If you're badass, you smoke. (Unfiltered, you sissy!)
For some reason, smoking is used as a shorthand in fiction to say that someone is a badass. It probably has its roots in Fifties rebel flicks, or '40s Film Noir, or maybe the somewhat deeper idea that someone who cares nothing about their health will willingly expose themselves to pain on a regular basis, or maybe the play of smoke on the screen around a character in slow-mo is just that damn cool — but whatever it is, there's no denying that nine times out of ten a fictional smoker is a Badass. No childlike or upbeat characters smoke. The smoker is the Anti-Hero, the Badass Normal, or the Deadpan Snarker, whereas the non-smoker is the Genki Girl, The Messiah, the Kid Hero.
And you can forget about the millions of ways cigarettes can kill you or make your life miserable. Fictitious smokers are hardly ever affected by so much as a smoker's cough, let alone shortness of breath, lung cancer, gum disease, or heart disease. No-one else minds, either - the only people who complain are going to be the naggy Side Kick, joykilling bureaucrat or the irritating little brat who tags along outside the lower boundary of the Competence Zone, and it gives the hero a good chance to sarcastically brush them off and show how cool and viciously witty they are.
There may be a pragmatic element to this trope, given the predicted lifespans of most people in Badass professions. The prospect of dying of lung cancer in twenty years loses much of its sting when there's a real chance of dying of high-velocity lead poisoning tomorrow. This is one of the reasons smoking is still popular in high-risk professions, like the military, or convenience store cashiers.
While this trope is dying away as smoking becomes less socially acceptable, it's notable enough in older media. Interestingly, shows aimed at younger audiences don't seem allowed to smoke. Since smoking in Japan hardly even raises an eyebrow (that culture has smoking strongly associated with hard work, among other things), this trope is also common in anime and manga.
In older media from before the Surgeon General's report on tobacco use, smoking conveyed maturity, experience, and social acceptability. The "Stop Having Fun" Guys character in an old movie or TV show will almost always be a non-smoker, as will be the male Neat Freak and Ambiguously Gay and the female Maiden Aunt, Purity Sue, and Straw Feminist. Basically, the non-smoker was thought to be no fun at all, and (unless they're a youngish Purity Sue) socially transgressive in some way. The message was that most non-smokers were weirdos you didn't want to know, which might be part of the reason why people of that generation refused to believe the Surgeon General for so long.
As a side note, much like the Drink Order, the actual forms of tobacco smoked seem to fall into tropes of their own. Cigarettes are smoked by the typical cool badasses. Pipes are smoked by wizened ancient old wizards and martial artists. Cigars, if they're not being smoked by Da Chief or a soldier, are typically the favored form of tobacco for gangsters and Corrupt Corporate Executives.
At one time pipes looked more "intellectual" than cigarettes, so a professor or scientist, even quite a young one, would smoke a pipe, while policemen, soldiers and other men of action smoked cigarettes. Nowadays pipes denote old codgers or homages to Sherlock Holmes.
Smoking fetish fiction has its own conventions, subdivided down to brand. Generally speaking, housewives and other prole heroines smoke Virginia Slims or Marlboro Lights. Career women smoke Mores. Black women smoke cheap cigars, such as Gold and Milds (this is Truth in Television); "street smart" white women do the same. (Cigars without holders seldom appear.) Older women smoke unfiltereds, usually Pall Malls or Camels. Black men go for Kools. The Vamp uses a holder, which is often campily long, or smokes a cigar for the Freudian connotations. Goths, Byronic Romantics and bohemian types wouldn't be caught dead smoking anything but clove cigarettes. People in the "ghetto" go for Newport menthols. The Troubled, but Cute will inevitably smoke Lucky Strike.
Compare Stealth Cigarette Commercial, Smoking Is Glamorous, and Cigar Chomper. See also Good Smoking, Evil Smoking. Contrast Smoking Is Not Cool, Cigarette of Anxiety.
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Anime & Manga
Several characters from Akagi seem to be chain smokers, including the undoubtedly cool, demoniacally talented titular character. Of course, this is a series that consists entirely of professional gamblers, gangsters, conmen, thugs and crooked cops, so the constant smoking is hardly out of place.
Over 80% of the cast in Samurai Deeper Kyo are seen with a smoking pipe. However, the award for coolest smoking badass go to Bontenmaru and Demon Eyes Kyo
Kira Sakuya & Kato Yue from Angel Sanctuary. True to the trope, their friend & The Messiah Setsuna Mudo is the only non-smoker of the delinquent trio.
Subverted, however, when Elmer startles Ronnie into swallowing his cigarette and he ends up hacking his lungs out for a good few minutes. Not very cool.
Black Lagoon tries very hard to be cool, to the point where it's ambiguous whether it's a parody or not - and nearly the entire cast seems to chain-smoke as a result. It's notable in that the most intimate moment shared by the leads is an Indirect Kiss where the heroine chains her cigarette off the hero's.
Really, smoking is presented as something that everyone in Roanapur simply does. It's like the sixties, it's just kind of weird not to smoke. This is probably because Roanapur is such a high-risk location that lung cancer is the least of anyone's worries. That said, the shot at the beginning of the theme song of the cigarette burning down really fast was probably taking it a bit far.
Also somewhat notable is that while most everybody else smokes cigarettes, Balalaika prefers a good cigar.
Captain-class Isshin Kurosaki is an ex-smoker who still smokes a cigarette every year in front of his wife's grave on the anniversary of her death because she once told him it made him look cool.
Isshin's equal, Ryuuken Ishida has once been seen smoking two cigarettes on the trot, after completing a nerve-wracking procedure to restore his son's lost power without killing his son in the process. The anime includes a comedy filler scene at the end of the episode to have Isshin notice with horror that Ryuuken's breaking his own rules by smoking inside his own hospital.
Kisuke Urahara is hinted to be a pipe smoker, given the Chapter 36 cover artwork that shows him in a Rule of Cool pose, openly smoking as he gazes unfathomably off the page.
Akio from CLANNAD always has a cigarette sticking out of his mouth, though a great shock causes it to fall out on one occasion. Also, in episode 16 of ~After Story~, he notably starts to shake one from the pack to light up . . . and then thinks better of it, because his daughter is in labor in the next room.
Then when Akio's daughter dies from said labor, her husband, Tomoya also picks up on the smoking habit, but it's deconstructed, as it shows how screwed up he is over Nagisa's death. Tomoya eventually quits smoking; Akio comments that this was a wise decision, but continues the habit himself.
The entire main cast of Cowboy Bebop, a bunch of bounty hunters, smoke heavily. Well, Ed the Playful Hacker doesn't, because she's a kid. And Ein doesn't, because he's a dog.
In one episode another young girl is on board their ship, and the smoke bothers her, so Jet unilaterally declares a no-smoking zone until she leaves. Ed must have tougher lungs (after all, she's been living on Earth).
Interestingly subverted in Darker than Black. Contractor November 11 has to smoke after every time he uses his powers... which wouldn't be so bad if he didn't hate smoking and smokers. It's somewhat jarring watching someone freeze some guys in the most Bad Ass manner possible and then cough like a child right after nonchalantly smoking a cigarette. In his first appearance, he also gives a very long and very specific address on the dangers of second-hand smoke.
A more straightforward subversion is Clueless Detective Guy Kurasawa, who smokes because he thinks it looks cool, and is yelled at by his Sassy Secretary because she says it makes him smell even worse than he already did.
Subverted again, more subtly. Before Huang decides to go out in one of the most Bad Ass ways possible, he asks Hei to light his cigarette. Hei initially seems to comply but destroys the cigarette, admonishing Huang on his bad habit and forcing him to be a Bad Ass without relying on smoking.
In Dogs: Bullets & Carnage, Badou Nails is a chainsmoker. It's shown that he's a goofy, clumsy, laid-back, and terminally unlucky but fairly nice guy with something of a cowardly streak when he has his smokes, but if he goes without one for more than a few moments, he becomes an unstoppable killing machine, to the point where his "friend" Heine will intentionally take his cigarettes away from him when a fight's coming up.
Heiwajima Shizuo of Durarara!! almost always has a cigarette in his mouth, and makes a point of throwing it to the ground and stomping on it every time he gets ready to beat the ever loving shit out of somebody.
Heinkel of the same series smokes cigarettes and an encounter between two where Integral asks her for a light is one the funniest moments in the series.
Captain Bernadotte is also smoking most of the time he is on screen.
Subverted twice in Ichigo Mashimaro. Tsumugi, the landlady, is often trying (and failing) to stop smoking. Moreover, Nobue gets berated a lot for smoking by her little sister and neighbor girl. Especially since, in the manga series, she's 16, and would be too young to smoke in America, never mind Japan. (The anime adaptation made her 20, and thus old enough.) She apparently started in junior high, though she held it without smoking it before then.
Jotaro Kujo from Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Considering he's a delinquent in the year 1987, his smoking isn't really out of place.
Also averts it in Part 2 with the death of Caesar. Lisa Lisa pulls out her cigarette and tries to look cool and calm...until she's told that it's in her mouth upside down, showing that she was just trying to cover up has close she was to breaking down into tears.
