I’m unable to be celebratory about anything involving smoking. I lost two relatives to lung cancer, including one grandmother, back in 1996. One of my classmates also died from lung cancer, while still in his forties.
It’s true, however, that dashboard cigarette lighters were once standard accessories in all automobiles. They were common throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Automakers began phasing them out in the 1990s, as cigarette smoking became less socially acceptable.
The decline in smoking rates and tobacco use is actually one of the few good changes to occur over the last 40 years. To borrow a Japanese expression, smoking is hyakugai atte ichiri nashi (百害あって一利なし), or “all bad with nothing good”.
So yes, I’m finally saying something positive about 21st century sensibilities. People are much smarter now, after all.
It’s not as if the zeitgeist of his era would embrace the folly of recreational marijuana use, now that tobacco is on the way out….Nor would large numbers of today’s young people do something so colossally foolish as inhaling aerosol chemicals from metal “vape” cartridges.
But at least the Marlboro man is gone…along with those dashboard cigarette lighters. That, I suppose, is progress.