Tobacco use in episodic programming is rising
September 5, 2019 8:57 PM   Subscribe

The popularity of streaming combined with the pervasive rise of smoking in episodic content points to an emerging threat to a new generation of Young Americans. Truth Initiative® first reported on this issue in 2018 with the study “While You Were Streaming: Tobacco Use Sees a Renormalization in On-Demand Digital Content, Diluting Progress in Broadcast & Theaters.” In the year since then, the danger has only grown. While you were streaming: smoking on demand. Netflix adopts a new smoking policy in response to Stranger Things backlash (Decider)
posted by filthy light thief (114 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
People who thought Stranger Things was bad should try watching Gavin and Stacey.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 9:06 PM on September 5


Fuller House? Really?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:12 PM on September 5


Three words: Turner Classic Movies
posted by hippybear at 9:13 PM on September 5 [15 favorites]


I have been re-reading Roger Zelazny's Amber series, and one of the things that jumped out at me was how much smoking there was in the books.

I do remember the 1970s, with cigarette machines everywhere, smoking sections in restaurants, etc, but it was weird to have so much of it in a book.
posted by fings at 9:22 PM on September 5 [6 favorites]


ohhhh this was 2015-2016. i guess they hadn't taken Mindhunter into account yet?

smoking does NOTHING for me but dang i sometimes feel like it will make me look cool (i'm 41 okay give me a break) and watching Mindhunter makes me want to try it again just to double check that i still hate it
posted by capnsue at 9:51 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I guess Russian Doll wasn't out yet when they wrote this.
posted by vanitas at 9:51 PM on September 5 [15 favorites]


Russian Doll is very smokey. I noticed this even with one watch.
posted by hippybear at 9:54 PM on September 5 [1 favorite]


I do remember the 1970s, with cigarette machines everywhere,

quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, pull handle
posted by hippybear at 10:09 PM on September 5 [23 favorites]


I’m grinding through the BBC adaptation of The City & The City, which I guess Mièville had creative input on, and oh lordy, the repulsive smoking. I think they were going for some sort of homage to Tarkovsky, like, The Zone and Solaris b/w Blade Runner, but mostly it’s kinda dull. Sorry China. The ensmokage is not really engaging.
posted by mwhybark at 10:10 PM on September 5 [3 favorites]


Reference to "tobacco use" rather than "smoking" charmingly had me imagining a massive uptick in chewing tobacco in Netflix Originals.

At least nobody's made vaping look cool yet, right?
posted by ominous_paws at 10:25 PM on September 5 [7 favorites]


I once 2-3 years ago saw vaping described as "mouth fedora".

So, no. Nobody has ever made it look cool.
posted by hippybear at 10:27 PM on September 5 [83 favorites]


unless 1.) the depiction unambiguously reflects the dangers and consequences of tobacco use, or 2.) the depiction represents the tobacco use of an actual person, as in a biographical drama or documentary
I like this distinction/exemption but it seems restrictive to keep it to *actual* people. It seems to me that depicting smoking habits generally, particularly in places where it's now socially unacceptable or illegal, like restaurants, on planes, can be a useful way of evoking the past (Stranger Things is full of more or less blatant signals to The Eighties like this). Or it seems legitimate to evoke a sinister atmosphere, or flag a villain, as in the X-Files.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:55 PM on September 5 [12 favorites]


quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, pull handle

I remember, back in the late 1980s or early 1990s, seeing a cigarette vending machine in a restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA, and it was a pretty decent place, not a dive bar.


Reference to "tobacco use" rather than "smoking" charmingly had me imagining a massive uptick in chewing tobacco in Netflix Originals.

That's in part to how "tobacco use" is coded for this report:
Researchers viewed more than 400 episodes and 350 hours of programming to document tobacco depictions. Each image of a cigarette pack or individual product was counted as a separate incident — even if multiple packs or products were shown in the same scene.
So people don't actively need to be smoking, it could simply be the appearance of a cigarette pack.


In (un)related news: How quitting tobacco reshaped CVS: Q&A with CEO Larry Merlo (USA Today, marking 5 years since CVS decided to focus on being a healthcare-focused company and stopped selling tobacco). The presence or lack of tobacco products in public spaces, and in media, shape culture, perception, and public use. In light of that, Netflix's statement on tobacco products in its original content is ... interesting:
“Netflix strongly supports artistic expression. We also recognize that smoking is harmful and when portrayed positively on screen can adversely influence young people,” a spokesperson from Netflix told EW in a statement. “Going forward, all new projects that we commission with ratings of TV-14 or below for series or PG-13 or below for films, will be smoking and e-cigarette free — except for reasons of historical or factual accuracy.”
"Evoking the past" means "playing on a love for nostalgia," which is pretty notable in a number of Netflix original productions. Also, Netflix doesn't seem to abide by Truth Initiative's coding of tobacco products, as compared to actively smoking, at least as reported above.

