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Smoker’s Pole

The only way to kill off a culture is to make it incredibly inconvenient to continue doing it. New York makes life difficult for smokers. They can’t smoke in bars. The only place they can really congregate is at the smoker’s pole, that ugly telescope looking thing that collects the smoker’s aftermath.

It’s impossible to ignore these designated smoking areas. After all, people are huddled around each other sniffing each other’s smoke. My favorite is the office worker who holds a cigarette in one hand while anxiously looking at their phone in the other. They kill off their lungs and attention at the same time.

The good news is that people are smoking less. The bad news is that people are substituting smoking with e-cigarettes, turning vice into vapor. E-cigarettes still contain nicotin. Marketers are the best liars.

The world for smokers is getting smaller. Every smoker stands out like a sore thumb. I’ll never forget the old woman walking on the Upper East Side walking her dog, smoking, and looking down at her phone all at the same time.

Cigarettes may be dying out but multi-tasking is alive more than ever.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.