The Light Cigarettes That Defined Us

The Senate has just passed a sweeping bill that essentially bans light cigarettes, as they're marketed as healthier when, really, they're not. So no more of your favorite iconic brands, which are mostly smoked by the youngs. Brands like:

The Light Cigarettes That Defined Us

Parliament Lights
Sometimes referred to as p-funks or p-fags, these recessed-filter cig'ruts were the chosen brand of the hipster gentry. There's something classic yet silly about them—the associations they once had with "white trash" are long lost memories, as they've been co-opted by young people wearing western shirts. Basically they were the Pabst Blue Ribbon of the smoking set. Also popular in the gay world for their sleek design and easily-matchable pack colors, Parliament Lights were both hip and sorta lame. They became cliches long before they got banned.

The Light Cigarettes That Defined Us

Marlboro Lights
Oh the drama! Marbs were the chosen cigarette of handbag-crazed skinnygirls and other fabulous, star-obsessed youngs. They sort of reached the peak of their cultural relevance in the late 90s, when fashionable stars like Gwyneth Paltrow were spotted puffing away, clutching that classy-lookin' gold and white box. Marlboro Lights were the cigarettes that people who "don't smoke" smoked, as they almost seemed like nothing—like air or tissue paper. And, that's exactly what the manufacturers wanted you to think. We're not quite sure what happened to the Marlboro Light—why it lost its cultural capital—but we suppose it's moot now.

The Light Cigarettes That Defined Us

Camel Lights
Camel Lights are perhaps the most versatile of any of the big light brands. Smoked by theater kids and soulful poet street toughs (you know who you are) alike, the dense, tar-filled sticks lent an air of devil-may-care coolness to any who set them aflame. Camel Lights smokers were some of the most aggressively defensive (that's a thing...) in all of smokedom, claiming superiority to anyone who dares impugn the Turkish carcinogens. These were the cigarettes kids smoked when they first started— and either they got too heavy and they downgraded to Parlies or Marlboros, or they stuck it out and they're still doing it to this day, those lung-hacking badasses. Well, not for long.

The Light Cigarettes That Defined Us

Winston Lights
The cigarette smoked by the kids who'd likely grow up to be the old guys who sit outside the corner spa, cranking butts and telling weird, mumbly stories. Though they come from the same stock, these cigs were more potent and old timey dignified than the cheap, mass-market Marlboros. While the soulful poet-thugs mighta been sucking down Camels, the regular-poets-with-chips-on-their-shoulders boys were standing back behind school pensively puffing on a Winston. How they get from that artful, lovely bent to the hunched-over grizzled townie is one of life's great mysteries. One that now, it seems, will go forever unanswered.

The Light Cigarettes That Defined Us

Newport Lights
If you grew up in Boston, Newport Lights meant pretty much one thing: Southie. Which is to say that while menthol cigarettes have a gnarled and unsavory past with African Americans (they were passed off by cigarette manufacturers as "a brand for the blacks!", and of course they're the worst kind of cigarettes you can buy), there were a whole lotta white kid menaces (and their gaggles of wannabe followers) who were also stuffing fiberglass down their throats. Basically, no matter who you were—white, black, whatever—Newport Lights were the cigarettes for the people (mostly young women) who just firmly didn't give a fuck. What will they turn to now?


Of course, these cigarettes will still exist. They'll just be called something else. But still it feels like some chapter is closing. Some awful, black-lunged, hideous chapter. But a chapter nonetheless.

Top image via Getty