Cigarettes used to be a social object once. They had a symbolic meaning that was lost. The magic of smoke, the sexiness, the negative pleasure. as Kant would say...
I watched Mad Men where cigarettes play a major part and it made me think that cigarettes weren't always the public enemy that will make you suffer and die. I must admit I caught myself feeling like joining them and taking a cigarette.
It reminded me the times where I was just around twenties and smoked Gauloises and read Cortazar submerged in smoke and magic. I wasn't just smoking to calm down the urge or nicotine. I was smoking to make a statement. Going out to the club and taking my pack of Gauloises left no shadow of doubt that I belonged to the more artistic ones. Gauloises were French and decadent. Smoking them had a charm. Cigarettes communicated.
I can see the anti-nicotine knights raising their anti-cigarette swords at me. But whatever they say and even though that I don't smoke and I am aware that smoking isn't healthy for you, I think there is some magic in a cigarette.
Smoking cigarettes is a form of a social gesture, the coma you use to fill out the empty spaces of your life between pages of your beloved book, between words you write down in hope of writing the next Ulysses. It something that manifests who you are, the smoke adds magic and sex appeal to your person. Cigarettes gets you closer to other person when you lean forward towards the lighter and look into his eyes. Cigarettes give the feeling of release between words...
The today's society almost killed the magic by focusing on the deadly dangerous aspects (isn't there were appeal comes from for some). Smoking in public places gets forbidden in increasing number of countries. Yes, it is more pleasurable to go out ad come back home not stinking with the cigarette smoke. On the other hand, going outside to smoke distorts the dynamic of the conversations. The group gets split and the night becomes the chaotic collage of unconnected stories controlled by a cigarette, that's no longer an accessory but a major character. Cigarettes own the night.
Even though I am not a smoker, I enjoy once in a while the magic moment with a glass of red wine and a cigarette - suddenly the conversation gets a new dimension and becomes even more interesting :-)