Before environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies
became de rigueur for any investment house that hoped to
capture big money, Wall Street struggled to protect its own
downtrodden class: Cigarette smokers.
Institutional Investor was all over it.
Its not easy being a smoker on Wall
Street, wrote Mary Lowengard on the last page of November
1992s issue. (On the cover: Richard Rainwater, star Bass
family manager, casually doing bicep curls.)
Once an integral part of mainstream office life,
smokers have now been marginalized, exiled from water coolers,
sent scurrying from trading desks, beset by health nuts and the
olfactory squad, tobacco division, the article continues.
Unfortunately for smokers, Lowengard quotes a
health department official, nonsmokers are pretty
zealous about protecting their rights.
Yet guerilla users endured. Pension accountants Tony W. and
Guy L. confessed their special place a file
room to sneak forbidden Salem Ultra Lights. Equity
broker Phil H. estimated that his habit cost about $200 per day
in lost commissions. He hit the streets when the office smoking
lounge closed, but was motivated by the rules. Once you
make your first million, you get your own office and can smoke
all you want.
In todays world of finance, it can take years to
discover that a business contact is an undercover puffer. After
a particularly rambunctious awards dinner, perhaps, one may
suss out another, a do-you-party-bro sizing up. And
here, party means paying $16 for a packet of
Marlboro reds, and during the train ride home, thinking up
excuses to tell ones partner why you smell like a bingo
parlor. (Some investors from, uh, Turkey are here doing
diligence. That big sovereign Kuwait wealth fund. I mean,
Istanbul! We all went to a cigar bar with the shisha pipes to
respect their culture. Spouse: Mmmmhm. Go
The cigarette smoking class is a dying Wall Street breed,
but the next finance generation brings along their own
Is smoking cigarettes frowned upon in banking? a
user posted on Wall Street Oasis, a popular forum for young
financiers. Occasionally I smoke... is that a bad
A favorite response: How about cannabis?