I hear it ALL. THE. TIME.
Comic books have already been the subject of a witchhunt once -- Seduction of the Innocent? Downfall of EC Comics? Ring a bell? And with the over-sensetized society we live in -- with movies, tv shows and music being blamed for poor parenting skills and violent activity by today's youth, is it too much of a stretch to believe that comics could be next?
The next step? Some parent blaming Marvel because her idiot teenage child read a copy of X-Men, and saw "that Wolverine character" smoking, and decided to give himself lung cancer.
So, yeah. You might be an adult, who can make your own decisions about smoking, but parents are always looking for someone to blame because they haven't raised their children properly.
Now. Second point. Most of the people who read comics nowadays are adults. And that's a problem. If kids aren't reading comics as kids, who's going to be the next wave of adults to read comics?
So, the companies have to try to make their comics more accessable to a younger audience. Because of this, Wolverine isn't quite as kill-first-don't-bother-to-ask-questions-later type of guy, and more responsible. And he's quit smoking, because it sets a bad example for those few younger readers we DO have.