From The Publisher

Maybe We Were Wrong


Maybe We Were Wrong
SMOKE SIGNALS MAGAZINE - September - October 2013

As long-time readers know, we're not hesitant to toot our own horn when one of our observations or predictions proves prescient. The best example of this, of course, is our prediction from a number of years ago that the widespread availability of commercial videos, shared on tubes, hubs and other venues in violation of copyrights and common decency, would eventually lead to a massive decline in new video production and the eventual demise of a number of producers. We were right, and haven't hesitated to trumpet that fact.

However, it seems only fair to also admit when we apparently were wrong.

For many years, we held fast to our belief that smoking fetishes developed, for the most part, because people were exposed to a ubiquitous culture of sexy smoking. When virtually everywhere you looked (in real life and on television) you saw attractive young women enjoying their cigarettes with great enthusiasm and style, it seemed incredibly natural and often glamorous to many of us. That's certainly how our own smoking fetish developed; we can even remember (with great detail) the one seminal moment when a pretty, anonymous teen girl's smoke play in a cafeteria seemed to cement our fetish for good.

That line of thinking led us to a corollary: as smoking bans took hold and the smoking rate declined, fewer and fewer young people would develop a smoking fetish. After all, they wouldn't have the incredibly sexy imagery bombarding them day and night in every conceivable location - and wouldn't grow to appreciate the sexual appeal of smoking the way previous generations had.

That even led us to downplay the theory that one critical factor in the development of a smoking fetish was the element of "risk" being taken by the smoker. Sure, the bad girl image was certainly a factor - but in our view, it just folded into the overall picture of a sexy, glamorous smoking woman. We didn't think a fetish developed, for most people, because a smoker was risking her health by the very act of smoking. After all, it's obvious from literature, movies and photographs of the decades prior to 1964 that the smoking fetish was alive and well long before the Surgeon General's report - so "risk" couldn't have played a role way back then.

Additionally, we were asked numerous times over the years by journalists doing stories on the fetish, whether we expected a huge increase in the number of people with a smoking fetish, as smoking became more and more taboo. Our answer was always an emphatic "no."

Fast forward to 2013. It's clear from our interactions with smoking fetishists, and from postings on various internet forums and sites, that there's been no decline in our number over the last twenty years - in fact, it continues to grow. Plenty of young people have developed a smoking fetish, even though the youngest among us are certainly much less likely to see sexy smoking on a daily basis than their predecessors.

So, we're led to reconsider our original beliefs. It obviously isn't simple, constant exposure to attractive female smoking which is triggering smoking fetishes among the younger members of our community. There must be something else at work as well. And in searching for an explanation, we're left with the concepts of "taboo" and "risk" as the primary candidates. We don't know what role those concepts may have played in the devfelopment of previous generations of smoking fetishsts, but they must play a large role today. And, we imagine, they played a much greater role in the past than we had imagined.

Our only real conclusion can be, at least in part, that Vesperae has been right - and we've been wrong.

It doesn't happen often, though!

Enjoy the September-October issue!

The Demise of Creativity


The Demise of Creativity

We had the opportunity recently to go back through our collection of old smoking videos, and were struck by something we hadn't thought about before.

Many of the videos produced in the 1990s and early 2000s actually had plots or themes. Sure, the video quality wasn't as stellar as the HD video we see today; for the most part, it wasn't even digital. But there was a lot more thought put into the productions than is common today. Standouts were many of the videos from CoherentLight and SmokeVision (which even tried to distinguish their productions as "shows" instead of "videos," but even many of the vids from companies like Second Hand Smoke and Up In Smoke obviously were produced with a lot of forethought and planning.

Knowing most of the people behind those productions, we can certainly give credit to people like Steve Kelly and Ed Luisser for their work. But as we thought more about the differences between filming now and filming 15 years ago, another reason for the stark difference became apparent.

The producers who were shooting back then, had more resources at their disposal. Or, to put it more simply, they knew they could turn a nice profit on their work, even if it was more expensive to shoot. Costumes, sets, or simply the extra time it took to film and then post-produce the videos were an acceptable expense. Steve, Ed, or the others who put extra care and work into their productions knew that they could turn out top-quality work while staying profitable.

