Smoking is generally considered bad for you. Thus, smoking is portrayed by the villain, so as to drive home the AnviliciousAesop that Drugs Are Bad.
It is almost never portrayed as 'cool' in today's media, and even the Badass seems to be quitting the habit. In children's cartoons, it's perfectly acceptable for a villain to smoke, especially if they blow it in somebody's face, but the hero thinks it's a disgusting habit, or they may be trying to quit. Alternatively, a heavy smoker may be shown as extremely affected by the smoke to show how bad it is.
The rule is suspended under very specific conditions:
The smoker is someone wise or fatherly. This uses pipes.
The smoker isn't really smoking, but rather blowing bubbles from a Bubble Pipe or something like that.
The smoker is rich.
Also, what and how one smokes determines Good Smoking from Evil Smoking.
A cigarette holder, especially the long ones, is an Evil Smoking indicator, usually reserved for evil bitches ofallkinds. However, as symbols of class and elegance, a female using a cigarette holder could be either Good or Evil, depending on the time the work was made.
Male users of cigarette holders are always Evil unless they're The Pink Panther. Or FDR (or an Expy thereof), who is allowed to use the holder by means of the Grandfather Clause.note (FDR himself once explained to a child that he used a cigarette holder because "I promised my doctor that I would stay as far away as possible from a cigarette.")
A pipe is a Good Smoking indicator, usually reserved for grandfatherly gentlemen. If the character is younger, he is calm, collected and stoic, probably an intellectual, and probably a character in a period piece. A member of law enforcement, most often a detective (or Private Eye), is more likely to use a pipe in homage to a certain famous pipe-smoking detective. If they do, this also generally makes them a Good Smoker and not a Dirty Cop. If a woman smokes a pipe, she is inevitably old enough to be a grandmother, working class or dirt-poor and from a rural area.
The exception is East Asian women, if they're not Westernized enough to smoke cigarettes; while not being Westernized obviously often goes along with poverty and/or isolation, there is also a certain tendency in Asia for the wealthy, especially wealthy women, to stick to traditional dress and habits. Western customs were partly adopted as a business expedient, after all, and the alternative therefore has gained connotations of luxury and leisure.
Clove cigarettes are cool smoking. Alternately, they may be the sign of a pretentious hipster douchebag. Kind of like the Emo Kid version of Beard of Evil.
The character is The Stoner, and smoking is a part of their character. Of course in a lot of films with Stoners, The Stoner gets killed so smoking is very, very bad for you indeed...
Cigarillos are usually sleazy, low-level evil with a tendency to droop. Of course, there is Clint Eastwood.
Also an indicator of Evil Smoking is if they hold a cigarette in an unusual way. As Jim Jarmusch comments to Harvey Keitel in Blue In The Face:
Nazis in movies. Why do they always smoke in some weird way like this? (puts cigarette between middle and ring fingers and speaking in German accent) "Ve have vays of making you talk!" Or this (holds cigarette with thumb and index finger) "Jah, we have seen vhat you've done!"
One Piece: Smokers who are Luffy's allies, such as crew member Sanji, smoke cigarettes. Those who are his enemies are more often the ones with cigars.
The obviously named Smoker has cigars strapped to his arms like machine-gun rounds (they're edited out in the 4Kids dub of the anime). He's seen smoking two or three at once sometimes, and while he is more a rival than an enemy, it's meant to signify "Badass".
Sir Crocodile smoked huge cigars, and was THE antagonist of the Alabasta arc
Averted with Paulie, who's the only good character smoking cigars.
Asuma from Naruto met every condition for the suspension, he was even going to be a father soon. Shikamaru however didn't quite make the cut and thus, his smoking had to be censored in the anime. He carried a lighter with him that he turned on and off in the deceased Asuma's memory instead.
The hero from Space Adventure Cobra is a cigar smoker of the Badass variety. It is very rare to see him without a cigar in the mouth (though not always lighted). Note that his cigars often contains bondesque gadgets (like some allowing water-breathing).
The three main characters of Cowboy Bebop frequently smoke cigarettes, with all of them leaning towards good. This is never mentioned by anyone in the show, giving the audience the impression that smoking instead became more commonplace in the future. The aesthetics of the show come from 1970's. Smoking is a part of the image.
Lampshaded in an Adult Swim bumper that theorized that in the Cowboy Bebop universe, tobacco is classified as a food group.
Stein from Soul Eater is almost certainly a "badass" exception for good smoking. On the other hand, his addiction to cigarettes is also used as a metaphor for his insanity. So it's a mix of Evil Smoking and Evil Is Cool.
Yuuko of Xxx HO Li C smokes a great part of her time at home.
Hijikata Toshirou of Gintama is known for his chain cigarette smoking, and falls under both the sexy and Bad Ass exceptions. The mayonnaise bottle lighter ruins the effect somewhat. Or enhances it, whatever works for you. Quite a few characters in the series smoke, including Otose who smokes almost as much as Hijikata. The main villain Takasugi Shinsuke however smokes a long pipe. Tsukuyo also smokes a pipe, but though she was introduced as a villain she soon became one of the good guys.
Mr. Fujisawa from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World smokes regular cigarettes - and drinks alcohol, too - despite being one of the protagonists. It should be noted that drinking and smoking are "bad" for him in El Hazard, but not just in the ways you'd expect - he's Made of Iron and has Super Strength there, but both habits significantly inhibit his power; when he hasn't smoked or drinked in a while, he's a Nigh Invulnerable, unstoppable juggernaut.
