James Bond can dodge bullets, but not second-hand smoke

He's survived countless attempts on his life, but James Bond can't escape one silent killer - second-hand smoke, according to a new New Zealand study.

The University of Otago study, published in the journal Tobacco Control on Tuesday, says while the fictional master spy seems to have quit smoking more than a decade ago, his enemies and love interests haven't.

Only one Bond film in the franchise's more than 50-year history was smoke-free - 2006's Casino Royale.

Bond has been smoke-free since 2002 in Kiwi director Lee Tamahori's Die Another Day, but his resolve wasn't matched by anyone else.

In his latest outing, 2015's Spectre, none of Daniel Craig's Bond's major associates smokes, but others did.

Researchers say that still added up to around 261 million 'tobacco impressions', one person seeing one instance of smoking, for 10-29 year olds in the US alone.

The study found 007's on-screen smoking peaked during the 1960s, lighting up in 83 percent of the Bond films produced that decade.

When he was a smoker, it took an average of 20 minutes from the start of the film for him to have his first cigarette.

His sexual partners in the decades since haven't been seen smoking, though his love interest in 2012's Skyfall does smoke.

They would have exposed the assassin to "considerable levels" of second-hand smoke, but they suggest the brief nature of his relationships would "at least curb some of the impact".

But if they didn't kill him with their smoking, nine of 60 tried more direct ways of trying to kill, maim or capture Bond.

The researchers, who studied the 24 Bond films, say the findings are concerning given the links between smoking in movies and teenagers starting the habit.

But while there have been some "favourable downward smoking related trends in this movie series, the persisting smoking content remains problematic from a public health perspective, especially given the popularity of the series," the study says.

Smoking and James Bond:

  • Smoking-related spy gadgetry peaked in the 1970s with appearances in 80 percent of films in that decade, but wasn't seen again after 1989
  • A number of films, You Only Live Twice (1967), The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), Moonraker (1979), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), all reference smoking being harmful
  • Cigarette branding appeared in Moonraker and 1989's Licence to Kill as part of a product placement deal.