What Those Funny Old Smoking Ads Really Show
Hey, if my doc smokes 'em...
But the real message is a bit different, according to Robert N. Proctor, PhD, a Stanford University history of medicine professor who is writing a book, titled The Golden Holocaust, about the global health costs of tobacco. The persistence of cigarette ads with health claims reflected a widespread, though low-level, public concern that tobacco was, in fact, doing harm.
"Not recommended for children under 6"
But there was no convincing proof—or even a scientific method for establishing proof—and the unregulated ad market allowed messages like this one, which touted the benefits of tobacco for even the most breathing-afflicted (though probably not to children under 6).
"Made specifically to prevent sore throats"
Here, a U.K. ad sells a throat-friendly brand, at a time when cigs were associated with dandies and the fairer sex.
Don't quit, switch!
Yes, I inhaled
"Gonna smoke up!"
The pleasure principle
From the early days of the Mad Men-era
It was hard for the industry to give up the habit of citing scientists and educators, especially if they preferred your “micronite filter,” as in this 1960 Kent ad. (Kent’s filter was later accused of causing disease because, for a period, it contained asbestos.)
Filters, Proctor says, joined other devices such as “ventilation” and the addition of menthol, which diverted attention from the tsunami of evidence that finally led to the famous 1964 Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health.
Thinner and lower? That's seventies style
In the summer of 2008, the FTC repudiated the tests that measured tar and nicotine. On October 6, the Supreme Court opened its new term with a case to decide whether consumers can sue tobacco companies over deceptive advertising of "light" claims.
It's healthier outdoors
Tobacco opponents get their kick at the visual cat
Is the U.S. slipping behind?
“Most of the world is going over to graphic imagery, and the United Stages is going to become, if it isn’t already, one of the laggards in global tobacco prevention. We have some of the weakest bans on advertising. We’re actually becoming a backwater.” Here, a warning from Hong Kong.