Gokudera from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!! is a chainsmoker and makes it look really cool - partly justified in that he needs it to light his bombs and cuts down when he gets new powers.
When Tsubaki Kasugano from Mirai Nikki shows her true colors to Yukki and Yuno, she pulls out a pipe and smokes on it. Definitely evil smoking.
Unlucky Everydude Jean Havoc is always smoking a cigarette, and is definitely a good guy. However the real reason the author made him a smoker was just so he could throw Mustang a lighter in that ONE SCENE.
Pinako Rockbell, the Elric brothers' surrogate grandmother, smokes a pipe. As someone wise and grandmotherly, she is allowed.
In her original incarnation, Sailor Jupiter was to be the leader of a gang of female Delinquents, which included smoking. When the idea of her being a sukeban was scrapped, so was the idea of her smoking.
Kitty Pryde only smokes when she's been somehow turned evil or possessed by something evil.
Wolverine used to smoke cigars, but eventually gave up the habit, specifically directly after losing his adamantium to Magneto's cruelty; his healing power got extremely taxed during that incident, which may have something to do with it (in-universe, at least). Paraphrasing:
Wolverine: Time I gave those nasty things up, anyway.
Gambit was also known to smoke in his early appearances in the 90s.
Mob boss The Kingpin originally had a cigarette holder, but switched to villainous cigars after they went out of style.
J. Jonah Jameson chomps on a cigar. He's a blowhard, but a good guy. Kinda.
In reprints of the original 1940's Captain America, Steve Rogers can be seen smoking a pipe. This gets the "correct to the era" exemption (probably why Marvel didn't photoshop the pipe out).
Dr. Stephen Strange, the man who eventually became Doctor Strange, is shown lighting a cigarette in the operating room immediately after performing a surgery. In context, it indicates how self-centered he was.
On the evil side of the equation, Bullseye was often seen lighting up cigarettes before Marvel banned them.
Daily Planet chief Perry White was known to smoke cigars at one point. He was also a blowhard, but a good guy.
A cigarette holder is part of the Penguin's iconic look.
Lex Luthor is often shown smoking those evil cigars. Well, he is incredibly rich...
In the earlier days of the company, nearly every heroic character who was "respectable" (IE - Businessmen like Bruce Wayne or alien scientists from the future like Brainiac 5) was shown smoking pipes constantly.
In The Sandman, Desire not only smokes all the time, but he/she is apparently just lighting its cigarettes constantly. This is possibly a subtle Shout Out to Oscar Wilde: "A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied." A perfect habit for the incarnation of desire.
Jenny Sparks is a chainsmoker. It gets to the point where she is seen with a cigarette almost 3/4 of the time.
Jenny Quantum picks up the habit.
When it was revealed that Terra was The Mole, she took to smoking. In this case, however, it was to provide a more mature look to the rather immature looking character.
Deadshot constantly chainsmokes whenever he's unmasked and not killing something.
In Watchmen, The Comedian smokes cigars, while Laurie and other side characters smoke cigarettes, though they look vastly different from what we would know them to be, given the divergent technology. Technically, they're actually pipes.
Trans Metropolitan: Spider Jerusalem forces his non-smoking assistant to start. He's the hero. To be fair, he seems to keep a good supply of "anti-cancer traits" on hand, and always tells the new assistant where they are just after telling them to start smoking; so, at least within The City, smoking isn't particularly harmful. According to a flashback, his ex-wife smoked from an octodecuple (that's eighteen) cigarette holder.
Fables has a Big Badass Wolf who smokes cigarettes and occasionally cigars to mask the scent of his One True Love and the general scent of the city. He's a heroic badass example, but unusual in that he has a specific reason for smoking.
Miss Misery in Sleeper. For her to stay perfectly healthy, she has to do bad things, which is why she's always seen smoking.
Emperor Zombie in The Amazing Screw-On Head actually smokes a scholar to learn everything he knows. Miraculously, it actually works. The fact that he was smoking and killing a person at the exact same time kind of seals the deal on that one.
The Phantom's enemies often smoked to indicate they were evil. Whereas cigarettes and cigars were often prominent, cigarette holders were reserved for the incredibly pompous, egotistical blowhards, such as General Tara, a self-centered dictator who brandished one easily a foot in length. It was an effective touch by artist Sy Barry as the accessory was obviously intended to affect a superior, haughty air, and when used by a fat, barbaric paramilitary type, very effete. When he was feeling his most smug and content, he blew smoke rings, often while anticipating some sadistic act, such as torturing the Phantom's fiancée, Diana Palmer in "The Tyrant of Tarakimo." In the story's sequel, he huffs lazy smoke rings from a massively ornate throne to indicate his satisfaction after his henchmen successfully kidnap Diana, presenting her to him in harem outfit.
Augustus and Julius Furst, patriarchs and leaders of the Furst Family (a Fantastic FourExpy hero group) in Astro City, are both smokers. Augustus is a spare, silver-haired Omnidisciplinary Scientist, and smokes a pipe. Julius is a shaven-headed BFG-toting badass, who smokes cigars.
An old Airwick commercial commented on "The Old Fogie Stogie", featuring an old man who laughingly blew cigar smoke at the viewer.