Things are certainly different today. Video producers who are still in business are doing so on incredibly slim margins. The audience for smoking video is larger than ever, but the amount spent on it is smaller than ever, due to (you knew we were headed here, didn't you?) the proliferation of video sharing sites and tubes where people simply upload clips or entire movies they've obtained elsewhere. And without sufficient money coming in, producers can't take the time or spend the money to create thoughtful or elaborate smoking videos anymore. It's become largely a "point and shoot" business. To put it simply, producers have no other option.

Regular readers know that we've been predicting the demise of the smoking video industry for some time now, and we see no reason to change that prediction. In fact, many producers are teetering on the brink even as we write this. But the way the smoking fetish community obtains and consumes video in the 2010s has had this sad, interim effect - the demise of creativity.

Enjoy the July-August issue!

A Few Quick Thoughts


A Few Quick Thoughts

Just a few quick thoughts in a busy month that's made it feel like we're suffering from late-onset ADD and prevented us from stringing more than a coherent thought or two together:

Is the smoking fetish community starting to react to what we can best describe as "oversupply?" More than one person has remarked to us lately that they aren't getting the same enjoyment they used to from watching "just" an attractive young woman smoke - and that's sent them in search of more unusual material. One mentioned girls smoking hookahs and pipes, another mentioned scenes with multiples, and a third mentioned "fake taboo" (alleged smoking incest clips making the rounds on Clips4Sale) as the primary types of video that can get them going these days. And that's on top of the neverending interest in finding under-18 smoking clips that nearly destroyed one popular message board. This all naturally led us to wonder whether a growing disinterest in mainstream smoking video is a more widespread phenomemon that we had guessed - and if so, what is causing it. If indeed this is a real change in people's interests and not just a coincidence that we've come across, the only cause we can think of is overexposure. There are so many mainstream smoking fetish videos that have been released since the mid-90s which live on through producer sites and now through tubes, torrents and sharing sites - have people simply grown weary of the genre due to the enormous amount of video already available? Admittedly, almost all producers use the same basic sets which certainly lends a feeling of "sameness" to new video, no matter how beautiful or accomplished a model may be. But it seems odd that an entire group of fetishists can "morph" over a period of a few years into a group in need of extreme material. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

On a somewhat related note, we notice that in addition to a huge decline in smoking story submissions to Smoke Signals has been mirrored by a lack of new stories at Loring's Smoking Stories site. We again have to wonder if it reflects a dropoff of interest in more mainstream smoking fetish outlets, a "dumbing down" of our community in terms of interest in this sort of material (it's hard for tweeps to tell a smoking story in 140 characters) or again, just another coincidence. Maybe we're just too wedded to the written word to understand it - after all, we still read magazines and the occasional newspaper here. Thankfully, we still have Vesperae on staff :)

And on a totally unrelated note, we're pleased to tell you that the Smoking Erotica catalog is returning to Smoking Flicks for streaming or download. We're in the process of re-adding all of their older material, and will have new SE videos coming in the near future as well. We don't know whether Smoking Models will also be returning, but we're hopeful.

Enjoy the May-June issue!

What Makes A Good Smoking Model?


What Makes A Good Smoking Model?

We've had many people ask us what criteria we use to select the smoking models we feature on our sites. And so we thought this might be as good a time as any to answer the questions for everyone to see.

First and foremost, of course, the model has to be a real-life smoker and has to inhale. We're sure you've seen "smoking models" (to put it kindly) who've appeared on porn sites - many of them don't inhale, and even if they do inhale in real life, they often just let the smoke waft out of their mouth for the camera, with what they (or the producer) think is a sexy look. Some people may indeed find it sexy. We find it a waste of a model and a waste of good smoke. On rare occasions, we've used video of models who only inhale lightly, primarily because there's something else in the scene that makes it worthwhile in our eyes. For example, a video we're posting on Smoking Flicks later this week features porn star Angelina Mylee, who has a "light" smoking style. But she's performing smoky oral sex while her real-life mother watches approvingly and smokes in the background - a hot scenario we've never seen filmed by anyone before, and something we found interesting enough to use despite Angelina's shallow inhales. But IRL smoking is the number one requirement we try to enforce for our shoots.

