Why Are Celebrities Chewing On Toothpicks?

It’s not just about quitting vaping.

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The hottest celebrity accessory this season costs less than a penny and can be found in most restaurants: a toothpick.

Doja Cat, whose signature look once involved sucking on a vape at nearly every award show (and even the Met Gala), made the switch at the 2024 Grammy Awards, where she replaced her weed pen with a toothpick. Boygenius bandmate Julien Baker was also seen gnawing on one at the same event. On March 1, Shawn Mendes was spotted twirling a toothpick in his mouth at Loewe’s Fall/Winter 2024 show at Paris Fashion Week. Dune’s Rebecca Ferguson had one in her mouth during a recent interview. And spirits company Rémy Martin gifted Usher a one-of-a-kind Jacquie Aiche diamond-encrusted toothpick for his 45th birthday.

There’s one brand that’s especially cataloging the pick uptick: Blip, the smoking-cessation company that launched last summer from co-founders Princess Gollum, Alyson Lord, Julie Schott of Starface, Futurewise, and Julie fame. A toothpick couldn’t be a more perfect accessory to sum up where we are at this moment,” says Princess Gollum, who adds that in the last month, she’s seen more celebrities than ever using toothpicks. “It’s so small but sharp, minimal yet loud, and fun to fixate on while making a statement. I love seeing a modern woman in a full face beat, waiting for her car to pull up with a toothpick in her mouth and no cigarette to put out.”

Princess GollumCourtesy of Blip

Princess Gollum’s own journey in quitting vaping, began when Dr. Mark Rubinstein, Blip’s head of medical affairs, gave her a list of suggestions; the one that piqued her interest most was flavored toothpicks. She’d previously tried to distract herself with Dior lip oil, Nintendo Switch, Listerine sprays, and learning to do her own nails, but she says nothing helped as much as toothpicks — so she made them a part of Blip’s offerings. A three-pack of tubes each containing 20 toothpicks costs $16.99 and comes in limited-edition pumpkin spice, along with mint, strawberry, and “pure,” which is flavored with herbal jambú, a plant the BBC called “Brazil’s answer to the Sichuan pepper” for its tingly feeling.

“I love seeing a modern woman in a full face beat, waiting for her car to pull up with a toothpick in her mouth and no cigarette to put out.”

Not all toothpick users are trying to quit smoking, but the wooden accessories have become so synonymous with kicking the habit that it’s often the first thing people assume when they see Alyssa Stowers, a designer and DJ in Brooklyn, using them. “I’m not a smoker. But people are always asking me if I'm trying to quit,” she says. “I get stigmatized for having toothpicks on me!” Stowers, who has used toothpicks as both a sugar-free breath freshener and a way to occupy her hands since she was a kid, says she’s so hooked that she keeps generic versions she buys in bulk online in all her jacket pockets, her desk drawer at work, and even in the seat compartment of her Vespa. (She switched to generic because her favorite brand Cinnamint runs $8 for a dozen.)

For Princess Gollum, her vaping addiction has been effectively swapped for a toothpick addiction. And sure, though dental experts say toothpicks can cause gum disease or damage dental work, it’s a small risk to take compared to the deadly effects of nicotine addiction. She chews on them everywhere: on night outs, during trips to CVS, and while in the chair getting her makeup done. “Sometimes I feel like I’m being stared at,” she says. “But truthfully, when am I not? I’ve heard that toothpicks aren’t very ladylike, which makes me like them even more.”