Before the climate changed against smoking, Marlboro had a series of ads featuring The Marlboro Man, a cowboy who would invite viewers to "come to where the flavor is". Marlboro cigarettes were so popular that there was a billboard of the Marlboro Man blowing smoke rings on Times Square in New York until the late 80s.
Cruella DeVil not only smokes, but for added evil, uses a cigarette holder. Indeed, no animated film ever made smoking look more disgusting than this film with Cruella polluting the air with green smoke and putting out her cigarette in a pastry. In addition, the quick scene where Jasper Badun contemptuously flicks cigar ash onto Horace's sandwich bread is even more stomach churning. Cruella also has this habit in the live-action films. The sequel, 102 Dalmatians uses her attitude towards smoking as an indicator of her "Ella" personality (who now hated it) and the return of "Cruella" (who loved it). Disney released quit-smoking ads on their DVDs featuring clips of Cruella and her greeeeeen smoke.
Practically everyone smokes in The Great Mouse Detective, including the hero, but seeing how the movie is set in the Victorian Era, it shouldn't really be a surprise.'
Donald Duck, as much as people don't remember it now, was a sailor. He cursed up a storm (in duck quacks), he got mad, and yes, he smoked cheap stogies. Huey, Dewey, and Louie once got a taste of the 'forced excessive smoking' part of the trope above. Of course, it being Donald...
Early in Pinocchio the kindly Gepetto smokes a pipe. That is the only smoking in the film that isn't evil smoking. The villains Honest John, Gideon, and Stromboli smoke cigars, while the most villainous character The Coachman smokes a pipe while also encouraging the boys he abducts at Pleasure Island to smoke cigars including Pinocchio and Lampwick; when they do so, it's a sign they're being corrupted.
The Caterpillar smokes a hookah ominously, as he does in the book.
Sykes in Oliver & Company smokes a cigar and wears a suit. Fagin is seen choking on the smoke in one scene.
Hades, the villain from Hercules smokes a cigar, lighting it with his thumb. Since this movie takes place in Ancient Greece, this is an anachronistic example.
Starman had a subversion. Shermin is a good and gentle sort, who smokes a cigar. He's actually the one who arranges it so Jenny and her alien companion get away. And he blows smoke in the general's face to indicate he's glad he did it, even though it might well be the end of his career.
Jenny is also shown smoking in the opening scene, which helps establish that she is upset about her husband's loss.
Soldiers smoke in war movies. Grunts are generally seen smoking cigarettes, while colonels and generals smoke cigars.
Satine in Moulin Rouge! is shown smoking a cigarette in a holder (evil smoking, though she is secretly idealistic and ambitious). DVD commentary revealed it was Nicole Kidman's screen test for the character, which explains why Satine is never seen smoking except in that one shot.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is granted the suspension for toughness. The tough heroine Marion Ravenwood smokes during her meeting with Todt in her saloon, and blows smoke in his face and makes him cough. Watch it on YouTube here, starting around 4:40.
A subversion and a straight example feature at the same time in Chicago. "The Cell Block Tango" Velma Kelly being very sexy and smoking. But she's an incarcerated murderess who sings "HE HAD IT COMIN'!" about the victim, so she's also evil.
The Comedian chomps cigars, lighting one with the torch of his flamethrower, to show that he's a Bad Ass as well as a Jerk Ass.
Silhouette uses a cigarette holder as she does in the comics.
Hellboy is a heroic badass and smokes cigars. The first film even has a scene near the end which illustrates Hellboy's and Director Manning's grudging respect of each other with them bonding over cigars. By the second film, Hellboy's loose adherence to the rules has reduced Manning to bribing him with Cuban cigars. Hellboy II actually has a disclaimer at the end of the credits (next to "this is a work of fiction" and "no animals were harmed") explicitly stating that the film's depictions of smoking are for dramatic purposes only and should not be taken to imply anything positive about smoking in real life.
In Independence Day, Steve only smokes cigars at the end of any aerial dogfight he wins, because he's the hero. David, on the other hand, spends the whole movie as an over the top green type. He berated his father for smoking cigarettes. But after he and Steve have saved the world (and they light up Victory Cigars together), he cheerfully tells his father, "Oh, I could get used to it."
In The Core, Zimsky was the self-serving Jerk Ass through the entire movie, and had been denied his cigs by the rest of the cast. Due to the tendency of Disaster Movies to off the cast one member at a time, he finally ends up alone with his cigs, just in time for a Redemption Equals Death soliloquy.
Snake Plissken, tough guy Bad Ass from Escape From New York, smokes through that movie, and actually got the final shot with a Power Walk and a cigarette. In Escape From LA he doesn't have access to cigarettes until the end, in which he illuminates his face purely with the light of his match. In fact, the film is supportive of smoking rights. John Carpenter himself is a chain smoker.
Really, most (if not all) of John Carpenter's films include at least one scene in which a major character smokes cigarette.
In XXX, only the bad guys smoke. One villain gets killed when his cigarette attracts a heat-seeking missile to him. Cigarettes can kill, indeed.
The Rich Bitch villainess of the 1995 live-action Casper movie smoked cigarettes.
Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins smoked a pipe. We never actually see this, but he mentions it in "The Life I Lead":
At 6:01, I march through my door My slippers, sherry and pipe are due at 6:02 Consistent is the life I lead!
In Ghost Rider, the police try Good Cop/Bad Cop on Johnny, and the good cop asks if he can have a cig. Johnny indicates he doesn't mind, but the Ghost Rider powers are in ready mode, and the cop's lighter flares up wildly.