In Part 7 an enemy stand user makes smoking even cooler by making the smoke explosive.
Aoi Reiji from Love Mode more often than not, has a cigarette at work and at home, the exception being the hospital when he broke ribs after a car accident. Looks badass enough in double breasted suit, too.
Soubi Agatsuma from Loveless is a sexy badass who smokes. Granted, this is probably to make him seem even more adult compared to his Shotacon cat-boy love interest, Ritsuka. Also, Ritsuka comments more than once that he really dislikes Soubi's smoking habit.
The cast of Lupin III (except Goemon, who doesn't smoke) has various favorite brand of smokes.
Lupin III smokes primarily Gitanes, a french brand of cigarettes that would typically have to be imported.
Jigen primarily smokes Pall Mall (Longs), but has also smoked Marlboro Red (boxed) and occasionally a briar pipe.
Fujiko likes Moa menthol, and occasionally uses a cigarette holder.
Zenigata prefers Shinsei. The only Japanese brand in the group.
Asuma Sarutobi in Naruto is quite famous for his smoking habit. His pupil Shikamaru started smoking as well, after Asuma's death, even though he hated it. Not like he wasn't badass before, but to get revengeon Asuma's murderer he took another level in badass, finally burying an immortal opponent alive and cut in pieces.
Sanji of One Piece takes up smoking at the tender age of nine in an admitted attempt to seem grown-up and cool. Ten years later, he still has the lung capacity to be the designated rescue-the-captain-from-drowning-underwater guy, and the refined palate to be a Supreme Chef, despite Zeff's warnings about smoking ruining one's palate
Smoker the White Hunter of the Marines habitually smokes two cigars at once, but he at least has the excuse of possessing the power to turn into and/or eject smoke, meaning that he can probably absorb cigar smoke with no ill effects. Though perhaps the very fact that his badass power IS smoking, is intended to be a nod to this trope. His voice in the French dub, however, makes it clear that smoking is bad for you.
Ben Beckman, Shanks' first mate on the Red-Haired pirate crew, smokes cigarillos, and at one point early in the series he grinds out his smoke in an attacker's eyeball before bashing him over the head with a rifle, making Ben a badass smoker if I has ever seen one.
Hina the Black Cage, a badass Marine captain and a friend of the aforementioned Smoker, also smokes. Unlike with Smoker and many other smoking characters, however, no specific attention is ever drawn to her cigarette. It's just there, and sometimes it isn't.
Crocodile is almost always seen smoking a cigar, he's even seen smoking one after escaping from his cell in Impel Down, after all his possessions were taken away. Makes you wonder where he hid them.
Don't forget Paulie, who is almost never seen without a cigar, though he does break the cigar-symbolism and just goes for regular badass instead of a gang/corporate one.
Curly Dadan was seen smoking in Luffy's flashback, a habit continued into the present.
And of course there's Captain Capone "Gang" Bege; a cigar-smoker, as part of his gangster motif.
Fee from Planetes is a die-hard smoker and one of the not so minor plot points revolves around her going awesomely apeshit when terrorists start interfering with her smoking habit. Remember kids: smoke and you too can kick terrorist ass. It also makes a point to show how hard it is to smoke when you live in space, and the lengths to which the stations engineers had to go to allow it.
Too bad neither Makoto Yukimura nor Goro Taniguchi ever read Spider Robinson's Stardance. Only Obstructive Bureaucrats need to lock smokers in airtight rooms. All you really need is a wrist-worn scrubber fan to draw away the smoke.
In Saiyuki, Gojyo and Sanzo both smoke like chimneys (Sanzo goes from only occasionally being shown with a cigarette early in the manga to his current near-chainsmoker status. Gojyo has consistently chainsmoked). For Sanzo, it's revealed that he got into smoking at the encouragement of a monk who gave his life to protect him when he was a teenager, and helped him come to terms with having to kill to survive. Interestingly, in the Gaiden manga/anime arc, it's revealed that in their past lives as Gods, Sanzo didn't smoke at all, but Team Mom Hakkai was a chainsmoker who would remark fondly on his love of cigarettes.
Sanzo's increased use of cigarettes can probably be attributed to stress of the journey... and company.
Doctor Stein from Soul Eater. Takes on a less-than cool aspect when it turns out he's trying to avoid cigarettes in an attempt to resist his own insanity. He reasons to Spirit that he if he can't handle one, he won't be able to deal with the other. And now he's started again. So, back with the cool presumably. Because...Stein's Badass.
The titular character of the manga The Demon Ororon is a smoker, and has been for at least 113 years. (He's 123.) One of his abilities as an invincible is to make a demon several times larger than himself explode—by touching it with one finger. It is interesting to note that while he is the the king of Hell itself, no other demons are shown to smoke quite as regularly as he does.
Michiko Malandro from Michiko to Hatchin has the "looking-awesome-with-a-cigarette" shtick down pat.
Reki in Haibane Renmei is frequently seen smoking a cigarette, representative of her deep wells of angst.
Elizabeth Beurling in Strike Witches is the avid smoker of her team. The thing is, her real life inspiration George Beurling was a staunch anti smoker. Yet this girl goes through a cig (or fag in British slang) commonly.
Lakshad, the genius weapons developer of Code Geass, is never seen without her extremely long pipe in hand.
Several characters in NANA, but the award for coolest smoker ever goes to Yasu.
Lyle Dylandy in Gundam 00 (although only once and in the second opening).
Char Aznable in Mobile Suit Gundam, specifically the manga The Origin. Char is shown smoking AND drinking.
Yuuko Ichihara from Xxx HO Li C loves relaxing with a bottle of sake and her pipe and when Watanuki resolves to take over the store until she returns, he dons her robe and takes up her pipe.
Kou from Monochrome Factor is one of the [physically] strongest characters of the cast and is usually seen smoking.
Hijikata from Gintama smokes a lot. The mayonnaise bottle lighter kind of dorkifies it though.
Yuki Eiri (or Uesegi Yuki) from Gravitation He's pretty much the resident badass in the series (having been known to beat up plenty of people before when they mess with Shuichi) and smokes like a fiend. There was even one scene when he lit an ENTIRE pack of cigarettes at once and smoked the whole thing because he was irritated.
He was actually half asleep (irritated because Shuichi wouldn't shut up and let him sleep) and it was just a funny gag. He didn't even take the cigarettes out of the pack- the last panel of that scene shows a blaze going up from his ash tray (again, as a one off gag, so no actual harm was done).
Subverted in a manga chapter in Shaman King. When a group of pseudo-witch girls, working for Hao attacks Yoh's father, the first thing he does when they meet each other is put out the leader's cigarette, telling her that smoking will be bad for her if she ever decides to have kids.
Subverted also Kimagure Orange Road, when Kyousuke loudly lectures Madoka and tells her pretty much the same that Mikihisa did to Hao's follower when he catches her smoking. She slaps him, but later quits.
And we can't forget Cuba with his famous Cuban cigars.
Subverted in FLCL. Samejima Mamimi is the only character in the show who smokes, but it's not seen as a positive thing by the other characters and Mamimi herself is a little too damaged to carry off the look. Additionally, whenever she starts chain-smoking, it's usually a sign that her mental state is on a downward curve.
Sven in Black Cat is a heavy smoker. In the dub, he has a slightly gravelly voice.
Toriko often smokes a cigar that's actually a tree branch. And he lights it by snapping his fingers.
The reporter Yoshizawa in the anime version of THE iDOLM@STER seems to always have a cigarette on his lips.
Fujisawa-sensei from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World chainsmokes. It isn't treated as cool though, as it actually hinders his powers. Like the rest of the cast that crossed over to Roshtaria, Fujisawa-sensei is granted a specific power: superhuman strength that draws from his withdrawal from cigarettes (although it's also from alcohol withdrawal since he is also a heavy drinker).
Subverted with Rei Asaka AKA "Hana no Saint-Juste". She does smoke, but her smoking is not portrayed as cool, as it is a sign of her Broken Bird personality and her self-destructive behaviour to show how really messed up she is.
Played straight with "Lady Vampanella" Hoshino and Takashi Ichinomiya, but Hoshino does it when she's not in school.
Also subverted in Deadman Wonderland with Senji; he's definitely one of the most badass characters in the series, but he claims that cigarettes are "the nails of coffins".
Fate/Zero has Kiritsugu Emiya, smokes, and temporarily stopped for 9 years in regard to his wife and child, but picks up the habit again during the start of the Holy Grail War.
Gokudera Hayato of Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is (at least in the manga) a delinquent who smokes even on school grounds, and uses his cigarettes to light up his dynamite sticks.
Stylized smoking is especially prominent in Afro Samurai, in which characters' rolled cigarettes can conjure fountains of smoke. Between Afro and Justice, enough smoke is blown out of their noses over the five-episode first season to smother a small town and then some. And it looksbadass.
Constantine from the comic and the movie of the same name subverts this - badass or not, he still gets lung cancer. Of course, he's still bad ass enough to find a way not to die of it, either. However, in the movie at least, the experience is enough to get him to quit. In the comics, Constantine went back to smoking pretty much instantly and never stopped.
