Big Tobacco in the Big Apple

How New York City Became the Heart of the Tobacco Industry
…and Anti Smoking Activism

Minority Arts Groups

Gene Borio on Judith Jamison’s, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe, advocating against NYC’s Smoking Ban on behalf of Philip Morris (0:31)

“During Bloomberg’s administration, when he was going for a 100% smoking ban, Philip Morris told its fundees to go down to City Hall and to argue against the smoking ban. And Judith Jamison, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe, took it upon herself to go downtown, got to City Hall, and argued against a smoking ban in favor of her funder, Philip Morris.”


“They speak your language”

Philip Morris magazine advertisement for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which it sponsored

“The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 30th Anniversary Tour is sponsored by Philip Morris Companies Inc.”

Newspaper advertisement

“Black publishers condemn efforts for tobacco ad ban”

United States Tobacco and Candy Journal, page 3
April 24-May 14, 1986

“Hallelujah! Black art makes a joyful noise to all the land”

Magazine advertisement for Philip Morris-sponsored art exhibition

“Benson & Hedges Blues Tonight 8pm”

Beacon Theatre marquee
Photograph by Alan Blum, MD

“Soar into the future”

Philip Morris magazine advertisement for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

“Benson & Hedges Blues”

Philip Morris magazine advertisement for blues concerts it sponsored

“Together at Last”

Newspaper advertisement for Philip Morris-sponsored exhibition, “The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920-1970”

“Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater”

Philip Morris advertising card for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater


Explore Culture, Tobacco and NYC with the Links Below

Or use the navigation bar to visit other sections of the Exhibition

Lucy color ad for Philip Morris 1953
Grease cover
precious legacy
the vatican collections
1986 Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Ad Sponsor PM 1
inside the whitney at pm

▼ Visit our Exhibitions on Art, Culture, and Tobacco with the links below ▼ 

Museum Malignancy - Tobacco Industry Sponsorship of the Arts

Museum Malignancy: Tobacco Sponsorship of the Arts, explores the ways in which Philip Morris has integrated arts sponsorship into its cigarette marketing and corporate image-burnishing. It also illustrates how art museums in particular have been willing partners in this effort.  Lastly, it highlights examples of activists and artists who have mocked or shamed leaders of museums for accepting tobacco industry sponsorship money. (Click Here)

Creativity in cigarette marketing reached its zenith in the 1980s when advertising agency owner and art collector Charles Saatchi thought of an entirely new kind of campaign to promote the brand Silk Cut. Inspired by the slashed canvases and punctured metal sculptures of artist Lucio Fontana, the visual puns for the words “silk cut” made it the best-selling cigarette brand in the UK. (Click Here)

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