The role of smoking in art

It’s morning and the sun is beating down. With a coffee in one hand you hold an un-lit cigarette in the other without even realizing your actions. You rest the cigarette lightly between your lips, spark the lighter, and let the familiar aroma fill the air as the smoke fills your lungs. Relaxation overwhelms your senses while you slowly let the smoke linger from your mouth while you exhale.

You weren’t always a smoker, in fact you could have sworn you would never put one of those cigarettes in your mouth, but alas, you find yourself unconsciously going through the motions like you were born with a pack of twenty in your hand.

In this day and age the mass media seems to shun anyone who is a smoker, yet everyday it seems like the butt-huts are still crowed. So what is the root behind this habit? Is Hollywood the one ultimately telling our youth that smoking will make you cool? Or is it something much more than that, and it will take a lot more than a few “ no stank you” commercials to really change the perception of smoking.

When smoking is shown in films, it drives people to pick up the habit, who wouldn’t want to be mysterious and sexy like so many smoking bad asses on the big screen?

One could use that as a plausible argument in the 1930’s and 40’s, when you couldn’t turn on the television, radio or open a newspaper with out having some sort of A-list celebrity telling you smoking was the cool thing to do.

But now it seems to be the opposite, with tons of antismoking commercials filling up the airwaves, our television screens are telling us smoking is in fact very uncool.

It’s a well known fact that smoking is addictive, harmful to one’s body, makes you smell bad and many more things, yet young people keep puffing away, and I think I know the reason. Regardless to how many times it is said and how many times teens deny it, the reason why our youth loves to smoke is because it looks cool.

Most men were once infatuated with the sophistication brought by smoking. The aesthetic of film noirs like Chinatown and Casablanca could not be genuine if Bogart and Nicholson weren’t smoking like chimney stacks. All that seemed to disappear overnight. Strangers to the 21st century would probably find the smoke huts a stranger sight than any art exhibition on campus.