Ironically, the commercial resorted to the same sort of tactics the truth campaign frequently criticizes the tobacco industry for using to get its point across by ignoring the large adult fanbase of the Muppet characters at the time the film was released and by implying through its visuals that Muppets, rather than humans, were the ones shown smoking in the movie.
While it is true that human characters were the only ones who smoked in The Muppet Movie, the Muppet universe is anything but a smoke-free environment, as Muppet characters are sometimes seen smoking as part of a role they are playing, for celebratory purposes, or other reasons. Here is a list of characters -- both human and Muppet -- who have been seen smoking in Muppet and Henson productions.
CigarettesMuppets Black Rooster in The Muppet Show episode 220 Bobby Benson Grump in the Sesame Street Pitch Reel Harry the Hipster Dr. Julius Strangepork while singing Cigarettes and Whiskey in The Muppet Show episode 219 Assorted Whatnot Muppets during the "Roaring 20s" sketch in The Muppet Show episode 505 Taminella Grinderfall as the French artist in Tales of the Tinkerdee A Frackle in The Jim Henson Hour episode 103. Jacques Roach in episode 112 of The Jim Henson Hour Humans Jerry Juhl smokes a pipe in Wilson's Meats Meeting Films C.O.V.N.E.T. Guard in Muppets from Space is reprimanded by an invisible Pepe the King Prawn stating that "smoking is very, very bad for you, hokay" Rich Little in The Muppet Show episode 204 while impersonating Humphrey Bogart Marty Feldman in The Muppet Show episode 518 Señor Wences in The Muppet Show episode 508 Elliott Gould in Out to Lunch Cigars Muppets Wontkins in the "Exploding Cigar" Wilkins commercial King Goshposh Statler smokes a cigar in episode 101 of The Muppet Show; it explodes just after Waldorf comments that "explosions aren't funny" but just before he notes that "some of them are really quite droll." J. P. Grosse Kermit is given an unlit cigar by Fozzie in episode 303 of The Muppet Show; he spits it out after a few seconds. Bugsy Them Burlington Bertie Fozzie Bear shares an unlit cigar with Lew Grade at the Variety Club of Great Britain Show Business Awards luncheon on February 7, 1978. In episode 412 of The Muppet Show, Billy the Bear stuffs a cigar into Fozzie's mouth that promptly explodes in his face. Humans Cosmo Scam (as handed to him by Snarl the "cigar box Frackle") George Burns Lew Lord in The Muppet Movie (cigar supplied by Philip Morris) Martin chomps on a cigar in Muppets from Space. Backstage, a sign reads "positively no smoking." In "Workin' at the Car Wash Blues" Gonzo sings, "a man of my ability should be smokin' on a big cigar." Pipes Muppets Ernie as Old King Cole calls for his pipe in a sketch, but it turns out to be for blowing bubbles. An Old King Cole Anything Muppet calls for his pipe in a Sesame Street News Flash. He quickly puts it away when he starts coughing, concluding that smoking is not healthy. Alistair Cookie holds a pipe in some early Monsterpiece Theatre sketches, but he generally eats it instead of smoking it. Mr. Chatterly held a pipe in the Alphabet Chat segments. Pepe the King Prawn takes a puff of Craig Ferguson's pipe durring a December 2005 appearance on The Late Late Show. Animation Baby Bunsen carries a pipe in a fantasy as Sherlock Holmes in the Muppet Babies episode "The Muppet Broadcasting Company." He re-assures Baby Beaker that smoking is unhealthy, however, and that he only blows bubbles.
Other Muppets Wisss smokes craters in The Land of Gorch Floyd Pepper smoked a hookah in The Muppet Show episode 506 as the caterpillar. In the At the Dance sketch in episode 101 of The Muppet Show, Flower-Eating Monster asks his dancing partner whether she would mind if he smoked. When she says no, smoke literally started to billow from his head and spread across the dance floor. When the Electric Nose Warmer begins to smoke from overheating, Bunsen warns Beaker that smoking is bad for your health.