A recent study suggests that there’s little health benefit to simply cutting back on your smoking if you're not going to quit completely. While it might make you “feel” like you’re being healthier, there’s not a huge outcome difference in meekly smoking your three allotted cigarettes each day and full-on chain smoking.
Chain smoking is the act of lighting one cigarette in close succession to the last, sometimes actually off of the last cigarette. But how does one develop a reputation as a chain smoker such that they make an appearance on wikipedia's list of known chain smokers? It's unknown. The one thing I know for sure is that there are some sexy people on that list who, for better or worse, used filmmaker's favorite symbol of post-coital satiety and decadence almost unceasingly. (Were they, in fact, getting laid almost unceasingly? It's likely.) While I might not approve of the habit, if you're going to smoke, then you might as well look sexy doing it.
8. Keith Richards
No surprise here, Richards is probably chain smoking to this day. Although he was undeniably sexy in his youth, and has even persisted in a state of bizarre, old man sexiness, Richards teeters on an edge of a cragginess that will inevitably tumble into full-blown, grandfather-in-leather-pants territory.
7. Joni Mitchell
I've always thought that Joni Mitchell looks like she should be starring in some Ingmar Bergman flick wherein the opening shot she leans out a window just like this one into the Swedish countryside, moodily contemplating ghosts and the past. It's a creepy sort of "Carrie" sexy.
6. Humphrey Bogart
Bogart is likely the most obvious pick on this list. Just of course he chain smoked, and of course he was sexy. Points deducted for removing all the guesswork.
5. Anthony Bourdain
Truth be told I have never liked Anthony Bourdain's dumb, smug, "bad boy chef" persona. But that doesn't mean I don't find him oddly sexy.
4. Richard Burton
Half of the reason that I chose Burton was so that I could showcase the even sexier Elizabeth Taylor who, despite drinking like a fish, apparently wasn't a chain smoker. However, Cleopatra was one of Burton's sexier showings. Don't you just want to peel off that breastplate and get rolled up in a carpet together?
3. Lucille Ball
I love a zany lady with a sense of humor and a drive to succeed. Lucy co-owned her own production company and starred in her namesake sitcom all before we even had color television. Bonus sexiness: that full-on animal pelt dangling around her neck.
2. James Dean
No list of hot smokers would be complete without Dean, a man who died at such an apex of youthful rebellion that his memory will forever be conflated with chain smoking, driving fast, and necking with all the hottest ladies.
1. Courtney Love
I'll admit that I had tabloid covers of Love blanketing my high school bedroom wall. And this wasn't hot, 90s-era Love; this was trainwreck, early-2000s-era Love, always stumbling out of some place somewhere, a cigarette hanging jauntily from the corner of her mouth as she squinted her eyes into focus. While Courtney might not be the sexiest person on this list, she is doubtlessly the sexiest smoker — if you get the distinction. The truest, realest, hottest mess.