The Marvel Comics character Wolverine is well known for smoking cigars. It was once explained that because of his healing factor, he can smoke them without any damage. When he temporarily lost it, he couldn't smoke.
Gambit used to smoke (and wear a longcoat, too).
Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the most Badass Normal in the Marvel Universe also smokes cigars. It was a Running Gag for a while that his connections meant he could get Cubansnote Illegal in the United States since 1962., which he shared with Wolverine.
In Fantastic Four, Benjamin Grimm, the working-class morose Big Guy, likes his cigars, while Reed Richards, the upper-class academic Smart Guy, likes his pipe - or at least used to, back when they started.
J. Jonah Jameson, anyone? (Actually, fans may find that cool, but the other characters think that's the worst trait he has.)
Several characters from Preacher by Garth Ennis, most notably the titular character and his girlfriend, often with the former's signature lighter.
And while we're on the subject of Ennis, he takes this trope to the extreme with ALL of his characters. Hitman is another example; it's a comic about a Bad Ass hitman (Duh) who kills people and looks cool while doing it by smoking cigarettes. It should also be pointed out that the aforementioned Constantine and Nick Fury got their reputations of being Bad Ass smokers while under Ennis' pen. Nick Fury showed up repeatedly in the Ennis-written Punisher MAX, always with a cigar in his mouth - in spite of Quesada's smoking ban. Whenever a character asked Fury to stop smoking he would have a very clever reply, like "Run along now, sonny boy" or "Son, you just made my day." And then he'd continue puffing away as though nothing had happened.
Characters in Viz often smoke "tabs" or "fags" (cigarettes). They probably think this is cool, but it is part of the business of casting them as working-class chavs.
In the DCU, Batman's ally Commissioner Gordon was seen smoking at least once per issue, especially after Frank Miller's big '80s stories. A heart scare in the mid '90s put an end to that.
Specifically, he stopped smoking cigarettes to take up the pipe. The logica has sometimes been lampshaded.
Grifter the badass longcoat of the Wildcats smokes. A lot. In very inappropriate situations (such as free falling a few hundred metres).
Everyone who's anyone in Transmetropolitan smokes. Even the main character's cat smokes. At least the prevalence of genetic engineering has eliminated the "cancer" part. The cigarettes themselves have also been modified to provide health benefits. This is definite Author Appeal for Warren Ellis.
Spider Jerusalem:Adolf Hitler's burned remains are still in the atmosphere. Everyone's got a particle of inhaled Hitler in their lungs.
Lucky Luke, always with a cigarette in his mouth or rolling it himself.
In the later comic-books, however, he quit, and started chewing on a straw instead. However, he still occasionally lights up the straw in a gesture of habit.
Several jokes were made out of the swap from cigarette to straw. In one story, a character offers Lucky Luke a cigarette, then remembers he's quit and offers a couple of straws to chew instead. Luke, hilariously, declines, saying he's trying to cut down.
This was parodied in the 2009 live-action movie, during the credits. While the credits roll, Lucky Luke can be seen smoking a cigarette... then he notices the camera is on him, turns around and somewhat clumsily replaces the cigarette with a straw. When he turns back to the audience, he says: "Hello. My name is Lucky Luke. I quit smoking in 1986, and I'm feeling much better now."
In Watchmen, the Comedian was constantly chewing on a cigar. Laurie also smoked - first cigarettes, and by the main comic timeline, something eerily akin to a crack pipe which could be a weird-shaped cigarette holder. She's tried to quit and failed. Weirdly, in the movie there was no indication she ever smoked. In the comics, Silhouette was shown with a cigarette lighter during at least one Minutemen meeting.
Apparently, since Laurie doesn't smoke in the movie it makes her fumbling around Dan's Owl Ship looking for a lighter and pressing the flamethrower button nonsensical.
More or less inverted in various Disney comics. The only good guy who smokes in Mickey Mouse comics is the rather incompetent cop Detective Casey, while Psycho for Hire Pegleg Pete is just the most famous crook who is often seen with a cigar butt in his mouth. Meanwhile, on the Duck side, one of the few smokers is The Old Convict Grampa Beagle and his corncob pipe.
Mongrol in ABC Warriors commonly has a lit cigar dangling from his mouth. Even though he's a robot.
As in the TV section below, Hannibal Smith is probably the only fictional character who chain-smokes cigars.
Miss Misery of Out In The Cold smokes constantly; she is literally never seen without a cigarette. When she walks into a government building puffing away and a security guard tries to stop her, she says, "It's okay, I have a medical condition." This turns out to be, more or less, true: her villain power is that the more evilly she behaves, the more she flourishes and the better she looks.
Blacksad is smoking in approximately 75% of the panels he is in. So. Cool.
Dr Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Men, smokes a pipe. In 52 it was revealed that he does not actually light (or stuff, presumably) it any longer, but keeps the pipe out of an oral fixation.
Humphrey Bogart frequently has a lit cigarette in his hand in his starring roles. This is the source of the slang expression "don't bogart that joint." (He held the cigarette for a long time before taking a drag.) Unironically what killed Bogart in 1957.
The titular character in Ip Man smokes a pipe. Of course, he's a Badass.
In Grease, Sexy Sandy smoked, while Plain Jane Sandy couldn't abide cigarettes. All of the T-birds smoked too, mostly Danny and Kenicki. Rizzo of the Pink Ladies was another smoker, as was Frenchie, and so was the guy in the car with the flames on it that everybody hated.
The movie Bond smokes much less than the original. It should be noted that the campiest and suavest Bond, Roger Moore, smoked cigars while the more brooding and badassTimothy Dalton version smoked cigarettes, as did Sean Connery.
In Live and Let Die, Bond is smoking while shaving, when a villain lets a venomous snake into the bathroom. Bond notices it, and ever resourceful, kills it by using the cigarette and an aerosol can of aftershave to fashion a makeshift flamethrower and spraying it at the reptile.
One notable part is Bond's first line in Tomorrow Never Dies: after giving a terrorist a light, he punches him and says "Filthy habit!" However, since the guy was clearly smoking hand-rolled (and probably marijuana), and Bond is seen carrying a lighter in the film, one can speculate that he still doesn't have a problem with tobacco. That said, he did have one good reason to say that.
Averted starting with GoldenEye. Pierce Brosnan made a conscious decision to make Bond a non-smoker, a sentiment followed up by Daniel Craig even though both have smoked before (Brosnan did a series of Larks commercials in Japan, in the eighties. Craig gave up smoking to play Bond.) Of course, Brosnan still smokes a cigar in Die Another Day.
In the Hitman movie, the Interpol agent pursuing 47 smokes cigarettes, because he's hard, but never gets to light them, because he's not a villain.
Aliens. Sergeant Apone sticks a cigar in his mouth the moment he wakes up from cold sleep (though he never seems to light it). Not to mention Ripley, whose smoking habit saves her life (when trapped in Medical with the facehuggers, she uses her lighter to activate the fire alarm).
In The Great Race, The Great Leslie smokes a perfectly white pipe. While shaving. Of course, it's a comedy, so it's something of a send-up.
Used as a plot point in Thank You For Smoking; the advertising agency plans to make a film in which the stars smoke, making it look cool. Interestingly, no character is ever seen actually smoking on screen throughout Thank You For Smoking itself.
Used with a raised eyebrow in the movie version of Children of Men - the protagonist smokes because he's in a dying world and wants, even if only subconsciously, to hasten his own demise.
Clint Eastwood almost always smokes cigarillos in his western films, and it has become an iconic part of his "Man with No Name" persona created in his collaborations with Sergio Leone. In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, he even uses his cigar to light a cannon and knock Tuco off a horse. Eastwood made the choice to smoke as part of his character, but hated the cigars, and is a staunch non-smoker. This is part of the reason why he's so often doing a Clint Squint.
Hilariously defied in Muppets from Space: after coating themselves with invisibility spray, the Muppets sneak past a couple of Area 51 guards, one of whom lights up. Pepe the Prawn cannot abide this, and tells him "Smoking is very bad for you, okay?" The guard, thinking it was his colleague who spoke, smiles and says "Oh. I didn't know you care," in a sweet-natured, borderline homoerotic tone, before putting out his cigarette.
The Dude smokes three joints over the course of The Big Lebowski. Then again, The Dude is a loser. Before beginning a new scene, Jeff Bridges usually would ask Ethan or Joel Coen whether "the Dude just burned one." The Coens usually replied "yes," so Jeff would rub his eyes hoping they'd look a bit red. So...only three joints were more-visibly smoked, apparently.
Hobbits, Dwarves, humans, as well as Gandalf and Saruman, smoke in The Lord of the Rings. Aragorn's introduction involves him smoking in a shadowy corner, with the light of his pipe briefly illuminating his eyes. Gandalf also uses his magic to blow a smoke sailboat in a smoke ring contest. Apparently, Peter Jackson considered giving Gandalf candy to eat instead of a pipe, but fortunately the idea was dropped; however, Gandalf is shown coughing while smoking in the third film.