In other words, it sounds like Netflix is giving themselves a number of easy outs -- "They're not smoking, they're just holding cigarettes and looking super cool." -- "OK, so they're smoking, but it's the 1980s [or any decade prior], and all the cool people did it then."
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


fuckin gandalf got me started on the pipe weed and ive been a slave to the leaf since
posted by um at 11:04 PM on September 5 [81 favorites]


Similar to Zelazny and tobacco, there are many references to snuff and snuff boxes in fiction from when it was dominant, e.g. Nikolai Gogol. I'm not sure whether their presence reflect the authors' preoccupations with the drug or if they are attempting to illustrate how ubiquitous the drug is in their setting, perhaps both.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 11:08 PM on September 5 [2 favorites]


Tobacco use in episodic programming

*Blows a puff of introspective smoke* Now that's a phrase I've not heard in a long time....
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:36 PM on September 5 [5 favorites]


quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, pull handle

Kids these days. The routine was: fold 65 pizza boxes between us, get paid a penny a box out of petty cash, and then quarter, quarter, dime, nickel, pull handle.
posted by pracowity at 12:01 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


One thing I'm not seeing in this is whether smoking rates among young people are rising. It's reasonable to argue that young people exposed to tobacco use in media tend to smoke more, but are we seeing any kind of corresponding rise in the number of young smokers? Are there other factors that influence smoking that might be more significant (like how socially acceptable it is)? My perception is that smoking is way less common than it was when I was younger, and is often outright not socially acceptable anymore, where in the past it was encouraged. But that's anecdotal, so I'd be interested in knowing what data's out there.

Vaping, on the other hand. I'm honestly much more worried about vaping than tobacco use. Packs of cigarettes are one thing, but I feel like Juul has done way more damage in recent years than depictions of smoking on TV. Last I heard, Juul and whatnot were still pretty trendy, and now you've got 15 year olds addicted to nicotine.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:03 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


At least nobody's made vaping look cool yet, right?--ominous_paws

Oh they definitely have. Vaping is becoming very popular among a fast increasing percentage of high schoolers, and they watch each other's social networks for cues to be cool. And there's often more addictive nicotine than in cigarettes, so this is self-perpetuating.

As someone who grew up in the heavily smoke filled rooms of the 70s, finally able to breath again in the 00s, this is a very disturbing trend.
posted by eye of newt at 12:05 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


shapes that haunt the dusk, the first link mentions:
With a 78% increase in use among high school students and a 48% increase among middle school students from 2017 to 2018, the U.S. surgeon general has officially recognized youth vaping as a widespread epidemic. and young people who vape are four times more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes
posted by eye of newt at 12:07 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


Like I said, the article CLEARLY doesn't mention these statistics, and my reading comprehension is PERFECT.

(Thanks for pointing that out)
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:13 AM on September 6 [12 favorites]


Fuller House? Really?

In a survey of 750 youth/young adults who filled out a survey online for the spiritual successor of "this is your brain on drugs" the second most popular Netflix show was Fuller House, seasons 2 and 3. Apparently it doesn't really pick up until the second season.

Also, for those who were confused reading that Fuller House was mentioned, it's just that it was listed as being popular by young people who fill out online surveys for the government's anti-smoking campaign, not that it features tobacco.
posted by I paid money to offer this... insight? at 12:22 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Read title as "tobasco use," got excited about niche study strongly related to my interests, am disappoint.
posted by CheeseLouise at 2:23 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


As an ex-smoker, Chernobyl was hard. The actors really nailed the affect of a person who believes in their cigarettes.
posted by thelonius at 2:31 AM on September 6 [22 favorites]


Gosh, the next thing you know, they'll be blaming video games for increasing violence in society.
posted by fairmettle at 2:56 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, pull handle


I saw a cigarette machine in a bar last year here in Pittsburgh. We still have bars that allow smoking.
posted by octothorpe at 3:25 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Sounds like a bunch of fearful, paternalistic claptrap. I don't smoke and do not long for the days of coming home with my hair reeking of cigarettes, but I don't see any laws changing to open up more smoking areas or anything.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 3:25 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Couldn't this be neutralised by putting smoking in video games?
posted by thelonius at 3:37 AM on September 6 [13 favorites]


All the data I've seen is that smoking rates among high schoolers has decreased dramatically over the last 25 years and continues to decline, albeit at a slower rate. e-cig use has increased but when you start from zero that's kinda hard to avoid. But it looks to me like e-cig use is mostly cannibalizing people who would have started smoking anyway given that overall rates continue to go down.

Vaping... yeah that's a different story. Don't vape, kids. Go back to getting high on pot and adderall like you used to. It's how your parents did it, it's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.
posted by Justinian at 3:43 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Wait, e-cigs and vapes are different things?
posted by Bugbread at 3:52 AM on September 6


I thought all vapes were e-cigarettes but not all e-cigarettes were vaporizers? Have I been confused all this time?
posted by Justinian at 3:56 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I was tempted to buy a cigarette from a vending machine in mexico city recently, not because i wanted to smoke it but bc of the novelty of the machine (it dispensed loosies!).

but also:

At least nobody's made vaping look cool yet, right?

Yesterday, on buzzfeed: How I Went From Nonsmoker To Craven Juul Addict
User data from people who ordered pods from its website is being passed to a political PR agency to help fight state regulations.


