Over the years the term COOL has gone from being a term used by the antiestablishment crowd to a term that has gone mainstream and who's meaning has been turned on its' head.
Cool comes to us from Jazz musicians, people your mother did not want you to even go near. These were mainly men (though there were some women too) who did not seem to work, hung out in bars and speak easies, played the devil's music, smoked dope, snorted coke, drank to excess, had sex with people who were not their spouses (and horrors, may have doing THE SAME SEX!!!). The cool people were (and are) not the type of folks respectable conservative, uncool people bring home to Mama.
Fast forward to the late 1960/early 1970's. The term Cool becomes a part of the hippie lexicon. It starts as a way of describing someone-"he's cool" meaning he is not a narc and likely gets high. At the very least a person could pull out their stash and not worry about getting busted. But the term started changing. Cool started to have other meanings, the most common one being "Good" as in "It's Cool" meaning "It's good". This meaning slipped into the main stream as hippies grew up had kids, bought mortgages and started running things.
The term cool, in about a decade, went from being a term of anti establishment to being the opposite, a common term used by most people under 65 in the USA
So how can I say smoking is cool? Does that mean I want every teenager to light up a cigarette? Nope, it does not. But I still maintain smoking is one of the coolest things anyone can do.
This does not mean smoking cigarettes or marijuana is a good thing, it does not mean taking the smoke of certain plants into your lungs is good for your health or that the act will get you accolades from your teachers or parents.
But it is cool. Why? Because smoking is antiestablishment. It is exotic, especially to youngsters. It is taboo (again, especially to youngsters) and all these things combine to make smoking very very cool.
But in these modern times most folks believe being cool is something good. Something everyone can and should aspire too. They are wrong to think this way. They forget where this term came from (or perhaps never knew or cared and for that will be doomed to use the term wrong in ignorance). it is unfortunate that too many of these folks work for major media outlets and major advertisers and unwittingly have an amazing amount of power over the rest of us who consume their media.
But because you have read this you can help to break this ignorance by speaking when ever you hear the word Cool being misused.