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The Smoker is an Infected with an extremely long tongue. The Smoker's tongue can be launched out of its mouth at high speeds, and when it reaches one of the Survivors, it automatically wraps around the target's body and drags him/her back towards the Smoker. If any obstacles block the victim from being dragged to the Smoker, he will choke his target instead.
Apperance and Extent of MutationsEdit
The Smoker has been heavily mutated by a strain of the Infection and frequently makes high-pitched rasping and coughing noises that can alert Survivors of its presence. Though it resembles most Common Infected, it is taller, more durable, and its skin has become covered in growths that cause little spurts of green smoke and blood to ooze out when shot.
It is said that the smoke it expels gives off a putrid smell, but it is otherwise harmless. The left side of its face is bloated and appears to be covered by a large tumor. In Left 4 Dead, he can be seen wearing a white shirt with a green jacket along with jeans and Converse-like sneakers. Though its mentality is similar to that of the typical Infected, it is not distracted by things such as the flashing lights of pipe bombs, nor is it attracted by car alarms going off. When constricted, Survivors have a brief moment (1-2 seconds) to shoot the offending Smoker before their arms are ensnared by the tongue. If they fail, the Survivor is helplessly dragged off, and will take damage until they die.
Survivors can be rescued by either killing the Smoker, or attacking and breaking the tongue. If the Survivor is close enough, the Smoker will claw at them, dealing damage. If there is an object (eg. a car) preventing the Survivor from being dragged, then the Smoker will strangle them using its tongue. If a Survivor isn't dragged all the way back to a Smoker due to an obstruction (eg. a Horde surrounding the Survivor), the Survivor only takes damage from the Horde, and not the Smoker. When killed, a Smoker leaves a haze of dark green smoke, obscuring the vision of the Survivors and causing them to cough if they stand in it. Like most other Special Infected, a melee hit from the Smoker does about twice as much damage as the Horde. Only one Smoker is normally allowed on the Infected team while playing Versus, unless there are computer-controlled Infected.
Some have suggested that the mutated "tongue" could actually be intestines. Occasionally, when killing the Smoker, hundreds of feet of "tongue" will spew from its mouth, supporting the intestines theory. A second theory leading to the Smoker's mutation is that the strain of infection has caused a type of fungus or similar bacteria to grow along its face. This could be responsible for the spore or smoke clouds and its tongue(s), since in many cases, fungi have been known to grow tentacle-like appendages that appear similar to tongues. This is supported by the fact that upon death, the Smoker's mutated tongue disappears, and you can see the true tongue in his mouth. A third theory is that the Smoker had cancer (probably tongue or throat) before becoming infected. This is supported by the fact that cancer occurs when a cell or group of cells mutate to the point the hayflick limit breaks, so the cells don't stop reproducing. Since there are cancerous growths all over the Smoker's face and upper torso along with the extra tongues protruding from the growths, this may be true; it would also explain how the Smoker's tongue regrows so quickly after being snapped from the base. A fourth theory is that part of the Infection gives the Smoker regenerative abilities, similar to cancer.
Left 4 Dead 2Edit
The Smoker has a different physical appearance in Left 4 Dead 2. The Infection has caused the Smoker to now have very large lumps and tumor-like appendages on his left arm that are larger and bulkier than that in Left 4 Dead, hinting at a form of infected strain for the Smoker. However, there is a lack of tumors on its right arm, except for a small cluster of boils near his wrist. Aside from the Smokers original tongue, it now has two "extra tongues" sticking out the back of his shoulder, with one tongue coming out the right side of its collarbone, one looped at the bottom, and a large tongue is sticking out the back of his neck, which makes a total of six tongues. Most notable is the presence of a massive tumor on its throat and chest, which rapidly pulses. It is possible that this tumor is actually a mass of muscle that grew there to propel its tongue. His skin is also no longer dark gray, but normally colored; he also seems to have more shine to his skin, as if he is covered in either infectious pus or some other oily substance. In terms of clothing, he now wears a blue T-shirt and jeans with a slight sag that show the waistband of his undergarments, bearing the fictional brand name "SKIVS".