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Must Have Nicotine

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"If I don't smoke there's gonna be secondhand bullets coming your way, lady."
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Tobacco smoking is addictive. Therefore, characters who smoke will sometimes find themselves in scenes where they are desperately searching for a cigarette, or a means to light it, or (more recently) a place where they can light up.

Goes hand in hand with Cigarette of Anxiety. Compare Must Have Caffeine. Beware Nailed to the Wagon.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Matt from Death Note has a cigarette in his mouth literally right up to the end.
  • Badou of Dogs: Bullets & Carnage is generally a somewhat useless and good-humoured one-eyed chain-smoking PI with bad luck, but when deprived of a smoke for about three minutes at a time he goes Ax-Crazy and becomes completely unstoppable in search of a smoke/punishing the reason he doesn't have a smoke. Several antagonists deny his last request for a puff and never do anything ever again. He takes this problem of his in stride. So do all his friends, except when he trashes their bar. It seems to be viewed in-universe as a sort of (kind of stupid) special ability and is played for drama and comedy at the same time.
  • Fujisawa-sensei from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World. Earlier it's discovered he has Super Strength when he doesn't drink alcohol. It's discovered he's even stronger when he doesn't smoke either.
  • Futaba-kun Change! had a lingerie salesclerk so addicted to smoking that the white undies in her area had turned yellowish. She later sneaks off for a smoke break and accidentally sets the store on fire.
  • Sasamoto-sensei in GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class looks completely miserable when she hadn't smoked for two hours. There's a reason why she usually avoids working in the faculty room or told Usami-sensei that she doesn't mind paying Usami to buy her a carton of cigarettes.
  • There's an episode in Gintama in which tobacco is banned in Edo. The effects on Hijikata are... unpleasant.
  • Kaiji: Kaiji reaches for his Marlboros in the restroom during the break of the E-Card match but realizes the smell could raise suspicions and screw his plan.
  • Asuma from Naruto is often seen smoking whenever he is or isn't fighting.
  • Ritsuko from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Despite the fact she is rarely ever actually smoking when on-screen, it is very evident that she is a bit of a chain-smoker, as several shots of the ashtray in her office reveal, seeing how it is always shown to be filled to the brim with cigarette butts stained with her lipstick.
  • Fee in Planetes has this. Because ash, smoke, and open flames can be very dangerous in space, smoking rooms are very rare and she has to have a special chamber in the Debris Section office. One episode features terrorists planting bombs in smoking rooms (and rooms being removed because of this), followed by accidental damage to her chamber, which deprives her of cigarettes for nearly two weeks. When a grand-scale terrorist plot threatens to destroy her home station, Fee goes into a berserk rage that saves the station and sends her to Earth in an escape capsule. She finally gets to smoke in a life raft.
  • The Strawberry Marshmallow manga had a chapter which involved Nobue attempting to give up smoking. She substituted it for Pocky. After she realized she was gaining weight, she went back to smoking.
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    Comic Books 
  • John Constantine in Hellblazer. This is a man who went to the trouble of Out Gambitting three incredibly powerful demons so he could be free of his lung-cancer...and then kept chain smoking.
  • Liz Sherman from Hellboy and B.P.R.D. smokes like a chimney and is often bumming cigarettes off her fellow agents.
  • Spider Jerusalem in Transmetropolitan, and he drives his editor and assistants to the same. Fortunately, he keeps a bag of anti-cancer trait in the bathroom.

