The day before the test, [atomic physicist Ted] Taylor rode the elevator to the top of the tower to view his device and to catch a glimpse of the equipment display scattered across the desert below. Nearby, a technician worked to clear a conduit pipe; a rat had somehow managed to wedge itself inside, threatening to ruin the shot. A break in even one circuit, regardless of how minor, would scuttle the detonation.
While Taylor was waiting, he managed to locate a concave, parabolic mirror. After determining the point at which the light would converge, he attached a small wire. The next day, June 1, 1952, he would conduct an experiment of his own.
At 3:50 on June 1, the troops in the trenches were told to kneel and lean against the side of the trench nearest the tower. Five minutes later Scorpion/George ignited with a force of 15 kilotons.
At the Control Point, Ted Taylor aimed his parabolic mirror at the intensely bright, fissioning mass. At the end of the wire he had attached a Pall Mall. In a second or so the concentrated, focused light from the weapon ignited the tip of the cigarette. He had made the world’s first atomic cigarette lighter.
It would have been better if Taylor had first radioed the control tower, "Hey, you guys got a light?" and they radioed back, "Sure." Then detonated the bomb.
A 1955 DoD film demonstrated the concept, without using an actual atomic bomb:
In some parts of the world, people smoke cigarettes by holding the lit end inside their mouth. Apparently this doesn't burn them. In fact, reverse smokers claim that they enjoy the sensation of warmth it creates inside their mouth.
Journal of the American Dental Association - Mar 1976
The cigarette-smoking habits of people in some parts of the world include a variation called reverse smoking, which is accomplished by holding the lighted end of a cigarette or cigar inside the oral cavity. Air is drawn to the burning zone through the unlighted end of a cigarette, and smoke is expelled back through the cigarette or out through the mouth. The smoke is not usually inhaled; however, the ashes are swallowed. Smoke and tar products are allowed to condense on the surfaces of the teeth, palate, and adjacent mucosa. Tobacco tar and smoke that come into contact with the highly vascular moist mucosa contribute to the pleasurable sensation.
Reverse smoking has been reported to occur in the lower economic groups in areas of India, the Caribbean, Sardinia, South America, Korea, and the Philippine Islands. In the Philippine Islands, reverse smoking is referred to as “ bakwe” and is practiced almost exclusively by married women. It is a symbolic indication of the achievement of marital status and represents the responsibility that is peculiar to a married woman, in contrast to the carefree life-style of an unattached maiden. Many look on an unmarried smoker as a woman of easy virtue.
It is noteworthy that in parts of Korea women begin smoking on their 60th birthday, to represent the beginning of their retired life. This signifies wisdom and experience.
Motherhood and housework are the primary reasons why reverse smoking is practiced only by women. It enables the mother to feed and tend to her child without the risk of the infant touching the lighted end of the cigarette. It also eliminates the possibility of ashes dropping on children, eating utensils, clothing that is being washed, and food that is being prepared.
Reverse smokers give several other reasons for indulging in this peculiar habit: it is more pleasurable than conventional smoking; it gives one the feeling of warmth during the rainy season (This may explain why reverse smoking is practiced primarily in equatorial climates, which usually have a long rainy season.); there is no desire to inhale; and the cigarette or cigar lasts longer.
A study by Quigley and others reported that the average time for conventional smoking of a cigarette is four minutes and six seconds, whereas the average time for reverse smoking is seven minutes 42 seconds. Native reverse smokers may retain a single cigarette for as long as 18 minutes.
Journal of the American Dental Association - Apr 1966
Heavy tar buildup inside the mouth of a reverse smoker. Journal of the American Dental Association - Oct 1964
Charles "Mickey" Norman achieved fame in the 1930s, while only a 2-year-old, because of his love of smoking. He was known as the "puffing prodigy." For a few years the media checked back at each of his birthdays and found him still smoking. Then they eventually lost interest... until his 18th birthday, when they checked and found he was still smoking, and quite healthy. The last news story about him I could find was when he was 25. Not clear what became of him after that. He might still be alive. If so, he'd be 87.