John McClane lights up a cig in the limo in the first five minutes of Die Hard. He is proven to be a Bad Ass.
In the 1970s SupermanLois Lane not only smoked, but she smoked Marlboros. Because Marlboros are thought to be a manly cigarette, this was probably characterization for Lois Lane as a tomboy. Superman does warn her about the dangers of smoking as she does so, and in the distant sequel Superman Returns, actually blows out her lighter before she can light them. As a sign of changing times, Lois smoking is treated as a slightly bigger deal in Returns.
In the first of the Charlies Angels movies, Eric Knox and the Thin Man both smoke.
The entire cast of Event Horizon shares a cigarette early in the film, which works as kind of a "Three on a match" callback. Thing is, that includes both good and evil characters.
In Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Raoul Duke (an amoral character, at best, when he's away from his typewriter) constantly smokes cigarettes from a cigarette holder (which Depp stole from the real HST, after he followed him around to get his characterization down), just like the real Hunter S. Thompson. Several critics complained that the cigarette holder always clenched between Johnny Depp's teeth made some of his dialogue unintelligible.
Subverted in Breakfast At Tiffanys, where the heroine uses a cigarette holder although she is neither rich nor a bitch.
Papa Midnite subverts the cigarillo trope by being a good/neutral witch-doctor turned bartender.
Constantine smoked excessively, only to find out he has cancer at the beginning of the movie. After Constantine willingly sacrifices himself to save the world (allowing him to enter heaven), Satan ends up curing his cancer to keep him alive so he can claim him later. At the end of the movie, he's seen popping gum in his mouth.
The Ghostbusters smoke in the first film. It's not necessarily cool, but it does help ground the heroes as working-class stiffs.
The first sign of Henry's evil in The Good Son is that he smokes. And gets Mark to smoke too.
The evil Smokers in Waterworld not only rely on smoke-spewing gasoline engines, but also seem to have an unlimited source of cigarettes.
In the 1997 version of The Borrowers, Mr. Potter smoked a cigar while wearing a suit and being played by overweight actor John Goodman. Guess what his alignment was.
As noted in the comics section above, actors portraying the Batman villain Penguin have appeared with a long cigarette-holder in their mouths or hands, in order to play up the character's snobbery and moral degeneracy. Ironically, both actors who played this character in live action - Burgess Meredith and Danny De Vito were nonsmokers at the time. Rumor has it that Meredith's distinctive "waugh waugh waaaaugh" laugh was to cover up the cough that the herbal cigarettes caused.
James Bond makes his big-screen debut with a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth. Good guys and bad guys alike smoke a variety of cigars and cigarettes throughout the series (although this has declined in recent decades).
The era-appropriate exemption is played with in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as Eddie Valiant either borrows or buys some cigarettes from some people he met on the Red Line trolley. The exemption is also thrown into sharper relief by the fact that it's a bunch of kids that supplied them.
The movie: Thank You For Smoking featured this prominently, pointing out the idea of Hollywood getting paid to advertise smoking, as Big Tobacco (set in the early '90s) was trying to find a mass market appeal again while facing allegations that cigarettes cause cancer. For extra irony, the film never actually shows anyone smoking.
This trope is invoked in the film version of The Lord of the Rings; even though only good guys smoke in the movies, Aragorn is made to look sinister in his first appearance by having him smoke in the shadows, with the fire glinting off his eyes.
In the 1961 version of Cape Fear, villain Cady smokes Scummy Bastard cigars, while heroic Bowden does not smoke.
Doubly inverted in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Angel Eyes (the Bad) smokes a pipe, but this makes him a Distinguished Badass rather than a Distinguished Gentleman. Of course, this is Lee Van Cleef we're talking about, so the Badass comes with the territory; he could have played a transsexual florist and been a Badass Transsexual Florist. Blondie smokes cigarillos, but is the Good (relatively, within the spectrum of Grey and Grey Morality).
Which leads me to For a Few Dollars More, in which Col. Mortimer's pipe (incidentally, a gorgeous example — I want that pipe!) makes him a Distinguished Gentleman Badass.
In the famous Christmas poem Twas The Night Before Christmas, Santa Claus smokes, and the smoke encircles his head like a wreath.
In one of the Alex Rider books, one of the characters smokes, and Alex specifically comments that he thought he would take better care of himself. He turns out to be The Mole.
Sherlock Holmes also smokes a pipe in the adaptations of his story. Probably because the screechy violin and the fact that he did cocaine in the book made it a case of choosing the lesser evil. He also smokes cigarettes in the original stories, but that detail rarely makes it into other adaptations, probably at least in part because of the prominence of this trope.
The thoroughly Bad Ass Commander Samuel Vimes smokes cigars after he gives up drinking following his marriage to Sybil Ramkin in Men at Arms.
Adora Belle Dearheart, in Going Postal and Making Money, is clearly one of the good guys and an unabashed chainsmoker. She is also sexy, a badass, and cool to the point of chilliness.
On a minor note, the goddess Anoianote Goddess of Things Getting Stuck In Drawers, but after Moist von Lipwig namedrops her for a bit of "providence" the spike in popularity has her tipped for Goddess of Lost Causes is also a chainsmoker, and smelling cigarette smoke is supposedly a sign that you're in her presence, but it doesn't come up much since she features most prominently in Going Postal and Making Money, and thus her presence is rather overshadowed by that of Adora Belle.*
Justified because she's implied to have been a volcano goddess in prehistoric times.
