When it's time to relax, a smoker will take out their cigarette, pipe or cigar and enjoy some quiet contemplation. And one fun thing to do when you're puffing away is to blow smoke rings, i.e. visible vortex rings of smoke.
When this is done in the company of friends, it can often become a contest. If a Magical Being is involved, or it takes place in a world governed by Cartoon Physics, expect the smoke rings to take on more unusual and elaborate shapes than mere rings.* An obvious subtrope of Smoking Is Cool. Occasionally can result in Second-Face Smoke if the smoker wishes to be rude to someone. May take place in a Smoky Gentlemen's Club.
Very much a Discredited Trope nowadays, given smoking's well-known health risks.
- Sanji of One Piece will occasionally blow heart-shaped smoke rings whenever he's fawning over a lady.
- In the four-panel manga intermission "chapter" of Yotsuba&!, Torako blows a smoke ring after Yotsuba tells her where she's from. When Yotsuba asks where Torako is from, she starts giving directions, but Yotsuba wants her to blow a smoke ring in that direction.
- In Gaston Lagaffe
- In a early book, Gaston blow a smoke ring so big he could pretend it was a hula hoop.
- Gaston also created a machine to do this, so non-smokers wouldn't be denied the fun of blowing smoke rings.
- One Fantastic Four comic showed Doctor Doom blowing smoke rings. What makes it even more impressive is that he is still wearing his steel face mask at the time.
- Wonder Woman Vol 1 & Sensation Comics: Paula von Gunther would blow smoke rings, but she gave up smoking after her HeelFace Turn. Shen she later pretended to have returned to villainy to infiltrate a villain organization she casually blew smoke rings and twirled her signature cigarette holder while telling the conspirators that her friendship with Wonder Woman was all a ruse to find weaknesses in the hero.
- The Wizard of Id: One strip had the Turnkey blowing smoke rings. When the Spook compliments him on his, he comments that he had an uncle who could triangles and squares, but that his face exploded trying to do a parallelogram.
- On Peter Pan, Peter and the Indian Chief smoke a peace pipe after Peter rescues Tiger Lily. The rings they blow are triangular.
- Warren T. Rat from An American Tail blows rings shaped like dollar signs and jaws with sharp teeth.
- One of the crows blows rings a couple of times in Dumbo.
- The caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland blows colorful smoke rings and other shapes that seem to have a life of their own and seem to be controlled by what he says, such as forming letters when he says words that sounds like letters, or creating illustrations when he recites a poem. He also gives Alice a nice faceful of Second-Face Smoke.
- A pipe-smoking skeleton in Corpse Bride emits heart-shaped smoke rings from his eye sockets.
- On Pinocchio, Honest John and Gideon are smoking cigars and drinking beer with the Pleasure Island coachman, and Gideon takes a smoke ring, dunks it in his mug and eats it.
- The dragon in Shrek blows a heart shaped smoke ring when donkey flatters her to keep her from killing him, he then tries to get away from her by claiming that he has asthma as an excuse.
- In Battleground (1949), Kinnie does this spitefully, right into the faces of two Germans that came under white flag as part of the surrender parley.
- In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf and Bilbo share some pipeweed. Bilbo blows a smoke ring, then Gandalf uses his magic to create a full-masted tall ship out of smoke, which he then 'sails' through Bilbo's smoke ring.
- Done in the same fashion in The Hobbit.
- In Song of the South, Uncle Remus blows smoke rings with Br'er Frog. Being a Magical Negro (and the fact that it takes place in a cartoon segment), his smoke ring is square.
- In the famous slow-mo intro of Tim Roth's character in Reservoir Dogs, he is seen puffing out neat smoke rings in a flashback scene.
- The Mask. While the title character is in the park with Tina smoking a cigarette, he uses his magical powers to blow a smoke heart and then blows a smoke arrow (from his nose) to shoot through it.
- In one scene in The Thin Man, William Powell can be seen blowing smoke rings.◊
- Noted chain-smoker Heather (Janeane Garofalo) can do this in Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
- In the 1943 film, The Outlaw, a cowboy blows a rather impressive smoke ring.
