Hangover 2 “Actor” fighting addiction? NOT!

People expect the upcoming sequel “The Hangover 2” to be a wild ride. One of the new characters in the film is a badass motorcycle monkey, played by a capuchin monkey named Crystal. Unfortunately, Crystal’s bad onscreen behavior has turned into a nasty off-screen habit- she’s become addicted to cigarette smoking! Director Todd Phillips told Total Film Magazine:

“I wanted the monkey to smoke so we had to train her to. Now I have PETA after me because the monkey’s become addicted to cigarettes. She was just shooting Cameron Crowe’s movie We Bought A Zoo. And the monkey won’t stop smoking.”

Not 24 hours after the above news hit the headlines, Todd Phillips has retracted his statement, saying it was all a joke– Crystal never had a lighted cigarette:

“This was a joke. I make comedies. If you read the story, it doesn’t even make sense. “On the set of her new film, she won’t stop smoking cigarettes.” Umm. Really? Maybe just take them away from her. Or at least take her money away so she can’t buy them any longer.
When you are doing press for a film, it tends to get repetitive, lots of the same questions over and over. Sometimes I like to mix it up with the journalists. Obviously, the monkey in the film NEVER smoked a single cigarette. There are people on set whose sole job is to protect that monkey. Even if I wanted her to smoke it wouldn’t be allowed. By the way, she also appears to do cocaine in the movie, but I guarantee you that she didn’t do that either (I can’t, however, comment on Ken Jeong’s cocaine use in the film).
Sorry for the confusion, but it definitely is a funny headline “PETA pissed after Todd Phillips gets Hangover 2 monkey addicted to cigarettes.” Definitely one for the office wall.”

Although most people know cigarette smoking is dangerous, most find it hard to quit. The reason is nicotine. Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. It is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Over time, a person becomes physically and emotionally addicted to (dependent on) nicotine. Studies have shown that smokers must deal with both the physical and psychological (mental) dependence to quit and stay quit.


When tobacco is smoked, nicotine enters the lungs and is quickly taken into the blood system and distributed throughout the entire body. Nicotine and its breakdown products can remain in the body for up to 3-4 days after inhalation. Nicotine causes pleasant feelings in the smoker, which makes them want to smoke more. In addition, over time, the body builds up a tolerance to nicotine, meaning that a larger amount is required to get the same pleasant effect. This also leads to symptoms of withdrawal when the drug is no longer taken.

These include:

  • dizziness (which may only last 1 to 2 days after quitting)
  • depression
  • feelings of frustration, impatience, and anger
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • sleep disturbances, including having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and having bad dreams or even nightmares
  • trouble concentrating
  • restlessness or boredom
  • headaches
  • tiredness
  • increased appetite
  • weight gain
  • constipation and gas
  • cough, dry mouth, sore throat, and nasal drip
  • chest tightness
Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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