Juul very much would like you (and your nice local government officials) to know that Juul products are made to help adult smokers quit cigarettes, and certainly are not a fun awesome delicious vapey stick that makes teens look cool and badass. It is not surprising that the company wants its advertisements to feature stories from real people gushing about how they were never able to quit smoking and were so happy to switch to something safer.

But that is not my “success story.” In fact, my story is exactly what Juul doesn’t want to hear. I wasn’t a smoker before I first bought a Juul. I bought a Juul because, as a thirtysomething, I wanted to do what the cool young people were doing. I started juuling because juuling is a meme, and I wanted in. Celebs do it! Look at Sophie Turner — we stan a vape queen!


Emphasis mine.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 4:39 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Juul products are made to help adult smokers quit cigarettes

Quitting viq e-cigs did not work at all for me - it just reminded me that I wanted the real thing. And, from what I have read, it may well be that a Juul gives a smoker more nicotine than they were getting from their Camel Lights or what have you. If you want to quit via vaping, I don't think this is the way to go; the thing where you can taper off the amount of nicotine in your "vape juice" (why is that such a repulsive term?) seems like a better plan.
posted by thelonius at 4:56 AM on September 6


I saw a cigarette machine in a bar last year here in Pittsburgh.           $9.00- that's a lot of quarter, quarter, quarter...
I haven't bought any cigarettes this century, so that's kind of a shock. I bought my first pack (Pall Mall kings) out of a machine for 35¢. There's some nostalgia. (Although with inflation, that would be around $2.69 these days)
I never believed much in the idea that the media was to blame. Joe Camel didn't make smoking cool- smoking is inherently cool (until it isn't anymore).
I'm much more concerned about re-normalization of fascism than of smoking.
posted by MtDewd at 4:57 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


Raising the cost of cigarettes to the current astronomical prices have to be considered some sort of success story right?

I was one of those kids in the late 70s whose mom would give me $1.00 and send me down to the corner store to buy a pack of Marlboros. It cost 0.75 cents so I could keep the change and buy a candy bar.

I had to go back and check the stats because this felt like a fever dream: but yep. Both my parents smoked and I remember them being pissed when the price jumped to $1.00.

Me too. No more candy bars for me.
posted by jeremias at 5:10 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


I saw a cigarette machine in a bar last year here in Pittsburgh. We still have bars that allow smoking.

I remember when these machines were EVERYWHERE. God, I'm so fucking old. I remember these being in our Texas version of Chuck E Cheese, an arcade/pizza/entertainment zone called Pistol Petes. Legit, right next to the skee-ball machines was one of these cigarette dispensers for the parents/adults in the room.

I don't miss having to ask for a non-smoking section of the restaurant. There is something about smoking in film & television that adds to character and aesthetic, but the reality is that it kind of sucks and your mouth tastes like garbage.
posted by Fizz at 5:22 AM on September 6 [6 favorites]


Vaping is a way for mediocre men to "give up cigarettes" while still taking up as much or more public space as they did smoking.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:31 AM on September 6 [9 favorites]


Smoking portrayals are the one time smellovision would be a good thing. No matter how cool it looks, kids, smoking smells like ass and that smell sticks right to you 24/7
posted by emjaybee at 5:46 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


I don't miss having to ask for a non-smoking section of the restaurant.

Or the airplane.
posted by thelonius at 5:48 AM on September 6 [14 favorites]


I don't miss having to ask for a non-smoking section of the restaurant. There is something about smoking in film & television that adds to character and aesthetic, but the reality is that it kind of sucks and your mouth tastes like garbage.
I remember that growing up in California, but we didn’t go out to eat all that often before it was banned entirely. Then we went to Spain for New Years, arriving right before Andalusia’s ban took effect. The first couple days were a stark reminder of how unpleasant smoking makes the surrounding area.
posted by adamsc at 6:10 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I'm old enough to remember one little greasy spoon cafe in central London's Charing Cross Road which sold cigarettes singly for down-on-their-luck customers. They kept them stacked upright in a glass behind the counter. This would be the late eighties/early nineties.
posted by Paul Slade at 6:10 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


bad news for the new netflix original "10 hours of smoking and shitty writing"
posted by Bwentman at 6:11 AM on September 6 [6 favorites]


These days I know or even just see almost no one who still smokes tobacco here in my middle to upper-middle class bubble.* When I am on construction sites and in other settings like that, it's a different story with most people using either chew or cigarettes. On the sidewalks and at bus stops I see young people (and the occasional Gen-X-aged person) vaping all the time; just from what I see, that seems to be still increasing and doesn't appear to be stigmatized at all.

I am old enough to remember the days of smoking everywhere (airplanes, restaurants, offices, etc) and I don't miss it at all. So I get the shows set in past decades that are trying to evoke that time using smoking as a signifier. Anything set more contemporary, though, I tend to look at more critically, since it is so much rarer now.