In 3000 Miles to Graceland, the two Federal Marshals trying to catch the casino robbers always light cigarettes after they walk out of a building. Except the sidekick Marshal is always having to fuss with his lighter before it'll light. Finally, towards the end of the movie, the main cop (Quigley) lights his cigarette for him:
Federal Marshal Quigley: Either quit smoking or get a new lighter.
Tyler Durden of Fight Club. He's so cool that his loser friend picks up the habit as well. Marla attends cancer support groups in a cloud of smoke and complains that it doesn't go over well with the tuberculosis group. As the narrator talks about how much he hates her, there's a slow-motion shot of Marla impassively bellowing smoke in slow motion like a dragon.
In Breathless (Godard), the main characters smoked. What made it kind of strange and hilarious was that the cigarettes were always the same length, and when they were done with them, they chucked them across the room. In restaurants, hotels, etc. Apparently, nothing catches fire in Paris.
Sartana smokes hand-rolled cigarettes often when he's not kicking ass.
The second Hellboy movie actually has a disclaimer buried at the end of the credits stating that all the smoking in the film is for dramatic purposes only, and should not be taken as endorsement for the idea that Smoking Is Cool. As if anybody who needs that information is going to read or pay attention to it.
The Wild Geese: Roger Moore's character Sean Fynn, chomping on a cigar even as the mercenaries are infiltrating an enemy base.
In The Usual Suspects, Keyzer Soze sports a cool gold lighter. Using a cigarette to light some gasoline is one of the few things we see him do before the end. While in his loser Verbal persona, he cannot operate a lighter. When he transforms back into the cool crimelord, he deftly flicks the lighter open and strikes a pose lighting up as the real Kobayashi arrives to spirit him away.
A trademark of Johnnie To. In his movies protagonists smoke much more often than the villains. Especially in Vengeance, where they take part in a dramatic shootout while nonchalantly smoking cigarettes.
In Exiled, another Johnnie To movie, Sergeant Chen, a supporting protagonist and a sole survivor of a convoy heist, snipes gangsters while smoking.
In The Bank Dick, after being incorrectly identified as a hero in his small town, WC Fields entertains some kids with some cigarette tricks. He sends them off, saying "I'll teach you when you're older! Didn't take it up myself 'til I was nine..."
Beetlejuice has Juno, who smokes in a way that's cool in a Black Comedy sort of way. A ghost who was killed by having her throat cut (and actually rather lucky, compared to the extreme Jacob Marley Apparel of most of the other ghosts), when she smokes, she "exhales" through the wound in her neck.
In Disney's adaptation, he's even cooler, able to blow colored smoke rings in the shape of letters.
In The Hobbit, Bilbo, Thorin, and Gandalf smoke pipes and can blow smoke rings; Gandalf, being a wizard, can blow them in shapes other than rings, turn them different colors, and make them hang in the air for a long time (making him look "strange and sorcerous") or make them fly around the room.
In the Gone series, Lana in Lies. Justified because she can heal herself of any damage caused.
Also from Discworld, Adora Belle Dearheart. Kissing her is apparently "like kissing an ashtray, but in a good way."
Death's manservant Albert also smokes foul cigarettes that he rolls himself. He of course has no reason to worry about the ill effects of smoking. In the miniseries made of Hogfather it is a Running Gag that Albert constantly fails to roll his fag for various reasons. He finally succeeds at the end, grimaces at the taste and throws it away.
In Mort Death himself smokes an ornate pipe once, which definitely qualifies as cool at the same time as working as a stealth warning against smoking. He blows smoke rings with his eyeholes.
The most intellectual of detectives, Sherlock Holmes, smoked a variety of pipes in his youth but went over to cigarettes as they came into fashion. Philip Marlowe, father of all Badass Longcoat heroes, went the other way, smoking cigarettes in his youth but switching to a pipe as he grew older, more thoughtful, and less badass.
Holmes also indulged in a 7% solution of cocaine. He was also depicted (once) in an Opium Den, though he was trailing a suspect at the time and not actually indulging.
A.J. Raffles, who was intended partly as an Evil Counterpart of Holmes, smoked Sullivan cigarettes, to the point where when returning to London after being lost and presumed dead, he didn't dare smoke that brand, since it was so heavily identified with him.
Subversion: Nero Wolfe not only did not smoke, he objected to smoking to the extent that he once sent a client who had just paid him a five-figure retainer out on the front stoop to smoke. (And this was written in the 1930s, when smoking was socially acceptable.)
Maybe it's supposed to show how neurotic he is. Or, at least, fastidious and eccentric.
That and even being near a smoker can harm your palate. Even back in the 30s gourmands tended not to smoke or, for that matter, drink cocktails/spirits.
Interestingly, Wolfe's sidekick Archie Goodwin also didn't smoke, despite otherwise being a typical hardboiled detective.
In The Lord of the Rings most of the members of the Fellowship smoke. In Middle-earth, smoking was invented by the Shire-Hobbits, and subsequently adopted by the people of Bree-land, and the Dwarves, and at least some of the Rangers of the North (including Aragorn); no other cultures have adopted it, and most places it is unknown. For the hobbits, it's one of their domestic comforts. Gandalf displays his magical nature by blowing special smoke rings. In the first film, Aragorn is introduced as a bad ass through his smoking, posed in the shadows with the light of the pipe illuminating his eyes. As part of Tolkien's Literary Agent Hypothesis, he felt obliged to include an entire appendix explaining the history of smoking in his artificial pre-Beowulf myth cycle.
Probably because tobacco is an American plant, and the book is set in what will become Europe. Tolkien Hand Waved it by explaining that it was brought to Middle-Earth by Numenorian explorers.
One of the eventually solved mysteries in Atlas Shrugged concerns a brand of cigarettes whose trademark is a dollar sign. (Remember the theme of Atlas Shrugged: $ = capitalism = good.) One character gives a speech on how "fire in a man's hands" makes him feel powerful.
Everybody on planet Bellevue smokes like chimneys, the rich and aristocratic using long ivory cigarette holders, probably as a tension reliever. On Bellevue the homefront is every bit as stressful as the battlefront.
Darn near EVERYONE in H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy novels smokes. By the looks of it, enough to keep Philip Morris in business by themselves.
Catherine Li of Chris Moriarty's Spin series. One character even thinks wonders why she hadn't completely covered an explosion crater with them.
Stephen King, the chain-smoking Harley Davidson rider, has many characters that smoke; some of whom have used cigarettes as improvised weapons.
Didn't he quit (many years ago) for health reasons?
Stephen King tends to play around with this more than play it straight, especially in later years since he (presumably) quit. For example, in one short story, a man who'd quit smoking uses the cigarette offered to him by his captors as a weapon, and then, after he escapes, buys a pack of cigarettes and smokes just one as a sort of reward to himself. Other stories depict characters who quit smoking, know they should quit smoking, don't normally smoke but do so in an extreme situation to show how stressed out they are, refuse cigarettes DESPITE how stressed out they are, or other variants on the trope, all pretty much true to life. Rarely is it played as straight as "cigarette = badass."
Ilia Volyova of Alastair Reynold's Revelation Space series. It seems to be a habit for the fun of it, but also because it keeps her going in a twisted environment.
"Omnilingual" by H. Beam Piper. A novella about archaeology on Mars from the Golden Age of Science Fiction, has smoking as a plot point.
Fitz Kreiner from the Doctor Who Expanded Universe smokes "thirty a day". This despite the fact that the Doctor has some sort of Applied Phlebotinum that could almost instantly cure him of his addiction, and almost every other character has lectured him about it at some point or another. Apparently, smoking is just that cool. Also, oddly enough, in one of the novels, Fitz coughs up blood for no possible reason except his smoking. It's never mentioned later on, he never does so again, and he doesn't quit smoking. It's almost like a very minor, low-key Big Lipped Alligator Moment.
There are at least two species of organism that have colonized every planet in the galaxy in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series: Humans, and tobacco.
James Bond, in the books, is a particularly heavy smoker. As mentioned in an episode of QI, there is a passage where Bond lights "his sixtieth cigarette of the day". He probably then goes on to run two miles in six minutes, shoot a homosexual (who can't whistle), eat a magnificent dinner, and make love to many beautiful ladies in a single night, all without ever getting out of breath.
In the Lensman books, nearly everyone smokes like a chimney. They also drink like fishes. Various other X like Y metaphors might also be deployed here. But illegal drugs, like "Thionite", are a scourge on mankind that must be met with hot lead justice, and are invariably a money-maker for the forces of evil. Put it down to the cultural mores of the time, I suppose...
In the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, smoking seems to be a general feature of the Dark court. Particular mention goes to Irial, who is simply that awesome, and Niall, who only starts smoking once he Becomes dark king. Plus, it helps make their feelings for each other clearer- Irial reached into Niall's jacket to get his cigarettes, conveniently brushing his fingers over the other male's chest whilst doing so.
