The Comeback of Cigarettes for Style

Cigarettes are becoming a go-to fashion accessory that doubles as a fix for nicotine cravings as we slowly exit the age of e-cigarettes.

The Comeback of Cigarettes for Style

Paige Parton, Staff Writer

As I looked through my Instagram page the other night, it was filled with teens displaying various illegal actions they had partaken in. As my fingers scrolled, I came across a post of a senior girl propped against a wall in front of a house with a sequin dress on. Her friends gathered around and had candid looking smiles smothered all over their faces. As she tried not to have her skintight dress go too far above her thighs, she held a cigarette delicately in between her fingers. Barely enough smoke poured from the top to even believe that it was lit.

Over the past couple of years, vaping has taken over the teenage drug arena, but as of recently, we have experienced, as some would say, “The too early celebration of the death of cigarettes.” 

Cigarettes are coming back in style for style. Youths have normalized cigarette use largely in part to the glamorizing of cigarettes through the media and popular, drug heavy, TV shows like Euphoria.

In sought after shows, such as Euphoria, there are various uses of hard drugs and substance abuse. However, because of the glitter, costumes and unique characters, it becomes romanticized by its audience. The romanization of these drugs overshadows the life-like issues the characters face due to substance abuse.

This goes for smoking as well. Yes, it seems cool, but the glorifying aspect of it becomes sickening once it creates an issue bigger than just posing with a cigarette for the camera.

Gabriella Shirtcliff, a senior at Summit, works to stop teenage smoking as a Community Health Advocate at the Deschutes County Health Department. 

“We find that people are not only turning to cigarettes because they are looking for a different way of getting nicotine, but also because it’s grunge, it’s gritty, it’s aesthetic,” said Shirtcliff.

In the recent past, e-cigarettes have been all the rage. Yet as of late, more and more teens are swaying towards cigarettes, abandoning their puff bars, juuls and vuses. 

“We’ve all been on Pinterest and there’s some girl in a black dress smoking a cigarette,” Shirtcliff said. It’s hard to stay away from smoking when, for some, the aesthetic is hard to resist.

Due to this popular aesthetic, adolescents are transitioning from vaping to cigarettes. Specifically because of social media popularization, smoking became cool, hip and the thing to do when you want a grunge item to pose with. Numerous celebrities post photos holding a cig in their mouth, and that certainly doesn’t help as celebrities have the power to influence all their followers. 

At the most recent party I went to, I stepped outside on my way out, and I saw a few intoxicated teenagers smoking a cigarette. Interesting, I thought, I would have never pictured those kids to have been smokers. Turns out, they weren’t. The teens hit the cigarette a couple of times, posed with it for a disposable camera, then threw it on the ground and stomped on the bud more than once. At least they do their best to stop cigarette induced fires.

Aside from just being a prop in a picture, a “drunk smoke with your friends” seems to be a common trend among Summit highschoolers too.

“It’s the thing to do when you’ve had a lot to drink, I don’t smoke that much except for when I’m drunk, and sometimes it’s fun to pose with one in between your fingers for the memories,” an anonymous sophomore said.

As more and more students get into the smoking aesthetic, there are still those who aren’t. 

Andie Taylor, a senior at Summit and fashionista, shared her opinion along with senior Kate Doorn. “I feel like because of Pinterest and the aesthetic of taking pictures with cigarettes have made using them increase,” Taylor said. 

“People are just doing it to look cool,” Doorn said.

Smoking cigarettes for style as well as using them as a way to feed a nicotine addiction, which in the past was eased with vapes, is becoming excessively romanticized in the high school world.