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Photos: History of tobacco health claims

The history of tobacco health claims

Today, we know that smoking kills. But it wasn’t so long ago that images of doctors, nurses and celebrities told us to light up. It was good for you, they said. These historical ads tell the story.

The history of tobacco health claims

The history of tobacco health claims

The history of tobacco health claims

Look closely at these ads. You won’t see a doctor’s name. That’s because all of the doctors were really actors. Advertising by real doctors was frowned on as unethical, SRITA says. “Unlike with celebrity and athlete endorsers, the doctors depicted were never specific individuals, because physicians who engaged in advertising would risk losing their license.”

The history of tobacco health claims

This ad was a rare exception. Dr. G. Edward Roehrig was indeed a real doctor, practicing initially in Chicago and later in Los Angeles. “Ironically, he died of lung cancer,” Jackler said.

The history of tobacco health claims

In the early 1900s, women began picking up smoking habits — and consequently, nurses were used to promote the benefits of particular cigarettes. That would soon become common in the world of tobacco advertising. This ad for Camel cigarettes was released in 1932.

The history of tobacco health claims

In this campaign, Viceroys attempted to assure the public that its brand wouldn’t stain teeth, giving the claim credibility by using an actor posing as a dentist.

The history of tobacco health claims

The use of celebrities, such as this ad with TV legend Ed Sullivan, was another common tactic to earn the public’s trust. Here, Sullivan says he has smoked the Chesterfield brand for 22 years.
Ad copy then offers some medical support: “A medical specialist is making regular bi-monthly examinations of a group of people from various walks of life. … No adverse effects on the nose, throat, and sinuses of the group smoking Chesterfields.”

The history of tobacco health claims

The history of tobacco health claims

Some cigarette companies were bold enough to state health benefits on their ads. Here, Marshall’s Cubeb cigarettes claim to be a “sure remedy” for asthma, nasal congestion and the common cold.

The history of tobacco health claims

Another series of ads claimed that smoking improved digestion. In this mid-1930s campaign, Camel said, “Using sensitive scientific apparatus, it is possible to measure accurately the increase in digestive fluids … that follows the enjoyment of Camel’s costlier tobaccos. The same studies demonstrate that an abundant flow of digestive fluids is important also to the enjoyment of food.”

The history of tobacco health claims

The history of tobacco health claims

Tobacco companies also capitalized on smoking’s tendency to reduce appetite. Many ads promoted the use of cigarettes as a tool for weight loss. Women were a prime target.

The history of tobacco health claims

The history of tobacco health claims

Categories:   Fitness & Health

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