Frequently, the respondents remarked that smoking cigarettes is like being with a friend. Said one, “When I lean back and light my cigarette and see the glow in the dark, I am not alone any more….” In one sense, a cigarette seems to be something alive. When it is lighted it appears to be awakened, brought to life. In a French moving picture (Daybreak) the hunted criminal, played by Jean Gabin, holds out as long as he has his cigarettes. He barricades himself against the police and stands siege courageously for some time — until his last cigarette is gone. Then he gives up.
The companionable character of cigarettes is also reflected in the fact that they help us make friends. In many ways, smoking has the same effect drinking has. It helps to break down social barriers. Two smokers out on a date light up a cigarette as soon as they get into their car. “It’s just the right start for an evening,” they say. Immediately they feel at ease, for they have found an interest they both share.
We could report many true anecdotes to illustrate how cigarettes bring people together. One such story was related by a middle-aged lady: “A long time ago, on a steamer, there was a boy I was quite eager to meet… but there was no one to introduce us….
The second day out, he was sitting at a table right next to me, and I was puffing away at my cigarette.
The ashes on my cigarette were getting longer and longer, and I had no ash tray. Suddenly he jumped up and brought me one. That’s how the whole thing started. We are still happily married.”