Is the Smoker Back in Los Angeles?

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Watching movie stars from the beginning of hollywood history is glamorous – we don’t cringe at Bette Davis smoking like a chimney because we know that back then people didn’t know what they were doing to their health. But today we know better, right? Apparently not. On Sunday evening I went to a screening for a short film by Jason Lee at the Raleigh Studios (Chaplin Theater, naturally) and both while we waited to go inside and while we waited outside afterwards, I was shocked at how many people were lighting up. And this is young hollywood. I’m used to smoking when I go to Chicago or art fairs/openings (where people are miserable or stressed out or European) but has the casual smoking amongst young people in Los Angeles really come back in so much full force?

Note: the image is from a Tacky Times article featuring old hollywood ads about smoking. Hot…or not. (click image to read the text).

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11 Replies to “Is the Smoker Back in Los Angeles?”

  1. Based on my experience, yes, it is back in a big way. (though I have little historical perspective on smoking in LA as I have been here only 2 years.)

  2. Forgive the plug, but I made a stupid short film about people in the entertainment industry lighting up. (How to Quit: A Truepictures Mockumentary) which is available on my Web site.

    The main reason people in Hollywood light up more than any others is simple – there is a LOT of waiting around in between shots. Cigarettes are addictive. It’s easier to strike up a new networking contact while you’re waiting in between shots and smoke a cigarette.

    Given all of this, I abhor cigarette smoking and do not condone it – hence the violent short video I created with some friends.

  3. Yeah its back even more so than before due to the ban. Especially in “open” public areas. I dont mind it even though im not a smoker.

    People should be allowed the freedom to smoke. We inhale worse stuff in LA’s air already.

    If this shocks you, you should see the youth in Australia. They smoke like its going out of style. But this is like anything that gets barred or banned in certain aspects.

  4. It’s totally back, especially with the hipsters. There’s a nihilistic “fuck it all” kinda spirit on the eastside that I gotta say just makes you wanna destroy your lungs. And your liver. It’s kinda sad. It’s like everyone fully plans on dying of an overdose or in a terrorist attack before they’re 35, so who gives a shit?

    I don’t smoke. Most of my friends smoke like chimneys. I’ve become so conditioned to smelling smoke while I’m having fun with my friends, that if I’m having fun ~without~ smokers around, I find myself thinking “A cigarette would be really great right now.” And I don’t even smoke! That’s how addictive it is!

  5. I don’t care if people smoke, I’m just surprised at how many young people in LA DO smoke. Europe or Australia don’t count as a smoking examples – anyone with half a skull knows those suckers smoke like there’s no tomorrow! Ever drive past the international terminal at LAX?

  6. This is not a uniquely LA phenomenon so I don’t think the waiting on set explanation applies to more than a relative handful of people. Up here in Seattle we have a smoking ban that makes yours look liberal. I quit smoking ages ago and have no desire to get back to it myself. I look at the clumps of people standing outside bars smoking and I expect them to mostly be people my age (late 30s) or older and I’m shocked at how many of them are young people. Washington state has a very low percentage of smokers in the general population (I don’t have a cite, but offhand I remember studies suggesting that 90 percent of our population is non-smoking) and we’ve had really tough restrictions on sales of cigarettes and tons of smoking prevention programs for just ages now, so I’m really unsure where all the youthful smoking is coming from.

  7. Oh, I get it. This is one of those “the youth of today should know better” bits. I say, “why should today be different than any other day?” All of the old folk try to say, “Oh, we didn’t know any better and the tobacco companies took advantage of us.” Come on! You would have to be crazy to think that sucking smoke into your lungs is a healthy thing, regardless of your age or what information you were given about smoking. I don’t like the trend of older folks using ignorance to absolve themselves from the guilt of doing something that they KNEW wasn’t healthy while also pointing the TSK TSK finger at younger people who make the same choices. Let everyone who chooses to smoke enjoy their cigarettes. Amen!

  8. You’re crazy – how did you get that out of this post? I was comparing someone smoking in the 1920s (Bette Davis is dead) to someone today who should know better. I don’t care who smokes but it’s still shocking that young people (and I’m young) choose to do it.

  9. The stupid draconian efforts towards criminalization of smoking have had the exact opposite effect: Smoking is again Totally Badass and a real neat way to piss people off. What could be better?

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