    Comic Strips 
  • Alex has frequent strips about the 'smokers clubs' that gather outside buildings where smoking has been banned. One featured the heaviest smoker in the building signing a petition to get smoking banned, hoping this would encourage him to quit. Instead, he ended up becoming much fitter due to his frequent trips up and down the stairs so he could smoke.
  • Duff from Conchy. He once announces to Conchy that he has quit smoking and launches into a spiel about how much better he feels. When Conchy asks him how many days he has been clean, Duff admits he probably should wait until his last butt goes completely out before he starts counting. On another occasion, he runs out of cigarettes and sticks his head in the smoke from a campfire out of desperation.
  • Dick Tracy's partner Sam Catchem is rarely seen without a puff of cigarette smoke emanating from his head. His smoking habit has now long survived Ben Grimm's cigar and Commissioner Gordon's pipe, demonstrating a Grandfather Clause.
  • One short arc of Bloom County had Binkley's father going through withdrawal when Binkley hides his cigarettes. Collected in Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things (1985).
    • There's a much more epic arc when Steve Dallas is forced to quit. He goes Ax-Crazy and forces Opus to hide in the toilet while calling the police.
  • Liberty Meadows had an early arc where Brandy made Dean the pig give up cigarettes for his own good. Obviously he protested but Brandy retorted that if that much nicotine is bad for humans, it is for pigs. When he tried, he hallucinated Ralph as Pooh Bear and later stuffed his mouth full of nicotine when he saw that Ralph had blown off his own nose. Brandy, fortunately, anticipated this and had Leslie on duty to perform the Heimlich on him, so he would automatically spit out a cigarette.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animation 
  • Taken to the extreme in Boogie, where the titular Anti-Hero smokes in almost every scene he's in. A line of dialogue have him claiming he smokes ten packs a day.
  • Several characters in The Wind Rises. One of them even lighting up a cigarette butt from the ashtray when neither he nor the hero has one.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Steve McCroskey in Airplane! picked a bad week to give up smoking. And drinking. And taking amphetamines. And sniffing airplane glue.
  • Dr. Grace Augustine in Avatar. Her very first line?
    Dr. Augustine: Who's got my goddamned cigarette?
  • A running gag in Resident Evil: Extinction is the world's ever-dwindling supply of cigarettes (as well as "alternates") cutting into the cast's smoking habits.
  • In Sands of the Kalahari, Mike Bain is a chain smoker whose biggest regret following the plane crash—despite being badly injured—is that he didn't think to buy a fresh pack of cigarettes before taking off.
  • We're No Angels: Jimmy is very anxious for a cigarette after the escaped convicts reach a town.
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    Literature 
  • A Wedding (1978): Janet, Nettie Sloan's nurse, constantly needs cigarettes, especially when she's dealing with the stress of her patient dying.
  • In his non-fiction book Defending the Guilty, Barrister Alex McBride mentions a prisoner in police custody who kept banging his head on the cell door, demanding a cigarette. As new security regulations prevented lawyers from handing out cigarettes to their clients, McBride asks if the custody sergeant could give him one, only to be told it was against occupation health and safety regulations as well.
  • Discworld
    • The wizards sometimes get like this, most notably Igneous Cutwell in Mort:
    What Cutwell wanted was what any normal wizard wanted at a time like this, which was a smoke. He'd have killed for a cigar and would have gone as far as a flesh wound for a squashed dog-end.
    • Similarly, the manager of The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday in The Light Fantastic is in that situation because an angry necromancer cursed him and his shop for refusing to sell him cigarettes after closing time.
    • Moist actually warns a wizard about someone else in Making Money: "Adora Belle Dearheart once put her shoe through a man's foot, and that was while she was smoking a cigarette. She hasn't had a cigarette in fifteen minutes, so there's no telling what she'll do!"
  • In the Eighth Doctor Adventures, Fitz Kreiner is constantly jonesing for a smoke, usually Woodbines, but since the Doctor disapproves of his habit, he often has a difficult time even finding cigarettes compatible with human lungs. This doesn't help his Doctor-induced anxiety.
  • The protagonist of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series is a former smoker who frequently has cigarette cravings when he is feeling stressed.
  • Lord of the Rings: Gandalf gets increasingly irritable in Moria since he doesn't dare to smoke there in fear that the resident orcs might catch a whiff. He finally caves in the last night of the underground journey, after Pippin already had dropped a rock in the well, presumably figuring that damage had already been done.
  • One of P. G. Wodehouse's Mr. Mulliner short stories is about a young man who quits smoking because he is under the misguided perception that it is what stops the girl he's in love with to fully accept him. It doesn't take many hours for him to go insane with the urge for a smoke. Hilarity Ensues.
  • August from Of Fear and Faith is hardly ever seen without a cigarette in his hand, and other characters remark that he tends to reek of smoke. He says that smoking is a better vice than his previous one though.
  • Seems to happen a lot in Catherine Alliott's The Old-Girl Network.
  • In Stray, Pufftail tells his grandson how he once came across a bunch of smoking-addicted lab rats.
  • Averted in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Smiley relates how he left a packet of cigarettes and his lighter (a gift from his wife) with KGB spymaster Karla during his interrogation. Even though Karla is a chain-smoker, and under great stress as he's facing possible execution back in the Soviet Union, he returns the packet to Smiley the next morning unopened. However Karla holds onto the lighter, and uses it to cast suspicion on Smiley years later.
