Why do people smoke? By heritage people are non-smokers. Traditionally, tobacco was associated with initiation, fertility, and cleansing (Gately 2001). Modernly, it’s known to not be good health wise. In addition to it becoming a costly habit, it slows people down. Smoking contributes to making them short of breath. One thing’s for sure, people aren’t just smoking to look cool any longer. It’s true, some people are looking for ways to smoke in ‘less harmful’ ways. i.e. through the e-cigarettes (vaping) but regardless of the health effects of smoking, more and more people are starting and continuing to smoke.
Smoking is less about looking cool but more about connecting with others more freely. It is a social lubricant and an expression of acceptance.
Young people aren’t smoking to simply look cool. Smoking makes them more comfortable socially and makes them feel a part of something without having to be a certain way, do anything or saying anything. On a more basic needs level people smoke to de-stress.
However, relationships play a big role in why people smoke and it has a lot to do with socialising and a feeling of acceptance. Whether people are smoking cigarettes together, sharing cigarettes or lighters beyond this people are coming together to smoke hookah pipes. This way of smoking has a strong presence in social culture.
A spot in Greenside known as Café Sofia offers people the opportunity to rent hookah pipes. More can be done to leverage this insight. People take their pipes to places of gathering such as restaurants and events. Coupling this with more social experiences and people expressing themselves freely can offer more tangible and memorable ways of connecting with others freely. As wine is the social lubricant to an art exhibition, consider what smoking a hookah pipe would be the social lubricant to, for example?
While many people are hung up on the adverse effects of smoking, people essentially are still smoking. The opportunity is to bring this reality to life in ways that are more fulfilling on a social experience and acceptance level.