Smoking Associations

Social networks centered on tobacco use that reached notoriety in the early 2nd century AT (late 2000's c.e.).

Throughout the 21st century strong international campaigns against smoking made the users marginalized, relegated to designated smoking areas. As a result they increasingly recognized their commonality, and the support and social contacts from other smokers became more important. Since smoking cut across administrative borders, the smoking areas often came to serve as informal meeting places, a form of fraternality enabling members to help each other.

During the middle 21st century the smoking bans drove many smokers underground, creating ties with tobacco smugglers and adding to the mystique of the addiction. The smoking associations used part of their influence to protect the smuggling, and also to promote and help their own members. Various exposés of the smoker networks added to the image of a secretive, decadent society pulling the strings behind the scenes. Their actual power was never significant, but they provided an important orthogonal power structure in many organisations and smaller polities.

After the legalization in the late 21st century the smoking associations lost their importance, although as cultural icons the "cancer men" remained important over three centuries later. Traces of the smoking association culture are retained to this day in the rites of certain secret societies.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 31 December 2001.