  • Adrian Ivashkov from Vampire Academy, is addicted to nicotine. He is often seen searching for a cigarette.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Becker: Dr. John Becker. Many episodes deal with him trying to quit. When he doesn't have his cigs, he's even more of a Dr. Jerk than usual.
  • Captain Strickland from Black Scorpion, who chain smokes even while wearing a gas mask.
  • Detective Amy Santiago in Brooklyn Nine-Nine occasionally smokes. When she's discovered, she switches to e-cigarettes.
  • On Burn Notice, Michael's mother is rarely seen not smoking.
  • Deadliest Catch's Capt. Sig starts feeling mysterious chest pains and, knowing that his family has a history of heart problems, decides to quit smoking for a while. The other crew members are incredulous, and sure enough, Sig grabs a cig about an hour later.
  • Sid Carter on Father Brown has at least one in every episode of the show he's on.
  • The title character of Father Ted is an addict who often smokes when nervous or frustrated. "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading" involves him and his co-protagonists giving up their vices for Lent. In five minutes, Ted is a sweating, trembling mess. (Not that the others were doing any better.)
  • Very much played for comedy with Chandler in Friends, who has officially given up smoking prior to the series beginning, but keeps relapsing and trying to stop the others from finding out.
  • Benny for The George Lopez Show acts like this when the factory bans smoking, to the point where she's reduced to sucking the nicotine from under her fingernails.
  • Gilmore Girls: When Rory is sentenced to community service, Emily drops her off with a pack of cigarettes, assuring her that it's like money to criminals and will allow her to easily befriend them. When she nervously asks if anyone wants a smoke, she doesn't get any takers. She later has to talk down a fellow worker who has six nicotine patches on her stomach and is begging for more.
  • Played for drama in an episode of Grange Hill (circa the early 2000s). The science teacher, who spent most of the series rallying against smoking, being tormented by one student and misblaming another (who was actively being framed) is trapped under debris with both of these students. He's stopped from a relapse (indicating how stressed he is) by the latter student, who smells a gas leak.
  • After Clair makes him quit smoking, Frank Underwood of House of Cards tears through his living room looking for stashed cigarettes during a particularly stressful time.
  • One episode of How I Met Your Mother dealt with the gang trying to stop smoking, with less-than-successful results. As it turns out, whenever one of them falls off the wagon, the rest go with them. At the end of the episode, they all share a "last cigarette" together. Future!Ted narrates that that wasn't anyone's last cigarette, although they did all quit smoking eventually.
  • Used in the second series of The IT Crowd - Jen, an ex-smoker, is driven to this when Denholm, in his funeral video, wrongly attributes his death to lovely, delicious fags. She fishes a cigarette out of the gutter outside the church and happily puffs away.
    • Taken even further later in the series when Jen and her smoking co-workers are forced by their habit to undertake a grueling march through Siberia to the smoking shed.
  • Bill McNeil on NewsRadio had to quit cigarettes, so Dave promises to give up coffee along with him. Neither takes it very well.
  • The Nutt House: Big Jake is quitting chewing tobacco and substituting sunflower seeds, but is having a nicotine fit. So he insists that Norman take up smoking for him.
  • Sherlock: Sherlock Holmes is seen wearing not one, but three nicotine patches while trying to figure out a case and lamenting how impossible it is to maintain a smoking habit in London.
    • In a straighter example of "searching desperately for smokes", he spends a few minutes early on in The Hounds of Baskerville rampaging around the flat looking for either patches or cigarettes - even insulting Mrs. Hudson in the process - while John sits patiently on the sidelines, urging him to keep trying to kick the habit. Henry Knight, a client who also happens to be a smoker shows up, upon which Sherlock commands him to "Shut up and smoke," proceeding to sniff enthusiastically at the resulting second-hand fumes. And then...
    Sherlock: (To Henry, after refusing to personally take on the case he'd previously expressed interest in) I'm putting my best man on the job. (Pats John on the shoulder)
    John: What? But you haven't got anything on!
    Sherlock: Bluebell, John! Bluebell, the case of the vanishing, glow-in-the-dark rabbit! (Raises his eyebrows challengingly)
    (After John gives in and hands Sherlock the cigarette pack he'd hidden away)
    Sherlock: (Tosses the pack over his shoulder) Don't need this. I'm going to Dartmoor!
  • This is the plot of one episode of (rather predictably) The Smoking Room, where nobody can find a working lighter. Finally, someone finds a matchbook with a single match left... and then Hilarity Ensues.
  • Lupertazzi family boss John "Johnny Sack" Sacrimoni in The Sopranos constantly chain-smokes. He attempted to quit in solidarity with his obese wife when she tried to lose weight, but both of them failed at their health resolutions. He finally kicks the habit after being diagnosed with lung cancer while incarcerated, but when doctors inform him that his illness is terminal, he takes up smoking again in his final days.
  • Shane Powers (Exile Island, season 12) decided to use Survivor as his personal detox and had quit a month before filming began. Like the NCIS team without their joe.
  • That '70s Show: In one episode, Kitty—who's ostensibly quitting—storms into the basement and demands that they provide her with a cigarette, because one-in-four teenagers smoke, and there are four teenagers there. She even closes her eyes and promises no punishment as long as a cigarette shows up between her fingers. She gets her cigarette, and all four provide lighters.
  • George Freeman of Underbelly to the point he suffered a curiously non-violent death because of it. He smokes all the time, in hospitals, at funerals, on the defibrillator, once he is shot in the face and the next time we see him he is swimming, head above water with his face bandaged, and smoking mid stroke.
  • The Vice President in Veep needs this several times during her trip to Finland in Season 2.