It's also mentioned in Going Postal that the sort of craftsman who smokes a pipe, and is therefore prepared to go through the methodical processes of tamping down, knocking out, etc., can be relied upon to be methodical in his work as well. Coincidentally, in Real Life Bernard Pearson of the Discworld Emporium smokes a pipe.
Stephane Maturin of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey Maturin series smokes a pipe on occasion. He also struggles with a laudanum addiction throughout the series, gets addicted to coca leaves in the later books, and experiments with various other drugs that he comes across.
In Forgotten Realms, one of Elminster's "trademarks" is pipe spewing vile blue or green smoke. Justified: magic in FR requires material components (burning pipe provides several) and Elminster is immune to mundane ailments like smoker's cough (...or some poisons, or need to sleep). Pipe itself holds lots of enchantments (e.g. it's able to follow owner, teleporting when necessary) and is activation key to some others.
In The Lord of the Rings, smoking is not an indicator of good or evil but of culture, as smoking is not universally known or done.
Smoking is practised by the hobbits and men of the Shire and Bree-land, and by the Dwarves and Northern Dúnedain who adapted it from them. Elves do not smoke, and in the Southern human lands it is unknown. The actual smoking is done by pipe, and in the recreational-at-rest rather than the chain-smoking way.
Saruman is also a smoker, secretly picking it up after having seen Gandalf smoke, although in the open he ridiculed him for it. Amusingly, in Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, the scene where Saruman berates Gandalf's smoking indicates that Saruman the Wise couldn't figure out the function or purpose of smoking without being explained; he assumed that it was a toy Gandalf had invented to make funny shapes with smoke. The idea of soothing herbs completely missed him.
Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon shows its present-day protagonist becoming a smoker as part of his character arc, mostly as a way of implying that he's loosening up and adapting to a more varied and dangerous lifestyle. His girlfriend gets the toughness exemption, and one WWII-era protagonist the historical exemption. It was more that he would accept a cigarette when someone offered him one, rather than fretting about the health implications of one cigarette every couple of months or so; there is nothing to suggest he had acquired a pack-a-day habit.
The character Halloween smokes cloves in Idlewild as part of his teenage rebellion. He is very cool. The character Pandora also smokes cloves, presumably for the same reason, perhaps because she loves Halloween and wants to share something with him.
Commander Julius Root of Artemis Fowl fame is well known for constantly having a cigar in his mouth, though his are not made of tobacco but of some unnamed fungus. He's pretty Bad Ass, but mostly he's Da Chief, so he's contractually obligated to have one.
Everybody in Atlas Shrugged smokes and one of the very many filibusters in that novel is about how appropriate it is to smoke while thinking: this notorious "point of light" argument is one thing that Rand haters and Rand fans both generally agree on.
In The Thrawn Trilogy, a well-known ship thief named Niles Ferrier smokes carabbaba tabac cigarras - think small cigar with beige smoke - and the smell of carabbaba tabac smoke is something various characters use to pinpoint the man's location. He's scum. The heroes use him, and Thrawn pays him to do various things, but no one likes him and it's not hard to see why.
Elsewhere in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Lando Calrissian occasionally smokes a cigarra, but not at all often. Possibly only when he was young.
Dannik Jerriko in Tales From The Mos Eisley Cantina and Galaxy Of Fear smokes. He calls it a disgusting habit, and persists all the same. In Galaxy of Fear he actually uses his smoking as an alibi, pointing to the amount of ash in his living area as a sign that he couldn't have been out murdering people.
The early Cat Who... books were written in the 1960s and depicted the main character as a pipe smoker. The series was discontinued after only a few books, but revived close to 20 years later. At that point, attitudes about smoking had greatly changed and within a couple books into the relaunch, a female doctor convinced Qwilleran to drop the pipe.
In The Stainless Steel Rat, the protagonist smokes cigars. He used to have an alternate persona (used to actually commit crimes) which smoked cigarettes.
The James Bond novels ditch all the smoking tropes here. Good guys smoke, bad guys don't. If the bad guy does smoke, it's invariably cheap, low quality cigarettes. Bond himself smokes as an indicator of how little he cares about anything. He knows he's hurting himself by doing it, he just doesn't care.
In the Newsflesh-verse, smoking is back in vogue, more-or-less. It can no longer cause cancer thanks to the Man Made Plague, but it can still cause emphysema. So people smoking is no indication of their morality one way or the other.
The Dragon Knight series manages a series of exceptions leading to one (brief) instance of heroic opium smoking. The protagonist is recovering from bubonic plague, local medicine is around the Dark Age level, opium is realistically the most practical painkiller available in the world, and once he's coherent enough to realize what he's been given he immediately checks with an expert on the issue of addiction.
Live Action TV
The reimagined Battlestar Galactica has this in multiple episodes, albeit that it usually arrives in the form of a victory cigar for Viper pilot protagonists Apollo and/or Starbuck. Justified in that a common celebratory gesture after successful combat missions actually *is* a cigar.
Practically everyone smokes in Caprica, to tie in with the general "1950s USA in space" atmosphere.
