Today is the Great American Smokeout. In the United States approximately 40 million people smoke some form of tobacco product. Created in 1977, the first of these annual events was held in San Francisco. Now with the help of the American Cancer Society, this once small event has grown to a huge movement. The idea is that for twenty-four hours on the third Thursday in November, smokers attempt to challenge themselves not to use any tobacco products. With luck, these people will be able to continue on to the next day and the day after that, eventually kicking the habit. In honor of this great event, we at Quirk wanted to take a look at some literary characters who could stand a little less smoke in their lungs.
One of the best known detectives in all of literature, Holmes is never far from his pipes. Though Holmes has often been depicted on screen as having smoked a Calabash, this was never indicated in the many short stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The only true specifications of the smoking devices the detective preferred was that they were made of three different materials, briar wood, clay or cherry wood.
Lewis Carrol’s novel Alice in Wonderland is almost overstuffed with a series of odd characters. Yet none are quite as enigmatic as the hookah smoking caterpillar who continually askes Alice, “Who are you?” His obsession with identity makes total sense considering that he will eventually turn into a butterfly. Perhaps with the physical transformation, he will also be able to kick the habit.
Granted the X-Man known as Wolverine doesn’t really have to concern himself with the health problems associated with smoking. His healing factor will take care of any damage the smoke may cause in a matter of seconds. Still, he should perhaps take into consideration that he is living in a school and is thus subjecting all of the students to the harms of second hand smoke. While seen on the rare occasion with a cigarette, Wolverine’s go-to tobacco fix is a big fat cigar.
Gandalf the Grey/White
The Lord of the Rings was both a huge hit as a novel and a series of films. Another pipe smoker like Holmes, Gandalf carries his long pipe with him at all times. There are few things the great Wizard seems to enjoy more after a battle with some orcs than a nice long puff. Perhaps he would have gotten away from the Balrog had his cardio pulmonary health been a bit better.
The very first Bond girl ever, Vesper Lynd is often presented in the novel Casino Royale with a cigarette in hand. This is little to no surprise considering that the novel was released in 1953 when it was not uncommon for people to smoke. Though Lynd eventually ended up committing suicide in the novel, she had a great impact on James Bond and to a great extent was a driving force behind the subsequent novels. It was her death that sent Bond down his revenge laden path.
Created by Warren Ellis for his long running comic book series, Transmetropolitan, Spider Jerusalem is a no holds barred journalist. Spider smokes like a chimney and has no concern about it. He has filled himself up with a genetic modifying anti-cancer trait which provides him the opportunity to smoke all he wants with zero repercussions. Even so, it can’t be cheap to be a chain smoker of that caliber. Maybe if he would cut down on the number of cigarettes he consumes, the constantly topless journalist could afford to purchase a t-shirt for himself.