* There are a few people in my office building who smoke; by law they just need to be ~25 feet from the entrance I believe, but all of them walk well out of sight before lighting up. I don't know if that is because something was said at some point, or just from some general sense of social pressure to keep it far away, but it is such a reversal from when I was younger.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:13 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I arrived in Pittsburgh just after the cigarette machines had been removed from the college dorms, but while you could still buy packs of cigarettes at the campus store. (Or, depending on how enterprising the staff were that day, possibly individual smokes from open packs, if you were particularly broke.) I do still know exactly one restaurant/bar that has the machine still, though it looks like it's a different one than the one Octothorpe ran into. (The Sharpsburg location of Silky's, for the curious. Sit out on the patio, since the river view is the primary and maybe only thing that place has going for it, but it really is a nice view.)

It's always startling to me these days when I watch an older show and see how much on-screen smoking used to read as totally normal to me. Doesn't particularly make me want to run out and get a pack of smokes, having given that up a solid 15 years or so ago, but it does make me remember how much James Marsters hated the herbal cigarettes he was forever smoking on the Buffy set, and used to complain about them in interviews.

I'm saving the new Dark Crystal series to watch on a long airplane ride next week, and now I'm just going to sort of mentally assume all the Skeksis are smoking just off-screen all the time.
posted by Stacey at 6:21 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


bad news for the new netflix original "10 hours of smoking and shitty writing"

Thank God even Netflix turned up its nose at "10 hours of shitting and smoky writing"
posted by biffa at 6:23 AM on September 6 [9 favorites]


But that is not my “success story.” In fact, my story is exactly what Juul doesn’t want to hear. I wasn’t a smoker before I first bought a Juul. I bought a Juul because, as a thirtysomething, I wanted to do what the cool young people were doing. I started juuling because juuling is a meme, and I wanted in. Celebs do it! Look at Sophie Turner — we stan a vape queen!

That is one of the saddest paragraphs I've ever encountered.
posted by Caduceus at 6:35 AM on September 6 [21 favorites]


MetaFilter: we stan a vape queen
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:38 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Since Pittsburgh was mentioned, I'd just like to give a shout-out to Pamela's, Mad Mex, the Attic, the Squirrel Cage, the 61C and the O. Also that bar on Forbes near Craig that served $4 pitchers of Yeungling in the 90's on Thursday nights and which closed within the last couple of years. And furthermore, Silky's Crow's Nest, which now that I've looked it up pretty much has to be that "bar across the bridge" that I went to so many times.
posted by grumpybear69 at 6:41 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Also, for those who were confused reading that Fuller House was mentioned, it's just that it was listed as being popular by young people who fill out online surveys for the government's anti-smoking campaign, not that it features tobacco.

Oh, ok, I thought it suddenly featured a tonne of smoking. I've actually..uhh...watched the first two seasons. I never noticed any smoking that I could recall and was very surprised it would be one of the top smoking-showing shows, which is what I thought I was reading.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:49 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


I can think of at least two bars in Rochester, NY that have active cigarette machines, maybe three, although smoking is not allowed in bars in NYS, unless you run a bar specifically dedicated to smoking ("Cigar bar") of which there is one.
posted by oflinkey at 6:51 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


My own flirtations with smoking probably were rooted in the smoking culture that was still pretty strong in the seventies, but really started to wither away in the eighties. I think that we were starting to get the news that it was not really good for you, what with the obligatory warnings on cigarette packs, but it was still pretty strong among people who wanted to look cool, people who hung out in bars a lot (where there was so much second-hand smoke that you were basically smoking anyway), working-class people, and anyone who'd been in the military, which had cigarettes included in their ration packs until the mid-seventies. Of the four different families that I lived in by the time I was eighteen (my childhood was complicated), there was one adult smoker, and she had quit by the late eighties. I lived in a group home for a while, and almost all the other kids smoked; one of them tried to teach me to smoke, and thankfully I failed at that. The kids in the group home could spend their allowance on cigarettes, and could buy them from a local bar. (I shared that with a younger person a few years ago, and they simply refused to believe me, even when I allowed that it might not have been strictly legal.) Some of the kids also played a version of chicken in which they put their forearms together and laid a lit cigarette between them; the person who pulled away first lost. Some of the kids had scars approximately the length of a cigarette minus the filter. Needless to say, these kids also ruled the smoking section outside the high school, something else that I'm not sure that modern youth believe was actually a thing.

So, I tried getting into little cigars in college in the eighties, and kept it up for a while, until I realized what a tool I looked like. I would occasionally have a cigar, which fit in OK with my growing interest in drinking, bars being one of the last places that allowed smoking inside. (So did AA meetings, I eventually found out; the first meeting that I went to had a visible stratum of cigarette smoke near the ceiling.) Even that went away, of course.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:56 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


>They kept them stacked upright in a glass behind the counter. This would be the late eighties/early nineties.

When I was at secondary school, the newsagent close by thoughtfully stocked his cigs in this way, to ensure that the younger folks' buying power was adequate...
posted by Myeral at 7:04 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


All ecigs are vapes but not all vapes are ecigs. I'm 88 days cigarette free via vaping after 10 years smoking (plus another 15 years on and off) and it's been easier than anything else. I hate juul. Gonna ruin it for everyone.