Both incarnations of Starbuck enjoy cigars (when they are available) on Battlestar Galactica, as an indication of their Badassness and masculinity/Tomboyishness. In the new version, Baltar smokes fancy cigarettes, and Doctor Cottle chain-smokes cigarettes in his own sickbay. Bill Adama is implied to smoke (he carries a lighter his father gave him), and later is seen smoking a herbal blend with President Roslin. Some of the other pilots also smoke the odd celebratory cigar.
In an homage to the 1978 Superman film, Smallville's Lois Lane is seen smoking in her debut episode, however she's trying to quit, and apparently does so because we never see her smoke again or hear it mentioned.
Morticia Addams subverted it. She'd ask, "Do you mind if I smoke?" then began randomly emitting smoke.
Gomez, on the other hand, smoked cigars.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: Angelus smokes twice over the course of both series—once after he's just killed a prostitute and sucked the smoke directly out of her neck, and once a few seconds before he sets his ex-girlfriends on fire.
That second time it's Angel, not Angelus. It's kinda a plot point. The first time it's definitely Angelus.
He also smokes in season 2 during a flashback, as Angel.
Nearly every character seen smoking in the Buffyverse is evil, doomed, or under a spell.
Faith survived sharing a cigarette with Spike in season 7. Oddly, she smoked as an Anti-Hero but never as a full-on villain.
In the episode ''Band Candy'', both Joyce and Giles smoke. Joyce lives for another two seasons, and Giles is killed in Season 8.
Spike smokes cigarettes throughout the series. He is already dead. Of course, given the extreme susceptability Buffyverse vampires have towards Kill It with Fire, this makes him quite the badass by itself.
Harmony takes up smoking specifically because she's evil. Unfortunately, she's as terrible at smoking as she is at being evil.
Lorne seems to be the "only smokes when stressed" type.
The X-Files relied on this heavily for nearly eight seasons, The Cigarette Smoking Man (Aka Cancer Man) being the most prominent example. Then they introduced Monica Reyes, who admitted that smoking was "not very FBI of [her]" and seemed sheepish about her habit, often making up excuses to go outside when she needed a cigarette. She claims she is trying to quit and is not shown smoking in Season 9. It seems possible that, given the series' previous use of smoking as a clear marker of evil, the trait was intended to confuse viewers as to whether or not they could trust her until her character was better-established.
Crusade, in an homage to The X-Files (in fact, as part of a whole-episode homage to that show), played with this by having the episode's villain, an alien Man In Black, lighting up a cigarette at the episode's climax after explaining to the heroes how they have managed to convince their people of a planet-wide Earthling Conspiracy being responsible for all the evils and incompetencies of their government. Of course, he didn't anticipate that Captain Gideon would simply reveal the entire conspiracy, including a recording of his monologue, to the entire planet's population, purely out of spite at him for being such a dick.
In the Small Wonder episode "Smoker's Delight", Jamie and Reggie experiment with tobacco in hope of becoming more popular in junior high school.
Jayne in Firefly smokes cigars. Whether this is because he's a bad rude man or a heroic badass is uncertain, but he is quite capable of getting through a bar fight without discarding his stogie.
Pushing Daisies' Emerson Cod is a tough guy who smokes a cigar. He's got a decent streak, though.
In Six Feet Under, Nate takes to smoking in secret as a way of rebelling against the constraints of his life.
My Own Worst Enemy has an interesting example: The main character has been given a split personality. Ordinary nice guy family man Henry doesn't smoke. Bad Ass Normal spy guy Edward does.
Mad Men. Everyone smokes at some point, usually cigarettes. Regardless of moral status, actually. The main exceptions are Pete Campbell (it seems that Vincent Kartheiser has never been a smoker, and one of the rules of Mad Men is that only smokers or ex-smokers are permitted to smoke in the show, even though the cigarettes are herbal) and Bert Cooper (where it fits in to his rather eccentric personality, which also includes being a bachelor into old age and decorating his office in the Japanese fashion and requiring visitors to it to remove their shoes—all quite weird in early '60s America).
In the BBC series, Life On Mars, everyone in the police station smoked (in 1973). Future boy Sam, with his unending morals and 21st century views, was the only one not to smoke, except for one time when it served to aid him in some way. An obvious reference to real seventies cop shows, especially The Sweeney.
And here's some bar trivia: The First Doctor lights up a pipe in his first story, which turns out to be an important plot point. The Fourth Doctor has a Turkish hookah in the TARDIS, although considering how much other stuff he picked up over the centuries, it doesn't imply he used it recently.
Countess Scarlioni in City of Death was rarely ever seen without her cigarette holder. And yes, she was a villainess of the supremely classy type.
QI had an amusing take on Good Smoking, Evil Smoking; comparing a builder gesturing with a pipe while discussing his plans (and thereby looking solid and reliable) with another gesturing with a cigarette (and thereby looking shifty and untrustworthy).
Stephen Fry mentions in one episode that he was the last person awarded Pipe Smoker of the Year. A gentleman if ever there was.
Bill Bailey would often whip out a pen and pretend to smoke it when he felt like doing a rather posh stereotype. He brought a real pipe a couple of times but hasn't for a while presumably because the BBC has lots of rules then it comes to smoking on TV.
Sarah Connor has quit smoking by time of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Prone to lighting up in T2, one episode shows her in a bar proving the habit well and truly kicked. Just as well for her, too, since one of the things she missed while time-travelling was California's smoking ban.
Lampshaded in an episode of FlashForward: "Only villains smoke. We know this, right? You may call me Flosso, and I'm a villain."
