Smoking is cool. Maybe you don't agree, and that's fine -- but let's just take a look at the matter at hand, here.

1) Smoking gives the smoker additional time to formulate his or her sentences. A smoker, when their mind briefly fails, does not need to hem and haw, or engage in excessive "umm"ing. Instead, they merely have to take a slow drag on their cigarette, exhaling that lovely pale blue smoke before continuing the conversation, their resources replenished by their brief period of contemplation.

2) Smoking also gives any conversationalist the equivalent of a laser pointer. A cigarette can be used to enhance gesticulations, point to examples or direct an orchestra on the fly.

3) Smoking, due to the sheer amount of lobbying against it, is counter-societal. When you're young, is there anything cooler than saying, "Fuck the man!" by slowly killing yourself? Well, maybe there is. Still, we should take a quick look to Hollywood, and one of their more attractive heroes: The guy who may as well already be dead and therefore doesn't care about the consequences of his actions and is able to move with perfect freedom for the remainder of what will likely be a tragically short life. This character is the compelling lead in countless action movies, as well as being used to more dramatic effect on occasion. This guy, or girl, smokes more often than not, or at least has some sort of lethal habit -- drinking and drugs are common. The inclination towards self-destruction is powerful material.

4) Smoking allows even the laziest of people to apply some sort of style to their lives: everybody smokes differently, and the cultivation of personal technique occurs throughout all of the years for which they smoke. Some people have eerily hypnotic ways of both inhaling and exhaling, as well as actually holding the cigarette.

5) Ultimately, smoking sends the message -- whether subliminal or conscious -- that the smoker is aware of and unafraid of mortality, which is a powerful attraction for people in an age in which neuroses ride free upon the shoulders of nearly everybody that you meet, most of which stem from the unavoidability of death. This isn't valid, of course, as most smokers, particularly young ones, aren't truly aware that what they're doing will kill them. This does not stop the image from being projected, however.

6) Forbidden fruit: From the Garden of Eden to the present day, rebels all the way. Most people who pick such fruit are cool. Why? Because it takes a cool person to thwart authority. Take a look at Prometheus.

This is just my theory on why smoking is so widely considered to be cool that organisations spend money in an attempt to de-program this perception. How else to explain all of the PSAs with the same theme: Cool kid talks about how cool he is and is cool while lame kids talk about how cool they are but are lame. The cool kid doesn't smoke and the lame kids do. This is such a basic attempt at propoganda that it doesn't have to be addressed in detail.

Yes, I am a smoker.