Mindhunter was tough to binge and Chernobyl was even harder. But it definitely set the scene.
posted by kanata at 7:05 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


I am getting sweats just remembering what the back of a Greyhound Bus smelled like in the early 80's.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 7:23 AM on September 6 [7 favorites]


My high school got rid of its (student) smoking area in 1989.
posted by Quonab at 7:28 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


>They kept them stacked upright in a glass behind the counter. This would be the late eighties/early nineties.

> When I was at secondary school, the newsagent close by thoughtfully stocked his cigs in this way, to ensure that
> the younger folks' buying power was adequate...

Did this go away where you are due to social pressure or by law? Here in Ontario they made single-cigarette sales illegal just for that reason (plus the lost tax revenue because they'd often come from packs sold on a nearby First Nations reserve). Out of curiosity, are we peculiar in doing that or are loosies outright banned elsewhere too?
posted by Quindar Beep at 7:32 AM on September 6


I may just be getting too far into my thirties, but at this stage in life if you're juuling to be cool or using the "we stan" construction, please take a step back and consider a few things. It's OK. Come inside with us. We have ovaltine and slippers.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:34 AM on September 6 [21 favorites]


The Americans managed to make smoking look like the most miserable thing imaginable in it's last season, so good job there at least.
posted by ominous_paws at 7:36 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


My high school got rid of its (student) smoking area in 1989

It was still going at mine past 1993. There was a room where seniors could smoke INSIDE through at least 1986.
posted by metasarah at 7:40 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


The smoking in Chernobyl brought depth the setting, along with the constant vodka swilling. Plus, as a writer friend of mine once pointed out, cigarettes are symbols of death, so it added to the show's general aura of doom.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:40 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, quarter, pull handle

Seconding that these machines were everywhere when I grew up... and the handle was so satisfying to pull. And the boxes were so colorful and aspirational. No one (I mean no one) in my family smoked, and I never wanted to or wanted them to, but boy did I want to put money in and choose one and pull that handle the whole way. It's honestly amazing I never did.
posted by Mchelly at 7:44 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


I mean, it was literally entertainment for child-me while waiting for a table at a restaurant - standing at the cigarette machine, pulling all the handles just to see what would happen. Maybe why slightly-older-me loved pinball so much.
posted by Mchelly at 7:46 AM on September 6 [3 favorites]


I was one of those folks smoking on the back of the Greyhound, especially the ride home from State College after my girlfriend broke up with me. (I had stopped smoking for her so...)
Also the back of the plane and the movie theater. I don't miss the smoking, but I do like the smell. That will probably not go away. When I was working with smokers I would go outside sometimes for some good old secondhand smoke.

I was watching an old episode of 77 Sunset Strip yesterday on YT, and they were constantly smoking. Then the commercial break with a couple having a lovely stroll in nature, both smoking Salems.
I guess smoking should be allowed in black & white, but not in color.
posted by MtDewd at 7:47 AM on September 6


I may just be getting too far into my thirties, but at this stage in life if you're juuling to be cool or using the "we stan" construction, please take a step back and consider a few things.

Just jumping back in to defend my older millenial kinfolk - the Eminem album the word comes from came out 19 years ago, the Nas track that used it for the first time is old enough . . . to juul.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:53 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Last time I was at the European Parliament in Brussels they had a glass room in the main atrium where the smokers could go. The atmosphere looked pretty unpleasant in there. Though it didn't compare with the smoking carriage on a Norwegian long distance train I went on in the 1990s, which was utterly vile.
posted by biffa at 7:54 AM on September 6


the Nas track that used it for the first time is old enough . . . to juul.

Now I kinda want to make a post about the Nas/Jay-Z beef.
posted by box at 8:02 AM on September 6


Quonab: "My high school got rid of its (student) smoking area in 1989."

Ours burnt down when I was in school in the early eighties and they never rebuilt it. It was sort of like a big wooden bus shelter closed on three sides. I was a skinny nerd and never dared to go in there.
posted by octothorpe at 8:05 AM on September 6


All the retro stuff like Stranger Things and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood have to have smoking if they want to appear authentic. And that makes some sense. But no one (in the Western World) is glorifying smoking in modern movies and TV are they?
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:08 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


old enough . . . to juul.

Not for the first time I wish they'd gone with

THERE IS NO SMOKING ONLY JUUL

As their marketing tagline
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:25 AM on September 6 [29 favorites]


Liquidwolf: "All the retro stuff like Stranger Things and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood have to have smoking if they want to appear authentic. And that makes some sense. But no one (in the Western World) is glorifying smoking in modern movies and TV are they?"

If anything, they downplay the smoking from those eras. I don't think that there's a picture of my parents without cigarettes from 1950 through the 90s. They have smokes in hand in the picture of them coming out of the church from their wedding.
posted by octothorpe at 8:28 AM on September 6 [10 favorites]


They have smokes in hand in the picture of them coming out of the church from their wedding.

In my head the priest said "you may now kiss the bride, and then light your L&Ms!"
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:33 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


They have smokes in hand in the picture of them coming out of the church from their wedding.

Yeah I'm well old enough to remember the smoking world. But wow, coming-out of the church from their wedding holding smokes!? It's almost as if smokers back then thought that regular oxygen was harmful to their health.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:35 AM on September 6


Just visited Asheville, NC for the first time last week.