Citizen Admiral Lester Tourville of the Honor Harrington series smokes cigars to accentuate his Military Maverick imagenote As part of an ongoing ploy to avoid the kind of responsibility that gets Admirals shot in the Peoples' Navy. In any given meeting he is required to attend, his assigned seat is always directly under a return vent for the air circulation system, so his cigar smoke will make a hasty Air-Vent Passageway escape instead of lingering in the room.
"Smoking cigarettes is as intimate as we can become with fire without immediate excruciation. Every smoker is an embodiment of Prometheus, stealing fire from the gods and bringing it back home. We smoke to capture the power of the sun, to pacify Hell, to identify with the primordial spark, to feed on the marrow of the volcano. When we smoke, we are performing a version of the fire dance, a ritual as ancient as lightning."
In Spider Robinson's Stardance, people smoke in space without consequence simply by wearing fans on their wrist to draw away the smoke.
In The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade was constantly rolling cigarettes, often using it as a means of exacerbating a pregnant pause. Dashiell Hammett described Sam's actions in such loving detail that the books doubles as a classic murder mystery and an instruction manual for hand-rolling cigarettes.
The Dark Tower: Roland, the baddest dude in the multiverse, is an avid smoker who rolls his own cigarettes. Jake, an 11 year old boy, so emulates him as an adopted father that he takes up smoking, which Roland decides to allow. However, Stephen King's Author Avatar in the series is a chain smoker who is shown to be on a self-destructive path.
In Operation Chaos, Steve notes that he prefers to smoke Philip Morris cigarettes, because they come with a little red smoke imp that can mix you a drink.
Live Action TV
Many TV series in the early-to-mid 1950s featured lead characters who smoked cigarettes. Mainly, these were adult-oriented sitcoms, although a few Dom Coms also had one or more lead characters who were into the habit.
One of the best-known examples to modern audiences is I Love Lucy, where each of the four leads (Ricky and Lucy Ricardo, and Fred and Ethel Mertz) regularly lit up on the set. One episode even featured Lucy and Ethel as dancing cigarette packages, mimicking a frequent early TV advertising tactic. The famous "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" episode (where she appears in a live TV commercial for Vitameatavegamin, a tonic that gets her very drunk) has Lucy pitching a cigarette brand to demonstrate to Ricky her acting abilities.
Another well-known example was I Married Joan, but this series is not as widely distributed these days.
Well-documented are the cigarette commercials, all of which portrayed smoking as "cool", "glamorous", "macho", etc. Many of the commercials depicted its models in various social, recreational and/or adventure settings, with young men and women puffing away in a carefree manner. The last commercials on U.S. television aired on January 2, 1971 ... snuffed out by federal mandate.
On the flip side, as anti-tobacco campaigns began ramping up in the 1990s, one of the more memorable commercials featured the "death of the Marlboro Man." Charles McLaren, the brother of the late Wayne McLaren (one of many Marlboro men employed during the cigarette brand's "Marlboro Country" ad campaign), implored children not to smoke. The commercial opened with a shot of a young, vibrant Wayne McLaren in one of the Marlboro magazine ads, after which a picture appears of his withered, old-looking self hours before his death.
The Andy Griffith Show: Andy Taylor can be seen lighting up in several episodes. For example, after he finished lecturing Opie about lying in the episode "Mr. Mc Beevee." (Mc Beevee — unseen to Andy until the climactic scene — also smokes in the episode, as told by Opie: "He can make smoke come out of his ears.") Andy's smoking is more prominent in the earlier black-and-white episodes, and by the first color season, he had put away his pack for good. (Don Knotts was also a known smoker, although he never lit up on the show.)
Dragnet: Jack Webb was a heavy smoker in real life, and Sgt. Joe Friday was often seen puffing on a cigarette (frequently, these were in transitional scenes).
The Webb-produced spinoffs — Adam-12 and Emergency! — also featured smoking, although it was seldom seen done by the lead characters. An early episode of Adam 12 shows Officer Malloy (Martin Milner) putting out a cigarette, while in Emergency, Nurse Dixie McCall (Julie London, Webb's real-life ex-wife) can also be seen smoking in at least one episode.
Many celebrities who appeared on game shows (prior to the early 1980s) regularly lit up on the air. Several panelists smoked on the Match Game, most famously, the three regulars (Brett Somers and Richard Dawson with cigarettes, and Charles Nelson Reiley with a pipe), while '50s rock star Fabian was seen puffing away on at least one episode of Hollywood Squares. The compedium "The Game Show Encyclopedia" featured a picture from a game called The Object Is, where cigarettes in an ashtray could be easily seen in the picture next to several celebs; another picture in the same book shows Michael Landon taking a drag on the set of The Celebrity Game (a descendant to Hollywood Squares).
On at least one episode of The Price Is Right, former model Anitra Ford (one of the few Barker-era models to leave the show on her own terms) was seen with a lighted cigarette during a Showcase skit (where she was playing a detective's buxom during a mystery-themed showcase); it was not clear if she inhaled or took a full drag.
Until the early 1980s, there were occasional prizes that were related to cigar and cigarette smoking, including (but not limited to) gold-plated lighters, table lighters, cedar cigar/cigarette boxes, humidors, and purse-type leather pouches (where women stashed their smokes, this item itself being part of a larger collection of a leather goods package).
As a parting gift on at least one episode of To Tell the Truth, a threesome of boys (who tried to stump the panel about who was the real heroic Boy Scout) were given a Winston cigarettes gift package ("for their fathers"), while the other contestants were given the same gift package. This was on an episode sponsored by Winston.
Game show legend Bill Cullen was also a pack-plus-a-day smoker throughout most of his adult life, although he rarely smoked on-camera. He had quit by 1987, the year he made his final game show appearances; in one of those final appearances, on The $25,000 Pyramid, Dick Clark remarked to Bill about his recent kicking the habit for good. Ultimately, it was lung cancer (brought on by years of moderately heavy smoking) that killed Cullen in 1990, at the relatively young age of 70.
The Tonight Show: Prior to the early 1980s, numerous guests brought their cigarettes with them, frequently resulting in the set being fogged over in cigarette smoke. Sometimes, five or more people had lighted cigarettes in hand at any one time, and ashtrays were liberally placed between the chairs. Johnny Carson was a smoker, and to a lesser extent so was Ed McMahon, although both stopped lighting up on the set in the early 1980s as the habit became less socially acceptable. (McMahon ultimately quit, while some sources said that Carson continued his pack-plus-a-day habit for most of the rest of his life, ultimately dying in 2005 of respiratory failure brought on by emphysema.)
You Again, starring veteran actor Jack Klugman and then-newcomer John Stamos, in a sitcom where a boy in his late teens (Stamos) comes to live with his estranged father. Stamos' character lights up in one early episode, but (after Klugman's character puts the cigarette out) is never seen smoking again.
Invoked by Chandler in an early episode of Friends when the others try to talk him into quitting: "I've had it with your cancer, and your emphysema, and your heart disease. The bottom line is, smoking is cool, and you know it."
Spike's introduction was of him smoking, in a very bad ass way.
And he continues to do so. At one point he lights a cigarette in a hospital, right in front of a "no smoking" sign.
When he reappears on AngelJames Marsters wanted to covey to fans that smoking is not cool, thus Spike gave up the habit.
Although BTVS started off with the convention that "Everyone that smokes is evil or doomed" (N.B. not necessarily dead - even the minor character in "Nightmares" who goes into the basement for a "smoke break" then gets assaulted by the monster, lives), this is well and truly subverted in later seasons. In "Band Candy", Giles and Joyce smoke. Giles gets off scot free, and it would be drawing a long bow to connect Joyce's death two seasons later to this incident. Further, Faith doesn't smoke in Season 3 when she is evil, and does smoke in Season 7 when she's good (and not doomed).
Harmony: I am a villain, Spike. Hello. (takes one drag, coughs, splutters)
And who can forgot season 2, when Angel becomes Angelus? He bites into a prostitute (who is smoking) and when he comes up, he exhales the smoke. Not only bad ass, but frightening for fans used to the friendly, broody hunk they're used to.
Andrew looks like an idiot, in his opening "Storyteller" fantasy, when he has his big Meerschaum pipe. (Which he still hasn't got the hang of, when he pops up in Angel...No, not like that!)
The X-Files had its Cigarette Smoking Man. However, the other characters consider it a bad habit, and he later develops lung cancer.
Plus he does it everywhere, whether allowed to or not, even in FBI headquarters.
The Doctor himself was seen smoking only once: Episode One, "An Unearthly Child", where he lit a comically gigantic pipe.
Omar Little on The Wire, who has a tendency to be filmed at least once every season lurking in the shadows of a back alley smoking a cigarette.
Played with in Katherine Applegate's Making Out series. Nina 'smokes', but never lights her cigarettes. Somehow, she still manages to get through packs at quite a pace.
Gomez, debonaire and worldly patriarch of The Addams Family smoked cigars since early childhood, apparently at his mother's insistence. Indeed, whenever he takes one, it lights up on its own.
Or is already lit. You reference the movie—in the original, live-action TV series, Morticia also smoked. She didn't use cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, she just... smoked.
Gomez and Morticia also occasionally shared a hookah.
