Friday, June 17, 2005




Europeans are prodigious smokers. This includes my new friends the Germans. Yes, I realize this is not a news flash. Everywhere you go, people are smoking, or have recently smoked. The sidewalk, the bus stop, the cafe (both indoor and outdoor seating), the train platform, the bathroom. The only public place you can go in the United States to simulate this pervasive atmosphere of cigarette fug is a casino.

In Europe, they don't just smoke lots of cigarettes. They seem to smoke the hell out of each cigarette. They take powerful drags and emit massive, streaming, voluptuous clouds of smoke. Supposedly smoking is on the decline here in Germany, due to public information campaigns, but that decline hasn't reached the stage where it is noticeable to my fragile American anti-smoking sensibilities.

In the U.S., cigarette machines are like 1964 Chevys: they still exist, either in ramshackle backwater settings or else in antique shows. But in Germany, cigarette machines are about as commonplace as telephone booths.

cig machines

Here's a weird thing. I kind of like the aesthetics of cigarette machines.

That's right. I've always thought they were cool (or Kool), ever since I was a cigarette-hating little kid. Part of it is the display of rows of cigarette labels. One of the ways that cigarette companies reveal that they are satan's handmaidens is their genius for packaging cigarettes. The neat little packages with -- let's face it -- beautifully designed labels are so attractive that they make you want to smoke just to be able to handle the packs.

And frankly, can you name 20 machines more alluring than glowing rows of backlit cigarette labels? I'm not sure that I can -- which makes this model of cigarette machine one of the top 20 most alluring machines.


Seems to hold the promise of a night of excitement there in tobaccoland.

These designs make me think of a piano keyboard.

Anyway, come on over to Europe despite the cigarette smoke. After a while you get used to it.

Actually, you don't.


That's a great little post. Those machines are pretty in that 1957 Chevy feel. This is one long vacation or have you abandoned the land of Bush?
I am enjoying your take on Germany! And learning a lot. So thanks for your unique, personal slant!
Judging from that cigarette machine, they sure do like their Marlboros in Germany.

Wonderful cigarette blogging! I'm getting an asthma attack just reading it.
in Germany, cigarette machines are about as commonplace as telephone booths.

Wow! They still have telephone booths in Germany?
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