St. Louis Star and Times - July 12, 1933
Public Opinion - July 31, 1934
The Hackensack Record - July 29, 1936
Newsweek - Mar 20, 1950
No Ill Effects: At the age of 14 months, Charles (Mickey) Norman of Paterson, N.J., picked up a smoldering cigar from his father’s ash tray and took a few puffs. He liked it. By the age of 3, Mickey was an inveterate stogie smoker—his pictures appeared in papers from Italy to Australia, bringing an avalanche of fan mail. A short time later he announced: “I drink beer.” None of this seemed to have an ill effect. Now a husky, 6-foot-tall auto mechanic of 18, Norman estimates that he has smoked 13,000 cigars, along with pipes and cigarettes.
-Newsweek, Mar 20, 1950
On sale early in the twentieth century. The story is that they were definitely NOT endorsed by the Boy Scouts. Eventually the Scouts got legislation passed making it illegal for companies to use their name.
One of comedian Jim Purol's recurring gags was to stuff record-setting amounts of things in his mouth, especially cigarettes and cigars. For instance, he set a Guinness world record for smoking seven packs of cigarettes simultaneously. Ironically, he was a non-smoker. From the LA Times (July 18, 1987):
His trick of broadening a yawn into a crater crammed with seven packs of gaspers also has given Purol, 35, a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. He scored a second mention by smoking 38 pipes at one puffing. He opened wider, gritted his tonsils, and earned a third entry in 1983 by smoking 40 finger-fat stogies at the same time.
Paradoxically, Purol is a nonsmoker. It gets better. His world cigar smoking record was a charity performance benefiting the American Lung Assn.
"I hate smoking," he explained. "I perform the stunts as a statement against smoking. Lookit this picture of me with cigarettes stuffed in my face. This is glamorous? It's disgusting."
Jim Purol (left) and Mike Papa each smoking 135 cigarettes in five minutes - October 1978
Weekly World News - Jan 1, 1985
Philadelphia Daily News - Apr 22, 1983
Back in 1976, he also set the world's duration drumming record by drumming for 320 hours.
I've seen Superman II a couple of times, but the fact that Lois Lane was chain smoking never registered with me. I'm guessing that cigarettes would have no effect on Superman. So he'd never bother to smoke. Although he mentions in the clip below that he never drinks when he flies. So evidently he can get drunk.
From Drugging the Poor: Legal and Illegal Drugs and Social Inequality, by Merrill Singer:
A noteworthy example of the tobacco commodification of a movie is Superman II, a film clearly targeted to young audiences that for years has been reshown on TV. In the movie, there are over 20 exposures of the Marlboro logo, for which Philip Morris is believed to have paid over $40,000. Moreover, although the character Lois Lane never smoked in the comic book on which the movie is based, she chain-smokes her way through the second Superman movie, and in the final climatic scene Supermn fights it out with his enemies in an urban landscape replete with Marlboro billboards.
Lyndon Sanders opened the Non-Smokers Inn in 1981 in Dallas. At the time, it was the first exclusively non-smoking hotel in America. Actually it may have been the first to offer any rooms exclusively for non-smokers, period. I'm not sure. But as it turned out, he anticipated the non-smoking trend too well. From cnn.com:
In a business sense, he was ahead of his time -- too far ahead. The Non-Smokers Inn did well at first, but by 1991 Sanders had to turn the hotel over to new management, which changed the name to the Classic Motor Inn, and allowed 22 of the 135 rooms to welcome smokers.
It wasn't that the world had turned its back on his idea -- it was that the world had embraced it too thoroughly. Major hotels had started putting in nonsmoking floors, and advertising the fact; people who didn't smoke suddenly had no trouble finding a clean, fresh-smelling room. The Non-Smokers Inn, struggling for business, had to become something else and let smokers in, because the nonsmokers no longer had to look so hard for what they desired.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.