Cigarette Advertising: A Vintage Look at Smoking Adverts

Smoking wasn’t always unhealthy, at least, in the eyes of the public. Knowing what we know now about smoking’s effects, and the checkered history of cigarette branding in America, vintage cigarette ads are viewed in a much different light than they were half a century ago. In light of societal changes, here are some of the most entertaining and interesting vintage cigarette ads:

(Images via greensmoke, pzrservices, pzrservices, quitsmoking)

Who knew Santa comforted himself on his long, cold sleigh rides with puffs on his Lucky Strikes, and the tasty smoke of Edgeworth tobacco? Christmas themed advertising is no surprise, but it’s interesting to see such a pinnacle in American culture puffing away, along with some famous celebrities. If you look closely, you might even notice a future President endorsing his favorite cigarette!

(Images via tressugar, momgrind, somethinbeautiful, citizenofthemonth)

Vintage ads get a lot of flack for their misogynistic content, and cigarette ads are no different. The above examples are attempts to be lighthearted and funny (and I’d argue the top left is), but a few of them cross the line into poor taste. The Tarcyton ad in particular has received a lot of negative attention, and it’s only recently that it came to my attention that those ads also ran with men featuring black eyes as well.

(Images via found in mom’s basement, e-cigarette, unicornjones, greensmoke)

Even kids know how much mom needs her cigarettes! They help her calm down when she’s mad or stressed, or just needs a little support. If the products featured in these ads were anything but cigarettes, there’d be nothing special about them, but that fact makes them quite a bit more interesting, especially in light of current knowledge about the effects of second hand smoke.

(Images via oobject, found by pat, hubpages, saveonsmoke, pophistorydig)

“Smoke cigarettes for your health!” is a consistent theme in vintage cigarette ads. Cigarettes have been proven by science to both help you maintain your youthful physique, and give you a peppy energetic feeling it would be difficult to find anywhere else (it seems coffee has replaced cigarettes in this regard).

(Images via tias, fulltable, found shit, animal new york, blogaboutablog)

“Doctor recommended” is not something we typically associate with cigarette advertising, but these were different times. While it’s true that the negative effects of smoking cigarettes were obfuscated for far too long, at this time I have a feeling they were not yet apparent… at least, I certainly hope so.