After some digging in, we have discovered a few female country singers who smoke cigarettes (and some who did more than just cigarette breaks). While these names might surprise you, they are not entirely unrooted from the reality of celebrities and singers alike. Not to mention that country music has never shied away from singing songs about smoking, and a lot of these songs are pulled in from experiences.
But before we reveal the female country singers that smoke cigarettes, let’s first take a quick look at smoking in the country music setting.
‘The Torches of Freedom’
We have often heard smoking in a lot of country music songs by female artists, just like Miranda Lambert’s “Kerosene,” Carrie Underwood’s “Smoke Break,” and Kacey Musgrave’s “Blowin’ Smoke.” And it seemed to have replaced drinking as country music’s preferred to sin.
But smoking is more than just a hobby and addiction or a concept.
Before World War II, it was not publicly accepted for women to smoke. But after the war ended, an American Tobacco Company hired Edward Bernays, founder of public relations, to encourage women to start smoking. So, he staged a dramatic display of women publicly smoking during the Easter Day Parade in New York City and informed the press that these women would be lighting up their ‘torches of freedom’ to show that they were equal to men.
The campaign became successful, and other tobacco companies followed suit, creating a supply and demand chain of cigarettes for women. There were even ads that educated women on how to smoke properly. And soon after, smoking became a symbol of women’s freedom.
The Smoking Women of Country Music
There is definitely a long list of female celebrities and singers who love to light up their cigarettes, but not all of them have been very open about it. With some digging, we discovered a few female country singers smoking cigarettes.
Alison Krauss is an American bluegrass-country music singer who started in the industry at a very young age. She started joining and winning local contests at 10, recorded for the first time at 14, and released her first solo album at 16. And throughout her decades-long career, she has been known for her angelic and clean voice. That was why when she revealed that she smoked, people did not actually believe it.
In her 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, Alison told Jim Macnie that the reason why she smoked was to piss people off. She and her friends used to say that it was gross when women smoke, and so they did. They would go out at night, play their fiddles with a tape recorder, and just be nasty. But while she did it sometimes, she never recommended smoking to anyone.
She did quit smoking, but it already unknowingly impacted her voice. In 2013, she was forced to cancel an appearance at a festival as she suffered from dysphonia, a disorder of the vocal cords characterized by hoarseness and difficulty speaking, which could have been developed through smoking. Krauss was then forced to go on vocal rest and was discouraged from trying hitting upper register notes.
Country singer Gretchen Wilson made her way into the industry in 2004. She was one of the few who managed to become an overnight sensation. That kind of popularity can be toxic to most, picking up habits like drinking, smoking, and even using drugs, but Wilson has already been a longtime smoker at the time. Despite that, she wasn’t really open to getting photographed lighting up, and smoking a cigarette. She didn’t want kids to think that smoking was cool.
And in 2011, in front of a thousand fans and her crew in Rosenberg, Texas, the singer made a New Year’s resolution and public announcement that she would quit cigarettes for good. She then lit up and savored her last stick. After the show, she tossed out all of her remaining cigarettes as well as lighters and ashtray to finally say goodbye to her nicotine habit.
Kacey Musgraves is another member of the female country music singers that smoke cigarettes. While others may not be publicly open with that kind of activity, Musgraves was even happy to write about it. In one of the lyrics in her 2013 breakout single “Follow Your Arrow,” she mentioned rolling out a joint which turned out to be something she really enjoyed with then-husband Rustan Kelly. In fact, in one of her throwback Instagram photos during their wedding captioned “Lovestoned,” the couple appeared to be holding one each! And aside from that, she has also been photographed smoking cigarettes several times.
Musgraves is also very open about her recreational drug use on her social media, revealing that she wrote a new song while she tripped on LSD. She said that it opens her heart and mind, but she is also aware that some things that work for her may not work for others.
Loretta Lynn’s story is a bit different than most on the list. While most wanted to try it out and became their addiction, Loretta tried smoking for health reasons. In an interview with SiriusXM, Loretta shared that she was 84 at the time and suffering from glaucoma. She was prescribed a marijuana cigarette to combat it, but after taking one puff off it, it hit her right in the chest. She thought she was gonna die and decided right there and then that smoking was not for her.
Later on, she met Willie Nelson, who encouraged her to give it another try, but it seemed like the country singer had already sworn off it.
Last but not least on our list of female country singers who smoke cigarettes is country singer Maren Morris. Morris has definitely enjoyed a lot of success in her career over the years, earning chart-topping hits and bagging numerous honors and awards. But the stage and the fame still get to her.
In an interview with Women’s Health for her June 2019 cover, the singer admitted that she still gets anxious when she goes on stage, and that smoking had been her way of coping with it. But while it was a stress reliever, it definitely affected her voice. She also realized that it was a gift to sing well and make people feel things, so she didn’t want to take it for granted. That was why she gave up smoking.
Now, the Texas native has found ways other ways to defuse the crazy adrenaline rush. She tries to chill out and not think about music all the time. Aside from that, she also started using tarot cards which helped her turn about and think about a situation differently. And of course, she watches what she eats, works out, spends time with family and friends, and also attends regular therapy sessions.
Alison Krauss, Gretchen Wilson, kacey musgraves, Loretta Lynn, Marren Morris