7th Heaven had a one episode villain who smoked, and ended up accidentally burning down a house. Her response? "You have insurance." The message is "smoking is evil and you should never be friends with smokers"
The beginning of the Season 2 episode "Potato" had Blackadder remarking about how people were reacting to Sir Walter Raleigh's discovery of the potato, "people are smoking them, building houses out of them. They'll be eating them next". In the same scene Lord Melchett casually offers Blackadder a potato as one would a cigarette.
Clove cigarettes are a sign that Kochanski's ex is a pretentious douchebag in Red Dwarf, at least according to Lister. Then again, Lister also thinks the silly white hat he wears is a sign he's a pretentious douchebag, rather than a sign he's a chef.
American Dreams play this straight at first with only characters like Good Bad Girl Roxanne and troubled cop Pete being smokers but later subverts it with Helen the shows moral compass being revealed as secret a smoker
None of the main characters on Frasier is a regular smoker, and Frasier and Niles usually come down against cigarettes - they are doctors, after all. Their intolerance apparently does not extend to cigars, however, which Niles, Daphne, and Martin all enjoy puffing on in "Adventures in Paradise, Pt. 1".
In Damn Yankees, Applegate mentions that he's trying to quit smoking after demonstrating his trick of pulling a lighted cigarette out of the air. One wonders whether Fire and Brimstone Hell would stop smoking if he did.
Two notable characters both love the same brand of cigar and know John-117 quite well. Those two are Sergeant Johnson and Franklin Mendez. Mendez was in charge of the SPARTAN-IIs training.
Captain Keyes has a pipe he carries with him and chews on occasionally, but doesn't smoke it due to various reasons.
Most of the characters in Grim Fandango qualify due to the heavy Film Noir influences in the game's plot. The gentle Meche smokes to show you how hard and jaded her experiences in the Underworld have made her. But they're all dead, so...
Lampshaded in this exchange between Manny and literal Speed Demon, Glottis:
Glottis: It's not just a job, it's what I was created to do! If I get any farther away from a car than this, I'll get sick and die! It's like I'm not happy unless I'm breathing in the thick, black, nauseating fumes!
Elvis in God Hand constantly smokes a massive cigar and uses it to fight. When he dies, the cigar goes out.
Solid Snake, who somehow manages to hide his cigarettes from a strip search at the start of Metal Gear Solid. Very much Bad Ass. A trait he apparently inherited from his father Naked Snake, who prefers the smooth taste of cigars.
As a subversion Solid Snake is always berated by his friends for smoking.
Even in Metal Gear Solid 3 Paramedic tells Naked Snake that scientists have found evidence that smoking caused cancer. But being 1964, Snake doubts that to be true.
Even the Boss tells Snake off for smoking cigars in the middle of a mission, even though Snake counters that she used to smoke them. The whole exchange comes off like a mother telling off her son.
In Metal Gear Solid 4 Snake's smoking habit gets a much more prominent role. His failing health is mostly caused by other factors and he seems to smoke a lot to relieve the pain he is in. Otacon and Sunny do not approve and in one scene Snake is seen secretly smoking next to the kitchen's exhaust fan. In later parts of the games, cigarettes seem to make things only worse, but when Snake gets too weak and shaky to light his cigarette, Otacon picks up the lighter and help him.
On a related note: the installing screens. Which would explain why Snake's health is so bad. Smoking for half an hour straight can do that to a man.
In the Japanese version of Skies Of Arcadia, resident Badass Longcoat Gilder smokes a cigar. It's even on his flag; this was, in fact, the lone relic of smoking left in the localization. Vyse's generally badass father also has a cigar in the Japanese version.
Cid Highwind from Final Fantasy VII is most often seen with a cigarette. And keeps a pack held by his goggles. He actually uses them to light a stick of dynamite in one Limit Break.
Though his other major appearance has his smoking habit replaced with him holding a reed in his mouth, and he's not seen to do much smoking in Advent Children... but then he lights up a victory cigarette after blowing up a reactor in Dirge of Cerberus. This may be because in Advent Children he appears very briefly and spends most of the time killing a gigantic monster, and Kingdom Hearts is a Disney game.
Tenenbaum of BioShock can be seen smoking in her safehouse, and the protagonist is seen smoking in the first cutscene of the game, ON A PLANE! Remember that this all takes place decades ago, where such things were acceptable.
In gameplay, smoking a pack of cigarettes restores a little EVE (magic points) at the expense of a an equal amount of health. Drinking booze does the opposite.
Captain Price in Modern Warfare is shown smoking a cigar before the mission Crew Expendable. In in the sequel, Soap, who served under him, smokes a cigar before the mission Cliffhanger.
Big Bad General Shepherd in Modern Warfare 2 is not only an excellent case of evil smoking. After he shoots Roach and Ghost and dumps them into a ditch soaked with gasoline, he steps up to the dying Roach and throws his burning cigar at them.
Price also lights up a few times in MW3, most notably after he hangs Makarov from the ceiling of the Hotel Oasis.
The Illusive Man enjoys a good cigarette while doing...well, everything we've ever seen him do, really. An evil example who claims to be good. In Mass Effect Revelation he complains in the narration that even with 22nd century technology capable of fixing the damage smoking causes, it's still seen as a negative habit.