The Ashevillians enjoy their tobacco use and friendly dogs in wonderful beer gardens (slightly perfumed by patchouli.)

Was pleasantly surprised to find an Art-o-mat at our hotel's rooftop bar.
posted by art.bikes at 8:37 AM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Liquidwolf: "They have smokes in hand in the picture of them coming out of the church from their wedding.

Yeah I'm well old enough to remember the smoking world. But wow, coming-out of the church from their wedding holding smokes!? It's almost as if smokers back then thought that regular oxygen was harmful to their health.
"

You mean like lighting a new one from the ember of the last one?
posted by octothorpe at 8:40 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


the handle was so satisfying to pull

oh yes it was
posted by thelonius at 8:56 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I went to two schools (and a college) that had indoor smoking rooms for students. And every school I went to from elementary onward had a teachers’ lounge that was completely smoke-filled.

I never had a teacher who smoked in class, though, I think that ended just before my time.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:00 AM on September 6


I used to joke that’s how you knew who the cool characters were in movies.

But really, I’ve never wanted to smoke because of tv or movies or even despite growing up in a smoking family.

I have however wanted to be ridiculously filthy rich and have questionable morals based on what I see in tv shows and movies.
posted by sio42 at 9:03 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


What bothers me about Stranger Things playing up 80s tropes is that kids riding bikes is almost equated with adults smoking in the office. Sure, that was behavior we allowed then. Now we know better and chauffeur our kids around in smoke-free SUVs.
posted by St. Oops at 9:05 AM on September 6 [4 favorites]


My workplace had CIGAR machines back in the day. Forget cigarettes, you could buy your White Owls, Dutch Masters, or those nasty twisted things soaked in fruit flavor. I think they also had packs of pipe tobacco for those who preferred alternate stench. Further stench was provided by a coworker who smoked Gauloises (sp?).
posted by leaper at 9:13 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I strongly recommend searching for "cigarette ads" in Google Images. Hours of eye-boggling fun!
posted by Paul Slade at 9:34 AM on September 6


It will clear up those Elvis Costello titles for you too
posted by thelonius at 10:09 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I have a hazy (sorry) memory of a smoking area outside my middle school in '90-'91. You could got out and smoke with the teachers if you were over 16 (yes and still in middle school).

I live in the same town where I went to college and the difference in the number of college-age smokers is stark. The building where most of my classes were held would have a huge crowd of people smoking outside before and after classes. A year or so ago, it very much shocked me to see a student walk past the same building smoking a cigarette.

I believe that there is only one bar in town left, in which you can smoke, and only after a certain evening hour (9:00?).
posted by JennyJupiter at 10:11 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


> Did this go away where you are due to social pressure or by law?

Not sure if it did go away. A shop local to me still (albeit furtively) sells 'singles' to those who know the masonic handshake
posted by Myeral at 10:13 AM on September 6


e-cig use has increased but when you start from zero that's kinda hard to avoid. But it looks to me like e-cig use is mostly cannibalizing people who would have started smoking anyway given that overall rates continue to go down.

According to my kiddo, a quarter of her middle school classmates vape. I find it hard to believe that they would be smoking cigarettes if Juul wasn't available.
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:19 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


You mean like lighting a new one from the ember of the last one?

I quit smoking 8 years ago, but for whatever reason this made me briefly miss it.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:20 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


With regards to Zelazny, we know why he included so much smoking because he told us. He really, really, really, loved smoking, smoked all the time, thought smoking was great, and put it into his books because of how much he loved it.

Then he developed cardiovascular problems due to lifelong smoking and had to quit. His books written after that don't have smoking.

As for Netflix, yeah. I've noticed the massive uptick in smoking in their shows and it's not good at all. My kid is 13, he's had lung problems due to being premature, and he's been telling me about how cool vaping is and how he's going to get a vape pen as soon as he can. I told him that he could vape when he turned 21 if he wanted, and he said "ha ha, 21. Sure Dad." in that "fuck you I'm doing it and you can't stop me" way kids have.

So... Yeah. Fuck you entertainment industry for bringing back more goddamn smoking.

You know what? People shat in the 1980's. Yet somehow we don't have loving scenes of people taking a dump in the name of realism....
posted by sotonohito at 10:31 AM on September 6 [8 favorites]


You know what? People shat in the 1980's. Yet somehow we don't have loving scenes of people taking a dump in the name of realism..


Well yeah but.... not quite the same. Smoking was done in public. But I agree Hollywood should think about the impact of constantly showing it. It's stupid.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:57 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Pretty sure Hollywood did think about the impact of constantly showing it: they get money from the tobacco companies and that's the only impact they care about.
posted by sotonohito at 11:02 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


Do they get money from the sex companies or the blowing shit up companies? No. But people actually want to see that. Most people don't want to see someone take a dump onscreen.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:04 AM on September 6


> Out of curiosity, are we peculiar in doing that or are loosies outright banned elsewhere too?

It was the excuse Daniel Pantaleo used for killing Eric Garner in New York.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:13 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Peers on Facebook and I recently had a discussion about smoking at our high schools (mostly in the US). Some of us who went to high school in the late 1980s had smoking areas on campus, sometimes even where the teachers also smokedl; people who went to high school in the early 1990s were shocked that such a thing happened.

