Tseng Yi-Wen

Could these surreal alternatives help people find a healthier lifestyle?

People who direly want to quit smoking might accept all the help they can get. And if they're willing to go an unconventional route, perhaps they'll be interested in these odd ideas for cigarettes meant to cajole and trick smokers into finally giving up the habit. 

The sneaky "Tobacco-Quitting Cigarettes" are the creation of Tseng Yi-Wen , a U.K.-based designer who's enthralled with behavior-modifying products. (For instance, there's her coin bank that discourages money withdrawals via finger-pricking spikes.) "For someone who wants to quit smoking, the process is painful," she says. So to lessen the pain, her special cigs would allow smokers to still get occasional puffs, but in a much less routine and destructive way.

Take the "Tobacco Luck" prototype: It's a bunch of cigarettes with filters of wildly different lengths, from the normal size to one that takes up three-quarters of the tube so that it's probably like sucking through a cotton-stuffed drinking straw:

The idea is that you can smoke them in order of smallest to largest filter, to gradually wean your body off the addiction (if you have the willpower to conquer it by only smoking once or twice a day, that is). The main drawback of this design is having desperate smokers littering the sidewalks with extra-long filters. 

Folks who prefer to shame themselves into better health might prefer these "Tobacco Day" smokes. The bottom of each filter is stamped with a day of the month, kind of like a pack of birth-control pills. That way the smoker has a clear reminder of how they're burning through their pack, and might choose to ration accordingly – or as Tseng Yi-Wen poetically puts it, "[e]njoy the bittersweet symphony of every single day":

Then there are these surrealistic cigarettes, looking like they were painted by Magritte. A central roll of tobacco is bookended by opposing filters so that the only way to light it is to break it in half. The idea: Give the other half to a fellow smoker, if you're so generous. By dividing the tobacco, "you help reduce the other person’s smoking amount, and your own," writes the designer. In other words, quit smoking through enabling others' habits?

Images by Tseng Yi-Wen via Designboom

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Orange traffic cones save parking spaces on a neighborhood street in South Boston.

    The Psychology of Boston's Snow Parking Wars

    In Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia, an informal code allows residents to claim a parking space after shoveling it out. But the practice is often at odds both with the law and with the mores of changing neighborhoods.

  2. Transportation

    The Automotive Liberation of Paris

    The city has waged a remarkably successful effort to get cars off its streets and reclaim walkable space. But it didn’t happen overnight.

  3. An aisle in a grocery store

    It's Not the Food Deserts: It's the Inequality

    A new study suggests that America’s great nutritional divide goes deeper than the problem of food access within cities.

  4. A tow truck operator hooks up a damaged bus in 2011 in New York.

    Should Transit Agencies Panic?

    Many predict that new technology will doom public transportation. They’re wrong.  

  5. Transportation

    How Toronto Turned an Airport Rail Failure Into a Commuter Asset

    The Union Pearson Express launched with expensive rides and low ridership. Now, with fares slashed in half and a light rail connection in the works, it’s a legitimate transit alternative for workers.