An Aesthete’s Guide to Quitting Smoking

“A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.” – King James I of England, 1604


Fifteen. That’s the age I was when I tried my first (and only) cigarette, camped out on a flat break in the middle of a ski run with Paul Jonas, an extremely attractive junior, and three of his friends. “Want one?” he said, handsome and tan with perfect white teeth, in what looked like a scene from any DARE campaign ad, some hot dude dangling weed or pills or heroin in front of an impressionable, agreeable kid. And, like all the pushovers that have come before me, I said, with a limp casualty attempting sexy laissez faire, “Sure.”

That half cigarette, consumed with fumbling fingers and a confused mouth, was the extent of my cigarette smoking. For a reason probably owing to my dad’s lifetime relationship to tobacco and nicotine—from cigs to chew to Nicorette to the burned-out holes in the seats of his truck—I’ve never found anything glamorous about cigs. (Though, of course, there are the rare exceptions, when the languid act of smoking seems to fit a person’s personality so precisely that you fall deep into that brainwashed well of Old Hollywood, Philip Morris yore, silently admiring of them and their carcinogen chic.)

Perhaps in an appeal to such fellow arbiters of good taste (and faulty judgment), Taiwanese designer Tseng Yi Wen has designed a series of four “tobacco-quitting cigarettes” built with the intention of weaning users off their bad—occasionally glamorous-looking—habit.

Exhibit 1 (above): Numbered cigarettes to denote how many cigs are left in your pack, making a person cognizant of how many they’ve had in a day, hopefully inspiring them to smoke less (or serve as a doom-ridden countdown to your final “1”).

Exhibit 2: Double-filtered single cigarettes can be broken into two. Sharing is caring. Or, in the case of your lungs, cutting your dose in half is caring.


Exhibit 3: The “Tobacco Trace” cigarette is Yi Wen’s attempt at holding smokers accountable for their discarded butts, too often ignored as blatant littering. By giving each cigarette an individual number, offended strangers can look up the smoking offender and… I’m not really sure what comes next, because I can’t imagine anyone walking around picking up used cigarette butts for some eco-warrior retribution. Also, no smoker would subject themselves to this lest it were universally put into place by all cigarette makers. Charming thought nonetheless.


Exhibit 4: What is my most favorite design from a purely aesthetic standpoint, the “Tobacco Luck” cigarette increases the size of the filter (as denoted with a rather pretty shade of royal blue) until gradually it becomes more than the tobacco itself. Each day provides the user with less tobacco, which means less smoke, less nicotine, and, ideally, fewer cravings.


Can someone please design something like this for dudes?

all images courtesy of Tseng Yi Wen

+ Leave a Reply