The Blue Suns mechanic guy in Garrus' recruitment mission smokes, and Shepard seems visibly annoyed. Although that could be because the mechanic blew the smoke right in Shepard's face.
A couple of servers give the Soldier a huge Cuban cigar, for the express purpose of making him more badass, as the description for the thing says. Nowadays he has a misc items, a pair of mutton chops, this gives him a pipe, complete with a visible trail of smoke.
The Spy is rarely seen without a cigarette. One of his taunts involves flicking his cigarette onto his enemy's corpse! However, he is also French.
Sniper is also a cigarette smoker, although not to the extent that Spy is. His newest misc item, a sweater vest, gives him a pipe similar to the Soldier's.
This is era-correct; the game takes place in the sixties.
When the Pyro's around, everyone smokes. Because they're on fire.
Some characters in Conkers Bad Fur Day, including mobster Don Weaso as well as Conker during the It's War segment were seen smoking cigars. The fire imp in Bat's Tower, however, was smoking a cigarette.
Mr. Leland in Alpha Protocol is chewing a big, fat cigar throughout his debriefing with Mike, and if Mike accepts his offer and joins Halbech at the end, Leland gives him a cigar to seal the deal at the end of the game, signifying his Face Heel Turn.
SashaNein of Psychonauts chain-smokes constantly. He's good—he smokes through the European (he's German) and Bad Ass exceptions. It also helps with his image as a fifties-esque super spy and G-Man.
Gentleman Cho'Goth skin of League of Legends features a pipe to go with the monocle and glass of wine.
Tychus in Starcraft II smokes cigars, inside his helmet, and fits the Bad Ass and Jerk Ass sterotypes. Raynor on the other hand keeps a pack of cigarettes in his bandolier that he's only shown smoking a couple times.
The 'smoking inside helmet' goes back to the original StarCraft as well, with a particular CGI cutscene. The characters in it didn't have much of a personality, but seeing as they are all Marines, they fit more or less into the same stereotype that Tychus is an extreme example of.
One of the items you need to lay the ghost of Matilda Fly to rest in Dark Fall: Lost Souls is a cigarette holder, which she's depicted holding in posters for her stage performances. Justified because she's from the 1940s and dressed to project a glamorous, sexy image.
In the first volume of The Easy Breather, the sorceress Karman McKnockside usually has a cigarette in her hand. In fact, part of the premise of the Easy Breather mythos is the heroine's campaign against tobacco and other air pollutants.
Enkidu of Heroes of Lesser Earth is an Anti-Hero type who is always chomping on a cigar.
Miriam from Out There smokes, and gets the sexy rule suspension. She's got a pile of character flaws, but not enough to mark her down as evil.
Mr Egbert is an example of Good Smoking - he smokes an old-fashioned pipe almost constantly (his online handle is even 'pipefan413'), and is portrayed as a Bumbling Dad and Doting Parent who genuinely cares about his son.
Snowman, on the other hand, is an example of Evil Smoking, complete with a cigarette holder she likes to stab people with because it is also a lance.
This being Homestuck, it eventually gets Up to Eleven when we see John's Dad's WALLET MODUS contains, among other things, a pile of pipes that is about the same size as John, as well as 10 tons of pipe tobacco.
El Goonish Shive uses the Bad Ass variant of Good Smoking very briefly and even then it seems to be used solely as setup to identify a character's silhouette.
Dale Gribble is a chain smoker; having done it since the third grade because he doesn't know what to do with his hands. Cotton Hill smokes cigars when he celebrates. Hank Hill smokes rarely and it's typically when he's under a lot of stress.
One episode had a big anti-smoking message, where even his wife and SON wound up addicted to it, so it was up to his non-smoker niece to smooth things over, even taking drastic measures by locking them in a room.
There is also the Debbie Grund two-part episode, where Hank takes up smoking in response to all the stress he is facing. At one point, Hank ends up smoking a marijuana cigarette by accident, which leads to a hilariously exaggerated reaction by Hank.
Next to spinach, the one item most iconic of Popeye the Sailor Man is the corncob pipe he smokes. When CBS produced The All-New Popeye Hour cartoon show for Saturday mornings, they retconned this in one of its short segments, which had Popeye speaking out against the hazards of smoking. ("I just uses me pipe for tootin'!")
Warren T. Rat in An American Tail smoked cigars, blowing smoke rings and dollar signs to cue the audience in to the fact that he's really a villain and tricking Fievel.
Dan Backslide, the "coward-bully-cad-and-thief" of Chuck Jones's "The Dover Boys", is first seen in a cloud of tobacco smoke (when he speaks, his first word comes out in smoky letters). Naturally he uses a cigarette-holder.
In Little Nemo Adventures In Slumberland, only the nuisance Flip smokes and multiple characters including the title character order him to stop. In the early 20th century comic, Flip was far more amoral (though friends with the title character) and again the most prevalent smoker, never going anywhere without a cigar in his mouth (Nemo's mom thinks he is a troublemaker because of his cigars), though Nemo's father is shown smoking a few times too.
Bender, the nominally evil robot in Futurama, is frequently shown with beer and a cigar, particularly in his more selfish and narcissistic moments. He explains to Fry that he needs the alcohol to power his fuel cells, but the cigar just makes him look cool.
Ariel from The Little Mermaid grabs the meerscham pipe on the dinner table when she sees it. Eric's guardian starts to tell her about it when she blows into it, thinking, because of Scuttle, that it would make music.