Jayne from Firefly is sometimes seen smoking a cigar.
Both Starbucks, in both versions of Battlestar Galactica, have been seen smoking cigars; The modern version of Baltar was smoking a cheroot during his introduction, and Doc Cottle is almost never seen without a cigarette on the go. Yet it was Laura Roslin who got cancer; go figure.
Both of the main characters from The Sweeney, just so you know they're double-hard bastards.
In Mad Men, Everybody Smokes, and just about every one of them looks damn cool doing it. However, Don Draper definitely takes the cake.
Notably, Pete, who most fans think of as an uptight jerkass, can't smoke without choking. Additionally, Peggy starts smoking more often as her character becomes more assertive. She even smokes a joint in one episode.
Many characters in Skins smoke freely and heavily (and a variety of substances, at that); Cook and Effy probably make it look the coolest. One notable exception is Katie, who does pretty much every drug that doesn't require syringes but doesn't smoke because of concerns about cancer. Until Effy teaches her how to smoke in one of the most Les Yay-laced scenes ever.
Jennifer Paterson of Two Fat Ladies was rarely seen outside the kitchen without a cigarette. Of course, she also died of lung cancer.
That '70s Show An episode had Donna revealing she smokes. When Eric points out that smoking causes cancer, Donna replies that it makes her look cool, so it's an even trade.
Many situation comedies — including but not limited to The Brady Bunch, Leave It to Beaver, and so forth — featured single episodes where a teen-aged or child character experiments with smoking but decides he doesn't like it. On The Brady Bunch, Mike (the father, played by Robert Reed) admits he smoked in his younger days, while on Beaver the titular character steals his father's rare pipe to smoke it. Another episode of Beaver had Wally dating a woman who smoked.
Another situation comedy, Diff'rent Strokes graphically showed the negative effects of smoking. The father of Arnold's best friend admits to being a chronic smoker and needs a lung operation ... then, in a show of how addictive the habit can be, is shown lighting a cigarette as he leaves the Drummonds' apartment.
While not a situation comedy, another negative depiction of smoking is seen in one of the most famous episodes of Little House on the Prairie. In the set-up to the defining scene in the episode "May We Make Them Proud" (where a fire at the School for the Blind kills Alice Garvey, and the baby son of Adam and Mary Kendall), Albert and a friend sneak into the basement to smoke a pipe, but after being shooed from the basement, leave a burning pipe in a pile of blankets.
Good Times: Wilnona is seen lighting up in at least one episode (the episode "Florida's Night Out," where the gang takes Florida out for the first time since the tragic death of her husband).
Big Bang Theory: Amy says "I recently trained a capuchin monkey to smoke cigarettes... He looks much cooler than the non-smoking monkeys. Although it's not much of a contest. The other monkeys just sit around and masturbate."
Harmon Rabb from JAG used to smoke cigars until ”The Return of Jimmy Blackhorse” in the third season.
Believe it or not, this trope actually appeared in Power Rangers. Well...sort of. Obviously the writers were never going to get away with having a ranger actually light up, so instead, they had the Black RPM Ranger suck on a lollipop. It's...more badass than it sounds, really.
The eponymous bikers in Sons of Anarchy all smoke like chimneys. Club president Clay Morrow goes one better and smokes big fat cigars, but that's because he's played by Ron Perlman.
Numerous album covers of virtually any genre — far too many to be reasonably listed — had the artists, actors, models, etc., with lighted cigarettes in hand or nearby ... implying they they smoked.
Just the same, countless publicity photos featured the artists with cigarettes, cigarette packs, etc. in hand.
"Smoke that Cigarette" by Phil Harris has many references that make smoking seem cool. The end line is someone smoking.
(Just like every other profession, including athletics, many professional wrestlers smoke to varying degrees in Real Life. However, this list depicts only those instances where smoking was seen on-camera (usually as part of storylines or gimmicks) or documented cases where wrestlers were known smokers.)
During a WrestleMania III press conference, normally genial announcer "Mean" Gene Okerlund once famously shot to one journalist, "Put that cigarette out!" (although the offending reporter was never seen on camera). Okerlund is a non-smoker.
During his run in WCW, The Giant (Paul "The Big Show Wight) — had a short-lived gimmick called "The Smoking Giant." Wight's character would show such great disdain for his opponents (usually jobbers, or wrestlers paid to lose) that he would light a cigarette, take a drag or two during the match and then finish off the cigarette after pummeling his opponent into submission.
On the June 18, 1998, WCW ThunderDisco Inferno , in all apparent seriousness, if he was afraid that the smoking would stunt his growth.
In a parody of Basic Instinct, aired as part of WWE's promotion of WrestleMania 21 (tagline: "WrestleMania Goes Hollywood"), WWE Diva Staycy Keibler — taking the role of Sharon Stone's Catherine Tramell — can be seen smoking during the interrogation scene. It is not known to what extent, or if, Keibler is/was a smoker.
During the early days of TNA, "Wildcat" Chris Harris was smoking during a backstage promo.
The Sandman, who has worked in ECW, WCW, WWE, and TNA, once went through a gimmick where he would smoke a cigarette prior to his matches. In one case, his habit backfired on him when, during a match with bitter rival Tommy Dreamer, a lit cigarette was pushed into his eye.
During their run in the WWE, Ron Simmons and John Bradshaw Layfield were "The APA," more often seen in comedy skits smoking cigars and playing poker, rather than beating down bad guys.
This was prior to Layfield's transition into his "evil millionaire" gimmick as "JBL," which reflected his real-life financial trading career. Layfield continued his cigar-chomping ways during his JBL run.
Ex-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura — most famous for his time as shamelessly pro-heel commentator in the WWF — smoked cigars after he got into politics, although it is not known whether he smoked or chewed (or to what extent) during his wrestling career.
In his autobiography To Be the Man, legendary wrestler Ric Flair (believed to be a non-smoker) wrote that Ken Patera — the former Olympic weightlifter-turned-wrestler — was a regular smoker. Flair asked Patera once about his decision to smoke, to which Patera replied that he didn't need aerobic conditioning to lift weights.
Freebird Buddy Roberts smoked and developed throat cancer as a result. He required surgery and uses a voice transmitter in order to speak.
Many times, a heel wrestler (or manager) will use a lighted cigarette or cigar as a weapon – often, rubbing the burning tip into the eyes – against his opponent to set up a finish and gain a cheap win. The most common example is The Dream Team's win over the team of Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo to win the WWF Tag Team Titles in 1985; the Dream Team's manager, Johnny Valiant, began chomping on a cigar during the bout and, when it came time for the finish, handed the lighted cigar to Greg "the Hammer" Valentine to rub into Windham's face, setting him up for an easy pin by Windham's partner, Brutus Beefcake.
Zig-Zagged by Dino Attack RPG. There are a number of Badass characters who smoke, including Jim "Spy" Covalent and Clint Wayne, thus playing this trope straight. However, the trope is defied by a strict "no smoking" policy in Dino Attack Headquarters, and because a cigarette burned her home to the ground when she was only a child, Smoking isnotCool in Amanda's eyes.
The archwizard Elminster Aumar from the Forgotten Realms setting smokes an ornate pipe that is enchanted to never run out of tobacco. Presumably he can afford to smoke seeing as how he's immortal.
Warhammer 40K: While some humans are known to smoke, the orks are no slouches at it, adding to their already ridiculously long list of awesomeness tropes. Just about every Burna Boy has a noxious cigar to chomp on, and one special character even notes that he was "badly wounded and out of cigars", without telling which one he considered them ore urgent issue.
Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. You don't see him smoke in game, but you find cigarettes in his apartment, and this trailer has him lighting up, possibility to deal with the trauma of becoming an augment.
Bob Page is a smoker as well, possibility to give him more of a evil look. Pritchard is also a smoker, which can be seen by the pack of cigarettes on his desk.
Ryotaro Dojima from Persona 4 has this look in effect in his Social Link status window, and it does nicely complement his gritty badass detective look.
Solid Snake from Metal Gear was notable in that, back in his Heroic Mime days, the only way you knew he was a badass was because he had a pack of cigarettes in his inventory. In later games they drain his health as they're used, which would make them a subversion - if not for the fact that he smokes one after each boss fight in the first game, which boosts his maximum health and (inexplicably) item capacity. He also gets nagged by his sidekick about it, but with the mild subversion that he seems to get some masochistic pleasure out of the nagging.
And to see how big his addiction is, at least in Metal Gear Solid, Snake got his cigarettes by swallowing the pack and later regurgitating it (since he was not only stripped naked right before the mission started, but also injected with serums that temporarily stopped his stomach acids. This was a side effect of what they were actually supposed to do, but it did mean he could still, you know, smoke the things once he got there).
Funnily enough, this detail was overlooked in the novelization: Instead Snake simply steals a pack of cheap cigarettes on-site, and spends the rest of the book complaining about their terrible flavour.
In the prequels, Naked Snake/Big Boss, Solid Snake's clone-father, is shown to be fond of cigars, and carries them around similarly during the game. So it's apparently a genetic trait. He claims to have picked the habit up from his mentor, The Boss. Ocelot, who became so fond of him, even learned to embrace this trope, too, especially in MGS4.