> These days I know or even just see almost no one who still smokes tobacco here in my middle to upper-middle class bubble.*

Same among me and my friends -- I can think of only two people my age-ish who I see smoking regularly. But I live on the same block as a subsidized housing apartment, and their smoking area has people in it any time I walk by.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:17 AM on September 6 [1 favorite]


At the Rod and Gun Club in Peden Barracks in 1966, it was just quarter, pull handle for my older brother. The danger and consequence of tobacco use was that he died of cancer 40 years later. But not a kind of cancer obviously related to smoking. It is a good thing that you would need a whole roll of quarters now days.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:51 AM on September 6


I graduated high school in 1988 and we could smoke anywhere on school grounds as long as we were outside. I used to smoke between every class. IIRC the teachers did the same. I quit in 2001 but I do still miss it sometimes.
posted by lyssabee at 12:22 PM on September 6


I'm much more concerned about re-normalization of fascism than of smoking.

Related: If fascists would go away, I'd find it much easier to quit smoking; it's a public health need.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:22 PM on September 6 [10 favorites]


To add to the list of Can You Imagine?! places we used to smoke...
My 'year' (Class of 19xx) in university got shafted in several ways by policy changes that came into effect just as we entered; old good things that were discontinued just before we got to them, and new bad things that we were the first to have to deal with.
But we (I in particular?) did luck out in that we were the last class cohort in which you were permitted to smoke during the oral defense of your dissertation.

(You write a big-ass college paper for the whole year, and three professors sit you down and academically interrogate you about it. How you do in this presentation affects whether or not you graduate.)
How did I get Honors for my defense? Probably by being permitted to sit down across from three faculty chairs, say "OK, let's talk shit about Hegel", and burn through almost a whole pack of Marlboro Reds over 2 or three hours. I still have the ashtray as a memorial object.
posted by bartleby at 12:28 PM on September 6 [13 favorites]


Also that bar on Forbes near Craig that served $4 pitchers of Yeungling in the 90's on Thursday nights and which closed within the last couple of years.

Phibar? Panther Hollow Inn?
posted by Arctic Circle at 12:39 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


I don't miss having to ask for a non-smoking section of the restaurant. There is something about smoking in film & television that adds to character and aesthetic, but the reality is that it kind of sucks and your mouth tastes like garbage.

My state was one of the last places in the country to restrict smoking. I wasn't a smoker, but every time I went out, my hair absolutely soaked up the smell. It's weird to remember getting home and trying to decide if I had the energy to wash my hair -- or whether I'd rather wake up the next morning to stale cigarette.
posted by grandiloquiet at 12:39 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


we need a soundtrack - joni mitchell

and brownsville station
posted by pyramid termite at 2:42 PM on September 6


they get money from the tobacco companies
Cite?
posted by neroli at 3:03 PM on September 6


"Get money" is of course wrong, but "got money" is correct. It hasn't been true since 1998, though, so that's 20+ years ago.
posted by Justinian at 3:23 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


Cashiers in Vancouver through the late 90's wouldn't bat an eye selling smokes to 15 yo's (although Provincial Liquor Stores gave a little more of a shit, but only a little) as most of them were smokers themselves. I think they got rid of the smoke pit in highschool when I was in grade 10, but would allow it across the street, much to the neighbours' consternations, and in the woods (a greenbelt separating the school from a commercial area beyond a creek).

I remember the ~3m dia. concrete planters in the pit being repurposed as giant ashtrays. The main reason they got rid of it was to convert/roof-over the central open yard into an internal space to increase sq ftage capacity.

Teachers tried to be "secret" smokers, but one math teacher (Hi Mr. Paulson!) didn't give a shit and would smoke in the woods with us kids. He's also been seen to take nips from a mickey of whiskey from his desk drawer during tests when our heads were supposed to be down. But then again, we also had a shop teacher who was forced to teach social studies who'd wing obnoxious kids on purpose with a thrown chalkboard eraser. To his credit, he'd yell "Look up, here's Rusty!" before launching. He'd on the regular surprise obnoxious kids during internal combustion engine section in shop by tricking them into putting their palms over a smarkplug while the IC was running and smushing their hands on the exposed sparkplug.

Private liberal arts college in small town Iowa '96-00; the mandated mealcard cafeteria (albeit catered by Marriott) had three open interconnected sections around a central kitchen/ buffet area. One of them was smoking permitted. It was fascinating to see the clear gradient and eddies of mingling of different social groups geographically dictated by the location of the smoking section. Throw in Social Groups (think frat/sorority lite) and you can see the feedback in how smoking shapes the composition and ethos and allegiances/ rivalries of each of those groups.

Over four years, there was significant evolution of the boundries and eddies, but always, the smoking section anchored one end. Maybe a Courts of Chaos vs Amber situation.

There was a scholarship kid with hustle; the gas station ~10 minutes walk away from the cafeteria sold cartons (of American Spirits, even) for $18. Kid would go buy a carton and would go around the tables selling packs for $2 each. Totally fair. He'd get a pack of smokes in exchange for 20 minutes and a lot of socializing during lunch/ dinner. $6/ hr for 1/3 hr of work plus unpaid time isn't great, but he enjoyed the socializing I assume.

