Among heterosexual men, the fetish is often associated with oral fixations and fellatio.
The smoking fetish appears to be rare enough that its existence went largely unnoticed until the advent of the Internet, when fetishists began to meet online, trading pictures of smoking women, short stories, and reporting sightings or simply discussing their fascination on open forums. Some of the earlier news groups were alt.smokers.glamour (ASG) and alt.sex.fetish.smokers (ASFS). In addition to free sites, often containing scans from magazines (such as Smoke Signals (magazine)) or candid pictures, there are a number of 'professional' sites offering DVDs and VHS tapes of trained models who smoke in front of the camera.
Some fetishists have a fascination with the addictive properties of nicotine, and its ability to cause harm, and there is a sub-fetish relating to women or men being harmed by smoking, sometimes called "lung damage". For women this is seen in videos showing women smoking and coughing, suggesting self-destructiveness. More common videos are those showing a woman or a man in bondage, being forced to smoke or to inhale smoke.
"Glamor" smoking and "dark side" smoking are the major divisions within the fetish. The glamor aspect of the fetish emphasizes the way smoking visually enhances women's sexual appeal; the dark side links smoking to female domination, bondage and domination, and sadism/masochism. Both elements may be related to the appeal of the "bad girl" and the fantasy that even a "girl next door" type who smokes may be a tigress in the bedroom. A handful of producers specialize in videos appealing to one or both sides of the fetish.
The glamorous aspect of women' smoking traditionally has had wide appeal, among the general population as well as among those who find it sexually arousing. This appeal has always been emphasized in cigarette advertising, and undoubtedly one reason young women have been drawn to smoking cigarettes. Historically considered a masculine habit, the feminization of smoking with the advent of fashion brands specifically marketed towards women has drawn the attention of fetishists who see the use of these brands as a way for women to increase or enhance their sexual appeal. Most often this fascination is focused on young fashion-conscious professional women who are the target demographic for these brands, which are differentiated by slimness and added length over traditional brands of cigarettes. Videos for the glamor smoking fetish are typically a model or models smoking, sometimes directly to the camera (representing the viewer) but more often with the camera as an observer. Sub-fetishes may include specific cigarette brands (e.g. Marlboros, Newports), types (corks, lengths), or holders (often with the woman wearing gloves).
The dark side of smoking emphasizes the dominance of the woman smoker, whether in BDSM fetish gear or as the "take charge" sadistic girlfriend. Videos produced for this aspect of the fetish often show a man in bondage with one or more women blowing smoke in his face, "ashing" him, forcing him to eat their ashes, and possibly being burned. Because of its relation to male humiliation and masochism, the dark side of the smoking fetish is most often combined with other fetishes, including corporal punishment. Dark side fetishists also include those whose attraction is to the lit cigarette (as an implement of pain) or to an ashtray of butts (as an object with which to humiliate him).
Ironically, as mainstream society has recognized the dangers of smoking, the effect has been to heighten interest in smoking fetishism. The more we recognize that smoking is bad for our health, the truer it becomes that only "bad" girls smoke, and the more attractive they become to the smoking fetishist.
It has been suggested that there is an element of ephebophilia to the fetish, as much of the related literature generated concerns the events surrounding a teenager taking up the habit, virtually always a female making the switch from disgusted non-smoker to hopelessly addicted smoker. Whether or not this is true ephebophilia is debatable, as the vast majority of smokers do, in fact, start during adolescence.
The increasing intensity of anti-smoking campaigns, moreover, turns smoking into a transgressive and taboo act; eroticized images of women smoking may take some of their power from depicting a taboo being broken. Another cultural source for the fetish may be eroticized depictions of women who smoke that come from older motion pictures, especially from the film noir era.
The smoking fetish has emerged in recent years as one of the more socially unacceptable fetishes, likely due to the rising social unacceptability of smoking itself in western cultures. For this reason, fetishists are often reluctant to admit to their fetish, and so its prevalence in society cannot be accurately estimated.
It seems to occur in nearly all cultures, however, with fetish websites from Asian and South American countries as well as from Western nations.
A smoking fetish video forum (video-talk) had received over 5 million "hits" between 1998 and 2005, without promotion, despite the reticence of its intended audience.
Smoking fetishism in gay men
A number of smoking fetish websites and discussion groups dedicated to gay men exists. The smoking fetish in gay men appears to be somewhat different from the general smoking fetish. There seem to be several subgroups of fetishists. Some involve taking pleasure in watching visually dominant men smoking. For instance, it might include big and hairy men or men in uniform smoking a cigar, although the fetish might not be linked to cigar smoking. Another subgroup involves a fascination of young men smoking (usually cigarettes). Some of these fetishers appear to be attracted to the "innocent young man" picking up smoking and the rebellious aspects of this action. Some may link this to "growing up" and becoming a real man. The fetish might also involve a fascination with the fact that the lungs of a healthy, clean, pure body of a young man becomes filled with black smoke (although tobacco smoke is white). In some cases the fetish appears to be linked with the fascination with smoke damage - the fetisher might find it arousing that a healthy man will subject himself to the damage of smoking.
- Also see the page [ Smoke Signals (magazine) ]