By MGS4 it's being used very clearly to show how much of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold Snake is and how little he cares about living; and, for the first time, he acts like an addict, getting moody when he can't smoke. And yet, by the end of his final mission... he quits smoking. He even says "those things can kill you". He now wants to live as much of his life as he can.
The kind of cigarettes smoked by Snake at any one point in the timeline pretty much entirely express his character at that point. In Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, he smokes a Bland-Name Product version of Lucky Strikes, stereotypical soldier's tobacco. In Metal Gear Solid he smokes a fictional brand (Moslems) designed to leave no taste or smell and almost no second-hand smoke. In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, they're still smokeless, but change to a real-life brand (Hope). In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots he smokes another fictional brand (The Boss) of lethal unfiltered hand-rolled cigarettes with 26mg tar each which he stores in a little box and stubs out in a neat portable ashtray, and, symbolically, cigar smoke is shown to make him cough. He smokes with the cigarette between his thumb and forefinger in 2 and 4, and between his third and fourth fingers in 1.
Just to be super nit-picky, Snake's cigarettes in MGS4 are actually filtered, take a look at them in the item inventory.
There's two Metal Gear games in which he doesn't smoke, both non-canon. One is Snake's Revenge, an initial attempt to make a Western-aimed sequel to Metal Gear for the NES that preceded the other sequels (where Snake was characterized as heavy smoker). The other is Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, where he instead starts the game with a 'Fogger', described by the Item box as a "Device that lights up and emits smoke".
Resident Evil: Chris Redfield is shown smoking in the live-action intro of the first game, though it was edited out in the American version only to be added back in the director's cut. In the intro for his campaign in 6, he's shown drinking and smoking heavily while going through a Heroic BSOD, the latter only implied by the ashtray that is completely stuffed with cigarette butts sitting next to him. With that, it can be assumed that he's the "smokes to calm his nerves" type.
Final Fantasy VII's Cid Highwind chain-smokes like a maniac and still spears random monsters on a par with the Super Soldier who runs the team. He even lights a stick of dynamite with his cigarette in one of his Limit Breaks. His later appearances in canon (Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus) seem at first to imply he's given it up, since he doesn't smoke at all in the former, and his new character design doesn't have the pack hooked in his goggles any more. But then toward the end of Cerberus, he indulges in a victory smoke after blowing up one of the Midgar reactors.
As for Tim Shafer games: Eddie Riggs deserves mentioning, even though he doesn't seem to get to smoke any of the cigarettes he lights...
Many characters in Bioshock, in deference to both its Ayn Rand influence and its time period. The main character is smoking on an airplane in the opening sequence, and given the look of the air so is everyone else, totally in-line with 1960. There are cigarettes and cigars everywhere on Rapture, where personal freedom is tantamount to the fact that it's a closed environment with no ready access to fresh air.
Indeed, you can grab both cigars and cigarettes from the environment and smoke them, for a small boost to your EVE - costing you only an equally-small price in Health.
Smoking was casually wide-spread in Fallout 3 wasteland settlements, and there didn't seem to be any character consistency behind it. A look through the G.E.C.K. revealed why: almost every NPC who wanders will cross an idle-point where they will run an idle animation for smoking. It's interesting that these were all placed outside, which is why the Vault dwellers and Enclave are never seen smoking, neither are Moira or the Doc, since they never go outside. Some players believe that Jericho smokes more if given cigarettes, but he cycles through the idle anim at random, though not as often as he randomly complains about there not being enough cigarettes around.
Cass and Boone in Fallout: New Vegas don't just idle on smoking, it's their full-time job from which they break from only to kill things. These are the two most Badass and jaded Anti Heros.
The Spy from Team Fortress 2 carries around a cigarette case (that doubles as a disguise kit), and is often shown smoking in official videos, artwork, etc.
Due to its film noir roots, almost everyone in Grim Fandango smokes. Lampshaded in the manual: "If you are offended by the amount of smoking in the game, remember that everyone who smokes is dead. Think about it."
Bill from Left 4 Dead is always smoking. When he dies, the cigarette is still in his mouth, but the fire on the end goes out.
Inverted with Dante of the Devil May Cry series. He's as badass as you can get, but his creator intentionally made him a non-smoker, because he thinks it's cooler.
Ninja Theory, the developer in charge of the reboot, don't think so. Cigarettes are a prominent part of Dante's new design.
In Mafia II, Vito Scaletta is shown lighting up in several cutscenes, as well as the other characters and various encountered non-player characters. One of the chapters involves a stolen cigarette truck.
In the original, uncut Resident Evil, Chris lights one up in his intro. If you get his worst ending, he smokes his last cigarette as he sits alone in the getaway chopper. This didn't come up again until RE 6, where he's seen stubbing a cigarette out into a crowded ashtray, likely having fallen back into old habits to help cope with the loss of his team.
Sam Gideon from Vanquish smokes cigarettes, often at improbably awesome times (like when he's hanging from a ledge over an endless drop by one hand), and can even use them in combat - smoking a cig and then throwing it out from behind cover will draw the heat- and motion-sensors of the Mecha-Mooks, letting you get in a free shot or two.
The cybernetically-enhanced Colonel Badass, Robert Burns, also smokes heavily, and can be seen lighting one up whenever you leave him idling at the end of a section for more than a few seconds.
Kiryu Kazuma, the badass Yakuza protagonist of the Yakuza series smokes. Depending on the game, he'll light one up when left idling for a bit, or get his cigarette lit by a pretty girl in a Hostess Club. He's even got a Limit Break attack that requires him to light up a cig in the middle of a brawl, allowing him to counter the unfortunate Mook who inevitably attacks him when his guard is seemingly lowered... by spitting the cigarette in the guy's face, and then using the resulting opening to launch a devastating blow.
In Yakuza 4, the tradition is proudly maintained - all four (badass) protagonists are smokers, though exactly how heavily they smoke varies. Interestingly, it even seems like the more badass of the protagonists, are also the ones that smoke the most...
Slayer from Guilty Gear smokes a pipe and just to show how Badass he is he blocks with the smoke.
Baiken is seen smoking a pipe in her pre-battle animation as well.
Duke Nukem is now smoking as evidenced in the cover art and trailers for Duke Nukem Forever.
The Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2 chain smokes. A lot. Fortunately, cancer has been cured by the 22nd century.
It's actually mentioned that by the time of Mass Effect, cigarettes have been modified to remove all harmful substances. Illusive Man and anyone else who smokes in Mass Effect literally only does it for effect.
Hilariously averted in one of Zaeed Massani's anecdotes:
Zaeed: You smoke, Shepard? Don't. That stuff'll kill you. Knew a kid once, half your age. Smoked too close to a cache of explosives. Tossed a butt, blew himself sky-high.
Captain Price from the Call of Duty (and Modern Warfare) series. Even though he smokes cigars often, the most prominent point is that the first playable mission in Modern Warfare, "Crew Expendable", begins with him smoking as the SAS prepare to board the cargo ship, while the final mission, "Dust To Dust", of Modern Warfare 3 has him light one up right after he survives a helicopter crash and hangs Makarov. Soap has a cigar in "Modern Warfare 2" during "Cliffhanger", and the cover to his comic series shows Ghost lighting up too.
In L.A. Noire, every character smokes extensively (both cigarettes and cigars), except the protagonist Cole Phelps. If you stand around doing nothing, your partner will light up a cigarette. Of course, they're all members of the LAPD in 1947, so Phelps is the odd bird for not smoking.
Parodied in Steve Van Helsing: Process Server where the title character is a non-smoker but lights a cigarette at "particularly cool moments." He also wears a leather jacket practically all the time, even in Egypt.
The protagonist of Sluggish Morss likes to puff on some sort of cigarette-type thing, apparently.
Starcraft II: Jim Raynor, Matt Horner and Tychus Findlay all smoke big manly cigars, but Jim is seen to smoke cigarettes as well. He even has a pack in his shirt sleeve as part of his cutscene model.
In the first game, Firebats smoked inside their helmets.
In the PC Engine CD port of Mad Stalker: Full Metal Force, Chico Rodrigues, the pilot of Hound Dog, is seen smoking during the intro and has a cigarette in his hand in his character select portrait.
Mokepon features Atticus Brent, a normal teenager living in the Pokémon world and generally being confused by all the insane people and logic within it. He is also a chain smoker who survives mainly on a diet of cheap jerky and cigarettes. This is not an understatement, when he finishes a cigarette, he pops it into his mouth, chews the still smoking butt and swallows it.
Captain Jordan Lee from Skins is shown almost always smoking. She casually lights up in the Director's office (possibly as a sign of contempt when her boss questions one of Jordan's military decisions) and ignores a Non-smoking sign in a hospital ward and continues smoking around her comatose boyfriend. To be fair, he is a werewolf so presumably it takes a little bit more than mere cigarette smoke to harm him.
The One Electronic, in the webcomic Rice Boy, is a trench coat wearing ancient agent of God, who smokes. Never mind that he is a robot, and has no mouth.
