14 Vintage, Sexy, And Evil Cigarette Print Ads From Decades Past
After the 1950s and '60s, the FCC made it harder to advertise on television and radio. Big Tobacco was forced to contend with the Fairness Doctrine that dictated ads with opposing views on the "joys" of smoking had to be aired. On January 2, 1971, advertising cigarettes on television were banned and it wasn't until the late-1990s that print ads started getting replaced with anti-smoking messages. As of now, companies can still advertise in print, alongside a Surgeon's General warning. Despite what your grandparents' doctors and dentists told them back in the 1950s, smoking is, in fact, detrimental to your health.
But after a look back at the 14 most evil cigarette commercials on TV, it was decided that another deep dive into the world of smoking was needed.
All the ads are pure evil, but damn it if some aren't sexy as hell.
1. Lucky Strikes
It's truly remarkable to think that companies could get away with saying medical professionals endorsed their cigarettes. Though, it wasn't until 1954 that the first official reports linking cancer to cigarettes appeared publicly.
That's right—ol' Frank was a spokesman for Chesterfield—just one of the many celebrities to endorse smoking. Others included: Bing Crosby, Ronald Reagan, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and Ed Sullivan.
Yikes...not even going to start with this one. Guys, don't do anything the man in this ad is doing.
Note, this ad came out only one year before "A Frank Statement To Cigarette Smokers" disproved Chesterfield's "scientific evidence."
5. Lucky Strikes
So, not only do you have Santa Claus endorsing Lucky Strikes—but he's also assuring men, women, and children that they're easy on the throat. WE TRUSTED YOU, SANTA!
It wasn't until 1964 that The Cigarette Advertising Code was created by the Tobacco companies, to curb ads like this. You know, ads showing underage boys holding cartons of cigarettes. Nice try, Mike, you're a terrible son.
Fun fact: the Micronite filter used from 1952 to 1956 contained asbestos! Actually, that fact isn't particularly fun at all.
While this 1970 Silva ad acknowledges that cigarettes are dangerous to your health, they also manage to sneak in that Silva Thins may help with weight loss. Nicotine is technically an appetite suppressant, but then there's that whole cancer thing...
From 1954 to 1999, Marlboro had the "Marlboro Man," a tough-as-nails cowboy who brought willing men to Marlboro Country. At this point, four Marlboro men have died. No word yet on if Marlboro Country is real.
I'm sorry, but any cigarette company that: a) suggests you should bring a trombone to the beach or b) allows the public to believe that the playing of a trombone by a chronic smoker is possible is inherently evil.
From 1987 to 1997, Joe Camel appeared in magazine advertisements, billboards, and other print media. In 1991, the New York Times published a piece linking the cartoon camel to underage smoking and, in 1997, Congress stepped up and ended the campaign once and for all.
Just one of many ads branding cigarettes as a relaxing activity. I don't know about you, but this 1969 Salem ad makes me want to wander into a field and spark up. Damn you, Salem!
True story, this ad actually contains the line: "She's been intrigued by the neat, white tip."