Secondly, the model should enjoy what she's doing. That doesn't mean she has to be perky and bubbly about her smoking, but it does mean she shouldn't look like she's doing something distasteful to her. Not every model smiles when she's doing a shoot of any sort. But if our models smile and let you know they're enjoying their cigarettes, it's definitely a plus. Naturally, you won't hear our models saying they "only smoke because they're addicted." But we want the viewers to know, just by watching, that the models smoke because they enjoy it.

That brings us to our third and most-misunderstood criterion: accomplished smoking. We're always delighted when we have a model who is adept at smoking, and is able to do at least some of the "tricks," as many call techniques like french inhaling or open-mouth inhaling. But contrary to some people's view, we don't make it a requirement. We're not fans of models who look awkward while trying to show off what they can do; for example, we don't want them to "try" to french inhale or make smoke rings and then shake their heads after looking somewhat foolish. What we're after is someone who looks totally natural while doing a snap or french inhale - someone who can toss off a few smoke rings without a second thought - someone whose nose exhales are thick and natural. And just as impressive to us is a model who doesn't do the "tricks," but takes power drags, double drags, shows effortless talking exhales, or in other ways shows her "dominance" over her cigarette. For want of a better way to explain it, the smoke doesn't control her, she controls the smoke.

Finally, there are a few other factors that never show on the finished product, but we look for models who are easy to work with, and who don't find the smoking fetish "weird" (as we've heard from a number of prospective models). We find that leads to more relaxed, enjoyable and productive shoots.

We hope that answers some of the questions we've gotten - and gives you an idea of how we choose models for inclusion. It may sound simplistic. But when you've seen dozens and dozens of models who claim to be real life heavy smokers, claim to love smoking and claim to be good at it - and then find that they don't even inhale (or even vomit after trying to smoke two cigarettes in a row) - the process of screening and selecting models is a lot trickier than you might think.

Enjoy the March-April issue!

Are Peoples' Lungs Different Today?


Are Peoples' Lungs Different Today?
SMOKE SIGNALS MAGAZINE - January - February 2013

A question popped into our minds recently, as we were watching a few old movies from the 1940s on TV.

As is often the case, smoking was ubiquitous in the movies, with everyone lighting up regularly, no matter where they were, no matter what the circumstances.

The female smoking was, of course, oustanding; style was paramount, particularly in social settings. French inhales, snaps, nose exhales, residual exhales were commonplace. But that's the subject for another lament.

What really hit us, though, was the way that everyone, men and women, young and old, were taking cheek-hollowing drags on their powerful, unfiltered cigarettes - almost non-stop. And that's what got us thinking.

What is it about smokers in the 2000s, that sees most of them taking shallow inhales on light or ultra-light cigarettes, yet often only able to handle a few cigarettes a day?

We understand that the amount people smoke, particularly these days, is often constrained by the price of cigarettes and the difficulty of smoking in public. Even so, it seems that the modern day smoker's ability to "handle smoke" is far from what it used to be.

We see it regularly in filming models, who often complain about being asked to smoke full-flavored cigarettes, who more often than not can't even smoke two cigarettes without a break, and who complain about being "smoked out" when a session isn't even halfway over.

We also see the flip side of it, when members of the community lionize women who chain smoke on camera. It used to be, not so long ago, that chain smoking was almost "required behavior" in social situations. Today, fetishists rhapsodize about women who are able to chain into a second cigarette, and pledge undying love if someone smokes three in a row.

There's no question that regulations and cigarette prices have changed smokers' behavior, and there are therefore sociological reasons why people smoke less than they used to. That has no doubt made it harder for people to chain smoke.

But in watching women devour the smoke form their unfiltered cigarettes in old movies, we also have to wonder if there's been some sort of physiological change as well - making today's lungs less able to tolerate large volumes of smoke. Air pollution, perhaps? A greater prevalence of allergies, weakening lung capacity? More additives in the smoke lowering the lungs' ability to handle even light or ultra-light cigarette smoke? Fear?

There may be some elements of this discussion better suited for Vesperae's analysis - she's better at providing answers. We're better at asking questions. And this one is stuck in our minds, at least this month.

Whatever the explanation - it's certainly a shame from our perspective.

Happy New Year - and enjoy the January-February issue!

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