    Music 
  • "Meine letzte Zigarette" (One Last Smoke...only that the singer wasn't in momentary death peril...even if she coughs like incoming lung cancer...so that's the wrong trope) is a German fun song about the impossibility to quit smoking by Ruth Händel.
  • Bob Rivers spoofed Ringo Starr's "No No Song" with a tune about widespread smoking bans. The first verse is about an office worker who shrieks when told she can't light up on the job. The second verse is a guy who lights up in a Chinese restaurant; the waiter snuffs out the cigarette in the food, insults him in Chinese, and throws him out. The third verse is about a guy who can't wait until the plane lands, so he gets arrested for smoking in the airliner's bathroom.
  • The subject of the song "Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)", originally by Merle Travis and Tex Williams (and later covered by many other artists):
    Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! that cigarette.
    Puff! Puff! Puff!
    And if you smoke yourself to death,
    Tell Saint Peter at the golden gate,
    That you hates to make him wait,
    But you gotta have another cigarette.

    New Media 
  • Parodied, like everything else, in The Onion. One article says that the United States has banned smoking except in a basement closet in a building somewhere in the Midwest. Naturally, the millions of American smokers, rather than quitting, spend in upwards of six months driving cross-country just for a single cigarette.

    Theatre 
  • In the third act of Mary Mary, Mary starts hunting around her ex-husband Bob's apartment for a cigarette. He enters and soon joins the desperate search for cigarettes, and finally discovers some under a chair cushion. (According to her, he smokes only one pack a day, implying that she's a heavier smoker.)

    Video Games 
  • Déjà Vu II: Carrying around the empty cigarette pack will cause the narrator to mention that you crave nicotine, but lack anything to smoke.
  • Metal Gear
    • Solid Snake only really counts by the fact he went to extremes to get his nicotine fix; while he always had a pack on him on every game, since he was strip-searched before Metal Gear Solid, he swallowed the pack and somehow got it out of his stomach. In the novelization of the game, he steals a pack from the first guard he knocks out and spent quite some time complaining that they taste like crap.

      He also gets points for the cutscene where he first meets Naomi in Metal Gear Solid 4. He's constantly trying to light it, fumbling it, dropping it, having to find it again, failing to light it, having it stolen by Naomi, and so on and so forth, for the whole scene, and Naomi doesn't even pause expositing at him about how he's going to die, horribly.
    Sunny: [snatches cigarette] This is a No-Smoking flight! [points to sign]
    Snake: [psyche drop]
    • In Peace Walker, Big Boss gets locked in a cell for a relatively short time - not more than a day or so. As soon as he's freed, he starts coughing and complaining that his 'lungs taste like charcoal' from how little smoking he's been doing. Thing is, Big Boss smokes cigars. In the same game, Huey and Strangelove also express sadness about how they can't smoke cigarettes due to their job as engineers (smoke damages electronic equipment) and found workarounds to get their fix ; Huey built himself an electronic cigarette and Strangelove uses snuffnote .
  • Paper Chase: In the Inform version, the English professor is constantly smoking cigarettes, filling the classroom and the air around her with smoke.

