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Not a Cough in a Carload
November 15, 2007 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Not a Cough in a Carload: Images from the Tobacco Industry Campaign to Hide the Hazards of Smoking.
Our intention is to tell--principally through advertising images--the story of how, between the late 1920s and the early 1950s, tobacco companies used deceptive and often patently false claims in an effort to reassure the public of the safety of their products.
posted by kirkaracha (27 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
at that time, though, did they KNOW the hazards? i don't recall that they did

after the mid 60s, they certainly did and do know - and they continue on

the most puzzling thing about all this, of course, is that someone could describe camels as being "mild" - i used to smoke those things, cause i wanted a REAL damn cigarette, not that filtered crap

good thing i quit
posted by pyramid termite at 3:01 PM on November 15, 2007


I gave up the evil weed about 7 years ago: we had a brand new baby in the house and smoking around her just seemed so insanely wrong. That plus I was starting to cough a lot...

This is a handsome site, good interface. And a great collection of old ads. Thanks for the post, kirkaracha.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:05 PM on November 15, 2007


Interesting to see this "feminine" Marlboro ad, back before the Marlboro Man advertising campaign reinvented the cigarette brand as "macho" and "masculine".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:05 PM on November 15, 2007


Well known early victims of oral cancer include Sigmund Freud who developed cancer of the palate after years of smoking 20 cigars a day and U.S. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Grover Cleveland.

Paging Dr. Freu...wait, what?
posted by agent at 3:14 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


looking through more of these, i'm starting to wonder who the hell sold the cigarettes that killed your throat, made you cough and irritated you like crazy, cause they sure didn't advertise those brands

hmmm - it sounds even worse in french - n'irritent jamais ma gorge sounds like a porno flick

why are canadian cigarettes so nasty, anyway?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:18 PM on November 15, 2007


maybe that's french - but i swear i've seen that brand in canada and no, i'm NOT thinking of export 'a'
posted by pyramid termite at 3:20 PM on November 15, 2007


These -and liquor ads -were the best part of the piles of old LIFE magazines in old relatives houses.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:24 PM on November 15, 2007


Gotta love the guy smoking while looking into his microscope ... I assume unlocking the mysteries of unpleasant after-taste.
posted by itchylick at 3:39 PM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


The cigarette ads have all been replaced with pharmaceutical ads touting the wonders of the newest pill. Check back in fifteen years for a similar retrospective.
posted by Sailormom at 3:42 PM on November 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


I'm going to take up smoking.
posted by mattoxic at 3:43 PM on November 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


If they didn't think they were bad for you, why would they have all those doctors' testimonials?
posted by adamrice at 3:44 PM on November 15, 2007


Thanks for posting this, I missed the physical exhibition of these, and was hoping they'd put them online.
posted by sarahnade at 3:53 PM on November 15, 2007


Say what you will about smoking, it's still really cool.*

*on young, attractive people.
posted by rhymer at 3:54 PM on November 15, 2007


Check back in fifteen years for a similar retrospective.

"No one could have predicted that four-hour erections were bad."

I'm going to take up smoking.

I can't help but feel partially responsible.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:18 PM on November 15, 2007


I have the first ad on the bottom row framed and hanging on my wall. (20 year Camel non-filter smoker)
posted by Falling_Saint at 4:28 PM on November 15, 2007


Thanks very much for this, kirkaracha:;it will be perfect for my media theory class tomorrow.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:44 PM on November 15, 2007


shiite
posted by Debaser626 at 4:57 PM on November 15, 2007


Brilliant single-link post. Thanks so much for this.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:16 PM on November 15, 2007


well, this is new and original.
posted by brandz at 6:03 PM on November 15, 2007


I've spoken with older retired doctors who used to carry around a cigarette doing their rounds on the assumption that smoking killed airborne pathogens (and also masked the smell of illness and death).

I need to make a colour print of that guy at the microscope and hang it up in the lab =D

Craven A's are horrible cheap cigarettes (although most brands of smokes in Canada can only be sold at the same price-point). DuMauriers and Export A's aren't bad, but I smoke Dunhills these days.

/misses American Spirits, but they taste wierd once you've stopped smoking them for a while. Do not miss Camels or Marlbaroughs but every so often I have a craving for a Parliament Light for some reason.
posted by porpoise at 7:11 PM on November 15, 2007


at that time, though, did they KNOW the hazards? i don't recall that they did

The industry spent hundreds of millions of dollars on research to muddy the waters.

I don't think there's any innocent explanation for advertising menthol cigarettes as the cure for "smoker's cough", though.

Four out of five doctors ... are going to hell
posted by dhartung at 9:38 PM on November 15, 2007


Great link, kirkaracha, thanks.

Smoke and Mirrors: How Tobacco and PR Grew Up Together
During the Roaring Twenties, the American Tobacco Company turned to PR to develop a vast new market--American women--for sales of its Lucky Strike cigarettes. The company first hired adman A.D. Lasker, whose advertisements featured female opera stars, their soprano voices somehow unaffected by their love for Luckies.

Lasker portrayed Lucky Strikes as a healthy cigarette by concocting surveys using spurious data to claim that doctors preferred Luckies as the "less irritating" brand. However, his most effective campaign urged women to "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet." The campaign increased Lucky sales threefold in just twelve months. (The message, "cigarettes help keep you thin," reverberates today in the brand name Virginia Slims.)


Vintage TV tobacco tv commercials, some making health claims. (self-link)
posted by madamjujujive at 11:14 PM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love the art work. Thanks for this, very cool retrospective.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:07 AM on November 16, 2007


If only they had used their powers for good, not evil.
posted by tommasz at 7:18 AM on November 16, 2007


TV Tropes on the modern-day stealth cigarette commercial.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:38 AM on November 16, 2007


the most puzzling thing about all this, of course, is that someone could describe camels as being "mild"

Hmm, that is puzzling. Perhaps there's something wrong with your T-Zone (that's T for taste, and T for throat).
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:02 PM on November 16, 2007


These are awesome, thanks.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:34 PM on November 16, 2007


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