Concept: Cigarette Machines

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Social Documentary with community input.


Outdoor Cigarette Machines in Germany, possibly other European countries


Although smokers are just as much frowned upon in Germany as they are here, one thing remains commonplace ever since the seventies, almost on every street corner:

Cigarette Machines

Even the tiniest little cul-de-sac back alley in Germany has one, and most of the time they look like you shouldn’t put any money into them. Surprisingly, they work better than coke and chocolate machines.

The community turns them into artwork (i.e. graffiti over them, or stick posters on them). Both my parents were fairly heavy smokers, and sometimes I volunteered to walk down the road and get “the good stuff” for them. You could argue I grew up a drug runner!

I’m sure many other European countries have cigarette machines, so why not take a camera and document them all.

It’ll be impossible to catalogue them, and it’ll be impossible to do this all by myself, but I can see an interesting project here. Walk around through major cities and find them all. Get the community involved. Offer free cigarettes as prizes maybe.

Hell, even contact the boys who fill’em up and ask them for a list of their vending outlets.

One thing I’m not interested in is Indoor Cigarette Machines. They’re well maintained, probably filled by a different company – I’m after the battered old yellow-ish hunk of metal that stands the test of time.

We need to move quickly though: I’m sure smokers are a dying breed, so is the cigarette industry. Let’s get them all on film before they vanish.

This is a social documentary, and I’m interested in how different countries handle “dubious substances”. The open sale of cigarettes for example, does this lead to more smokers than over here, where coffin nails are more expensive and sold only to over 18s? Is there a link to the lack of pub closing time, absent in Germany, yet they don’t have the same getting drunk quickly attitude as we have over here?

Let’s explore.

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