    Visual Novels 
  • Downplayed in Daughter for Dessert. While the protagonist and Kathy both smoke, it’s seldom shown.

    Webcomics 
  • Maxine in Broken Plot Device, in contrast to Liz's coffee habit.
  • The titular character of Jix starts shaking when she doesn't have access to nicotine, though she tries to quit a few times (until her alt-personality Remula accidentally smokes a pack).
  • The protagonist of The Little Trashmaid gets addicted to eating cigarette butts due to eating some dumped in the ocean.
  • McCoy from Mushroom Go.
    "Do you see this cigarette? I pulled this cigarette out of a dead guy's pocket. It's not even a brand I like. I smoke Reznor Reds, and this— trust me— is no Reznor Red. But I'm going to smoke it anyway, and you, you big jackass, you have what may well be the only lighter in this entire stupid building. Not just any lighter, but my lighter. Now, one way or another, I am going to smoke this cigarette and I am going to enjoy every awful second of it."
  • Fedya from Rhapsodies is good for about fifteen minutes before he gets... cranky.
  • A number of customers in Welcome to the Convenience Store. In one chapter, a father doesn't bring enough money for both his cigarettes and crisps for his daughter. Since he's a Doting Father he buys her the snack but returns moments later to beg the shop assistant to sell him just a single cigarette.

    Web Original 
  • Quite a few candidates for the Darwin Awards have eliminated themselves from the gene pool by lighting up in inappropriate (usually explosive) circumstances, or by wandering off for a quick smoke and stepping into danger.
  • Jolly Roger Telephone Company is a company that provides bots which are designed to waste the time of telemarketers.
    • "Ox-Gut McGee" is one of these bots. He just quit smoking and has a routine where he is desperate for a cigarette, eventually breaking down and going outside to smoke while on the call.
    • Jolly Jenny is also trying to quit smoking and one point tells the caller as much and to start over and she'll try to focus on what they're saying to her and not cigarettes.
  • From The Onion: "Smoking Now Permitted Only In Special Room In Iowa"
  • A demon in the Sock Series smokes constantly. It is very unwise to get between him and his cigarettes.

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Disney Shorts: Goofy in the cartoon No Smoking (1951) is shown to smoke from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed (as pictured above). He then decides to quit, but ends up running from his office while screaming in search of a cigarette after only a minute.
  • Bender of Futurama enjoys cigars on a regular basis. In "Three Hundred Big Boys", he uses his tax refund to buy burglar tools—in order to steal a $10,000 cigar. It's so expensive because it was rolled by Queen Elizabeth II using part of the original US Constitution. Interesting thing is that, being a robot, Bender has no lungs or organic matter at all, he can't actually derive enjoyment from it. He admits to Fry that the reason he smokes is that it makes him look cool.
  • Done in an episode of King of the Hill where Bobby and Hank take up smoking where when at school and work respectively everything around them reminds them of cigarettes.
  • An episode of Ozzy & Drix had Hector starting smoking a few puffs in a wrong crowd. All of the blood cells except for cold pill Drix are mind controlled demanding nicotine.
  • Pinky and the Brain: The Brain had this problem in one episode. Pinky sums up the trope very nicely:
    Pinky: This O'Tine fella must be really clever if he can get people to suck burning stinky leaf-gas down their throats.
  • Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons gets hooked on passive smoking when she joins a ballet class. Homer and Bart, with help from some raccoons, take all the other dancers' cigarettes, causing them to freak out during their recital and smoke other things; one even smokes her hair.
  • Superjail! The climax for the episode "The Last Pack" features all the inmates and staff fighting to the death over the last pack of cigarettes.
  • The Venture Bros.: In one flashback, Molotov Cocktease ties Brock to a bed and then sets the room on fire. But what really pisses him off is that she took all the cigarettes.

 
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