Big Tobacco in the Big Apple

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

P. Lorillard Tobacco Company


From Snuff to Dancing Cigarettes (0:52)

The P. Lorillard Tobacco Company is the nation’s longest continuous manufacturer of tobacco products. It began by manufacturing snuff at the snuff mill that is now part of the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. Pierre Lorillard is said to have been New York’s first millionaire. By the 20th century Old Gold cigarettes, the flagship brand of Lorillard, was a leading sponsor of radio and had tremendous advertisements in magazines and newspapers, it even had its own Lorillard’s Magazine. But the height of Old Gold’s popularity came with the advent of television when Dennis James would host “Chance of a Lifetime” and promote the dancing cigarette packs of Old Golds. The famous slogan was light an Old Gold for a treat instead of a treatment thus recognizing the early reports of the adverse health effects of cigarette smoking.

The Mysterious Disappearing 1981 New York Botanical Garden Conference on Tobacco (5:02)

Coming Soon

“The crowning taste treat of all king size cigarettes”

Video clip of Old Gold in-studio advertisement featuring two performers in cigarette pack costumes

Lorillard Snuff Mill NY Botanical Garden Description Correspondence Resize 60

“The Old Lorillard Mill In Bronx Park, N. Y. City, We are proceeding with the conversion of the Mill into a public restaurant and a meeting place for civic, fraternal and similar organizations.”

Lorillard’s Magazine

Tobacco: Use, Abuse, Substitutes, Marketing and Clinical Effects

Program for a canceled conference on tobacco
New York Botanical Garden
June 14, 1981


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