Narbonic completely subverts this - the start of Dave Davenport's long, hard voyage towards being something more than "an awkward nerd" is marked by him dropping the habit of smoking, despite having always been (or not. It's complicated) such a compulsive smoker that if you took the cigarette out of his mouth a new one instantaneously materialized.
The Pogs from Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire are probably the least Bad Ass race of science fiction history. They are a race of small lizard-likes who are allied with the humans, doing all the odd jobs we find too mundane or monotonous, but still need to be done by a sentient. Smoking even makes them look Bad Ass. See attached
Three of the four main cast, and the vast majority of the secondary cast of Cry Havoc smoke, nearly all are battle hardened mercenaries so they tend to prefer cigarettes.
Gurren Lagann fancomic DOUBLE K pictures Kamina with a cigarette in his mouth any panel he isn't actively doing something awesome.
See also Cronus Ampora, who keeps a cigarette on his lips at all times as part of his Greaser Delinquent shtick. However, despite that, it's made clear cigarettes are not something his species is familiar with, and he doesn't understand why you would light one on fire.
Used very briefly in El Goonish Shive. Mr. Verres smokes for two strips to establish his badassery then the cigarette disappears for the rest of the scene and is only seen once after that.
Elf Blood has a few smoking characters, generally to the point of Oral Fixation. Shanna and Carlita are both competent roguish fistfighters, while Gipsy is a malevolent, manipulative bitch.
Mona Montrois in C'est la Vie is a French exile in Los Angeles. She sees no reason to give up smoking just because her American hosts abominate it, and this has led to clashes between her fierce French birthright - the right to smoke - and various annoyed Americans. Being French, her smoking makes her cool and louche.
In The Pokemon Squad, three characters are confirmed smokers. Barney constantly smokes because he thinks it's healthy. Elmo smokes because he finds it fun. June started smoking when she was 14 (she started after KaBlam! got canceled).
Smoking fighter is the best part of this video, despite the fact that he should probably be coughing up a lung.
Everyone assumed I smoked, but honestly, with one and a half cybertronic lungs, I couldn’t risk it.
The first two seasons of the 1960s animated TV series The Flintstones were co-sponsored by Winston cigarettes. Commercials were produced featuring the four lead characters (Fred and Wilma Flintstone, and Barney and Betty Rubble) demonstrating the virtues of the cigarettes. Starting with the 1962-1963 season, the primary sponsor was changed to Welch's (grape juice and jellies), and the characters — except for the occasional villain — were never seen lighting up again.
Bender of Futurama smokes cigars. Lacking lungs or any organic material, he gets no negative nor positive effects from doing so. He admits he just does it to look cool.
Zapp Brannigan also thinks it's cool because "teenagers all smoke; they seem pretty on the ball!"
Brock Samson of The Venture Bros.. (Useless Trivia Tidbit: Both "Brock" and "Samson" are name brands for loose leaf tobacco.)
Subverted in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. During flashbacks, mob boss Salvatore Valestra is shown smoking like the Badass gangster he is. Fast forward to the present, where he wheezes and coughs, forever slave to oxygen tanks.
Emperor Zombie takes this to the extreme when he happily smokes a professor of ancient evil texts (after vaporizing him) in a giant hookah.
The Simpsons has TONS of smoking in it. Homer has often been seen smoking a cigar or pipe trying to be "cool", Marge used to smoke when she was a teen (she only bought one pack), Bart wants to smoke when he grows up, and Lisa once got addicted to inhaling secondhand smoke so she could concentrate more on her ballet lessons. Aunts Patty and Selma simply can't LIVE without their Laramie Cigarettes (although they're about as far from cool as you can get), Krusty the Clown often smokes when he's not on screen (unless a skit on his show calls for it), Bart's teacher Mrs. Krabappel smokes when not teaching... in fact, practically half or two-thirds of the cast on the show smokes!
Parodying The Flintstones cigarette commercials from its early years, the Simpsons episode "Three Men and a Comic Book" features, as part of a back story, Radioactive Man (a superhero comic book character) advertising Laramie Cigarettes; in that parody's acknowledgement that the commercials helped entice children to smoke, Radioactive Man's sidekick, Fallout Boy, wonders if he, too, can smoke ("Not 'til you're 15!"). Another episode has Itchy and Scratchy (the cat-and-mouse duo who are a takeoff of Tom and Jerry) advertising Laramie cigarettes, with Itchy suffering from smoker's hack throughout the commercial.
Word of God says a deleted scene from the Kim Possible episode "Truth Hurts" had Kim say this at a school assembly:
Kim: Smoking makes you look cool. Yeah, it rots your lungs and stuff, but it looks cool.
The Great Mouse Detective: Basil is seen smoking from a pipe most of the time, but he smokes a cigarette while in disguise at a pub, which admittedly makes him look very badass. Ratigan also smokes cigarettes with great flourish. TONS of other minor/secondary characters in the film smoke, both good and bad guys. This seemed to have the second or third most smoking in a Disney film (The Three Caballeros had the most.) One scene even showed the awful side effects, when some mean woman at the bar blew smoke in Dawson's face to make him hack and wheeze, only to laugh at him!
In one of the later episodes of King of the Hill one of the reasons Luanne thinks Lucky is "cool" is because he smokes, but you have to consider back in season one an entire episode was dedicated to Luanne forcing Hank, Peggy, and Bobby to quit smoking because she doesn't want them to end up like her mother.
Subverted in South Park. After seeing an incredibly dorky school assembly on how "cool" not smoking is, the boys all take it up.
All of the Looney Tunes characters have done it or tried it.
The Tom and Jerry cartoons have them smoking most of the time especially when with friends.
In China, Korea, and Japan, you aren't considered a man unless you smoke. That includes Kung Fu masters, too.
Winston Churchill was often seen chomping on a massive cigar. He never actually lit it up except for special occasions, but kept it around because he knew it made him look Bad Ass. There's a famous picture of Churchill looking extremely grumpy because the photographer just snatched the cigar out of his mouth. Oddly enough, Churchill was one of the last members of parliament who actually used the complementary snuff. Smoking has been banned in the main parliament building in Britain for centuries, and the snuff was a way to placate smokers.
Benedict Cumberbatch's photoshoot for the LA Times. On Tumblr, fans of the actor went absolutely crazy for it- some even saying things like "I don't like smoking but he makes it look sexy."
Frank Zappa, who declared cigarettes to be a food. He died at 52 of prostate cancer.
The late comedian Bill Hicks was a voracious smoker and frequently invoked this trope in his act, often while admitting that smoking is terrible for you. He died at 32 of pancreatic cancer, which is not apparently smoking related.
Joe Strummer, who once said no non-smokers or ex-smokers should be allowed to listen to music made by people who smoke. He died at 50 of an unrelated heart defect.
FDR is often remembered with his aristocratic cigarette holder. He died at 63 of a stroke.
Adolf Galland enjoyed his cigars so much that he had an ashtray installed in his Messerschmitt Bf-109.
Douglas Bader used to smoke his pipe in the cockpit of his Spitfire.
Stalin's pipe became kind of his signature and a subject of some (rather somber, since he's the goddamn Stalin) jokes about him (check the Russian Humor).
Tom Waits. Find any image of him with a cigarette and he'll look like a badass.
Kurt Vonnegut, despite being a writer, had all the badassness you need: Badass Moustache, Badass luck (he lived through the bombing of Dresden, one of the largest bomb raids during WWII) and smoked unfiltered Pall Malls all his adult life. What he said about his smoking habit? "It's a classy way to commit suicide". Irony in that he died of brain injury from the fall in his own apartment at the age of 84.
Ayn Rand was an avid chain smoker and considered it a desirable part of a heroic lifestyle, which is why all the heroes (and even villains) are heavy smokers in her novels. If you wanted to be part of her inner circle of friends and admirers, smoking was almost a necessity. Unsurprisingly, she developed lung cancer later in her life, though she did not die from it as is sometimes claimed.
Basically one of the two reasons candy cigarettes exist.
Ron White, the famous comedian, shows on stage with a cigar in his mouth typically already lit, smokes it on-stage, and has a glass of whiskey nearby that he drinks from. Sometimes he'll use cigarettes instead, which often gets a positive reaction from the Genre Savvy audience when he lights one up.
Nascar drivers David Pearson and Dick Trickle's claim to fame was smoking in their car. It was said that if you saw David Pearson smoking in the car you would be passed. Both drivers had cigarette lighters installed in their cars and made their helmets so they could get the cigarette in their mouth.
Anime singer Yukio Yamagata. An ultra growly voice given to him through chain smoking that he is very well known for.
Japanese singer Nagabuchi Tsuyoshi took up smoking to deliberately invoke this trope. Not in terms of a cool image, but in terms of a cool voice, since he thought his natural was too high and sweet.
Bob Marley. Smoked joints and is often used as a poster boy for marijuana. A large part of his fanbase enjoys his music equally because it promotes the use of weed.
Agatha Christie hated smoking, but it was so cool during her age that she forced herself to smoke two cigarettes a day for six months before finally giving up.