The debate over the increasing regulation of tobacco smoking is still as hot as the end of a smooth, slow burning Marlborough, held loosely but firmly in the muscular grip of an old native American man. Yet one of the most pertinent arguments against regulation has been drowned out by the noise of the controversy. The ‘smoking is really cool’ lobby aims to ameliorate this state of affairs.
The ‘smoking is cool’ lobby certainly has its detractors. One medical professional told us “There’s nothing cool about dying a slow death from throat cancer. Except when you have one of those voice boxes that makes you sound like Darth Vader. That’s pretty fucking cool. Horribly depressing and painful, but cool.”
The lobby’s pamphlets closely resemble those of the anti-smoking lobby. Figures about the dangers of smoking are framed as evidence of its inherent badassery. “Smoking harms your health and the health of those around you,” reads one poster, “Much like being a member of the mafia or a stunt driver.” “Smoking kills,” reads another. “Like James Bond or Rambo.”
We visited a press conference held by the group. “Listen,” said Jack Reliance, the lobby spokesman, as he fielded questions while dressed in the motorcycle leathers that he wore as he arrived only seconds earlier on a gleaming Harley Davidson, “Regardless of the health implications and debate about government interference in family life…” He paused, took off his aviator sunglasses and lit a cigarette with a flip-top silver lighter and took a long drag, “This looks really cool, doesn’t it?” The room filled was a stunned silence before the collection of journalists burst into spontaneous applause and rushed the stage to lift Reliance onto their shoulders and carry him out of the room shouting “Smoking is cool! Smoking is cool!”