- In Young Mr. Lincoln, an overconfident witness starts blowing smoke rings while being cross-examined by Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln then catches him in a lie and badgers him into confessing to the murder.
- In The Long Voyage Home, a sailor on a merchant ship does this before getting underway, and then again when he's dying of a punctured lung.
- In Revenge of the Nerds, during the Lambda Lambda Lambda party, one of the Mus coaxes Lewis up to his room to have sex. Later, he's seen at the top of the stairs wearing a red Hugh Hefner robe, smoking a pipe and blowing smoke rings.
- In Mulholland Dr., Adam is blowing a smoking ring during the song rehearsal.
- Ben in Knocked Up is blowing smoking rings.
- Played for horror in Alien: Covenant. While on an alien planet, a crewman goes off for a quiet smoke and steps on some plants which release a cloud of spores. As he indulges in this trope, the spores sense the smoke and suddenly change direction in mid-air to swarm towards smoker and invade his body.
- In Starred Up, Eric is shown blowing smoke rings in his cell as part of a Time Passes Montage.
- In the fourth Discworld book, Mort, Death himself smokes an ornate pipe, and blows smoke rings with his eyeholes.
- In The Hobbit, Bilbo, Thorin and Gandalf love to blow smoke rings. Bilbo's are plain old smoke rings, which he just puffs innocently into the air to be carried away by the wind. Thorin and Gandalf move on to magical smoke rings: Thorin can command where his rings go, and Gandalf one-ups Thorin by having his smoke rings fly through the middle of Thorin's then come back to hover over his head while changing color. When he sees this display, Bilbo feels a small amount of shame over how proud he had been over his earlier efforts.
- In one of the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon books, there is a description of a party where two people are having fun one-upping each other with magical smoke designs.
- The Pale Criminal: A teenaged girl from the BdM (basically, Nazi Germany's Girl Scouts), does this with one of Bernie Gunther's cigarettes in an effort to come off as adult and seductive. He throws her out of his apartment.
- At the end of The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Chaser", Professor A. Daemon — a purveyor of love potions — is shown blowing heart-shaped smoke rings.
- A sketch on the Russian sketch comedy show "Big Difference" (Большая разница) puts The Matrix in an early 1900s silent film, with a Chaplinesque Neo. When he first meets Trinity, dressed as a flapper, she blows a heart-shaped smoke ring from her cigarette holder.
- Strange Hill High: After a grizzly bear attacks the classroom in "Health & Safety", it steals Mr. Garden's pipe and starts blowing smoke rings. (It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context)
- Frasier: Martin gets hold of some contraband cigars via a friend who works in customs. Daphne reveals she can do this. When Niles compliments her talent she offers to teach him which involves her clasping his cheeks and telling him to purse his lips. Naturally, this is when Frasier walks in and assumes something else is going on.
Niles: Niles, what are you doing?
Niles: I'm learning how to blow smoke.
- Hazbin Hotel: In "Addict" demon overlord Valentino blows some smoke at Angel Dust that wraps around his neck, creepily caresses his chin, shackles his upper wrists, forms a pair of hearts, then finally flows into his nostrils.
- Looney Tunes:
- Tom and Jerry:
- Episode "Texas Tom", Tom greets a female feline by rolling a cigarette, lighting it with his six-gun, and blowing "HOWDY" in one breath.
- In another cartoon, Tom gives Jerry one last cigarette before his demise from a Rube Goldberg-type invention. Jerry blows out the number 8, just before the heavy object that's supposed to fall on Jerry falls on Tom instead.
- City Hunters communicates the Love Interest rejecting the protagonist in the first episode in several ways, including blowing a smoke "ring" of a heart, and then blowing an arrow to destroy it.
- Private Snafu: In "A Lecture on Camouflage", Snafu blows smoke rings while resting. The camouflaged Nazi stalking him blows smoke swastikas.
- In The Critic episode "Sherman, Woman and Child", Doris tries to show off her smoke ring talent to Jay, which comes out as a demonic looking face that tells her, "Doris... Tick, Tock!".
Doris: That was supposed to be a bunny.