A black and white photo of an old man smoking a cigarette.

Life’s A Drag – The Smoker’s Gallery

I think I might be an incredibly dull person. I don’t eat meat; I don’t drink and I’ve never had a cigarette in my life. And yet I seem to have accrued a considerable number of pictures of smokers and, more recently, ‘vapers’.

I don’t really see the appeal of the smell of nicotine and tobacco (or unicorn sweat, or whatever flavours are in vogue for the vapers) but I have to admit that smoke adds atmosphere to images. People seem to become lost in their thoughts amidst the smoke.

An old man smoking a cigarette.

Growing up, everything smelled of smoke, even non-smoking households like ours. I remember my uncles visiting with their brown tobacco-stained fingers and leaving smoke lingering in the air. It was normal at the time; not in a Marlboro Man kind of way, more in a polluted coal mining town sort of way.

A black and white photo of a man smoking a cigarette.

The UK smoking ban works well for me. Many of the interesting characters are now driven to the pub doorways where they stand like guardians to their domain. A much more readily accessible supply of characters for us teetotal bores and no longer any need to nurse an orange juice for a couple of hours hoping for subjects.

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