I wish looseys were legal, or even individually packed cigarettes with government tax stamp and everything, to facilitate increased abstinence knowing that I could cheat rather than buy full packs and think of them as a regular thing.

As for depiction in media, as the recent past is receding ever more quickly into the ancient past, I think not showing smoking in era genre pieces - as a purely costuming/ set design consideration - would be like completely ignoring leaches and bloodletting or the sheer filth everywhere in historical era film. Or ignoring the smog in industrial London.

Would it be better if there were more frequent depictions of emphysema? I remember growing up with a lot more adults being on respirators/ oxygen tanks than I see these days.

Claws might be the only modern depiction that I can remember, and its played as a bit of a joke (one of the main villains is a sub-50's woman with an oxygen tank for emphysema due to a life long cigarette addiction, who uses it as an affectation).
posted by porpoise at 5:36 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


I just want to say that smoking in your rooms at my undergraduate college in the U.K. was still allowed when I graduated in 2005. I will happily consult for a Netflix series about pretentious twenty-year-olds in brutalist dorms drinking lukewarm canned beer and listening to Bob Dylan until hours at which I now often wake up to drive to work.
posted by sy at 6:23 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


we need a soundtrack - joni mitchell

One of the great smokers. I doubt she's quit, even now.
posted by thelonius at 6:37 PM on September 6


I met Joni Mitchell a couple times about 10-15 years ago, and on one occasion she was going on like "people say smoking is bad for you, but I've been doing it since I was a kid! And these are American Spirits, they're all natural! They're good for you!"
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 6:40 PM on September 6 [2 favorites]


> Some of us who went to high school in the late 1980s had smoking areas on campus, sometimes even where the teachers also smokedl; people who went to high school in the early 1990s were shocked that such a thing happened.

I'm curious when and how the switchover happened. I fit pretty squarely in the "Average MeFite" age bracket, but went to regular ole public high school from the late 1980s to the early 1990s in Texas, and having an area where students are allowed to smoke would have been absolutely unthinkable.
posted by Bugbread at 6:40 PM on September 6


My high school in Vancouver in the late 90s also had a smoke pit. It was a muddy incline and as I remember the justification for having it was to keep students from smoking in yards neighboring the school.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 6:53 PM on September 6


late 1980s to the early 1990s in Texas, and having an area where students are allowed to smoke would have been absolutely unthinkable.

Same. Late 80's/early 90's New Mexico, we had to go across the street from campus, though there were a few places behind various buildings that were out of sight out of mind.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:14 PM on September 6


I wanna be clear I could've/should've dropped that last sentence in the quote in my last comment and it still would have been the saddest. I was referring entirely to the 30-something admitting she started juuling to be cool like 20-somethings and nothing at all to do with the phrase 'stan a vape queen.' That's nothing to me.
posted by Caduceus at 10:08 PM on September 6


> I'm curious when and how the switchover happened.

It varied by school, of course, but it seems like a lot of us who graduated in 1988 or earlier had official smoking areas on campus (including some people from the UK). Slightly younger people had unofficial areas. More than a few years younger were shocked by the question.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:28 AM on September 7 [1 favorite]


Oh, and this was public and private schools, all around the country and some foreign bits.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:29 AM on September 7


In the late 90s in North Carolina, my high school had unofficial student smoking areas. The arty kids smoked cloves. In the early 2000s, my college dorm had a smoking table (picnic table with ashtrays around it) where the smokers would all gather. North Carolina didn’t ban smoking in bars and restaurants until 2010, so every time I went to see a band, the place would be thick with cigarette smoke. I generally felt like a prude for disliking the smoking, and even non-smoking friends accused me of being over-dramatic if the smoke made me cough. Again, this was as late as 2009.

The social rejection of smoking is still very recent, depending on where you live.
posted by snowmentality at 9:27 AM on September 9 [1 favorite]


I started smoking because of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction and, basically, 90s movies of that ilk (when we used to be able to buy Chesterfields in Australia), but also the example had long ago been set by my older brothers, all of whom smoked. I smoked my head off for 20 years and it was great. I managed to quit like 6 or so years back by switching to Swedish snus (after dabbling with vaping, which is rubbish).
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:11 PM on September 9


More than a few years younger were shocked by the question.
And older. I graduated high school in 1970, and we had no smoking area (except the bathroom, of course), were not allowed to smoke on campus, and were not allowed to leave the grounds.
The first time I heard about schools officially allowing kids smoking areas really surprised me. It may have been envy, or the lessening of the feeling of getting away with something, but even by 1970, everyone knew smoking was bad for you.
How can you say 'Just say no to drugs' and not include tobacco?
posted by MtDewd at 6:38 AM on September 10



Also that bar on Forbes near Craig that served $4 pitchers of Yeungling in the 90's on Thursday nights and which closed within the last couple of years.

Phibar? Panther Hollow Inn?


YES YES YES! That's the one. Thank you, Arctic Circle!
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:11 AM on September 11


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