Historical Cartoons on Smoking

  • Smoking has always been an easy target for cartoonists. The image of the billowing clouds of acrid smoke and black globs of chewing tobacco flying toward a rancid spittoon evoke tropes of filth, corruption, and deceit. So does a sketch of the fat cat political boss or indifferent factory owner chewing a cigar and lording over the working dregs of the society.
  • Anti-smoking cartoons have also been a staple of the cartoonist’s repertoire, featuring characters such as the busybody reformer chastising the public or the grim image of the reaper or other spirit of addiction claiming the souls and draining the life of the afflicted.

Thomas Nast
Harper’s Weekly, front cover
November 2, 1872

Clare Briggs
Old Gold advertising cartoon
The New Yorker, page 39

Parody of advertisement for Smoke magazine
MAD magazine, page 15
No date

Punch, page 35
January 30, 1869

Reuben “Rube” Goldberg
Circa 1929-1931

Reuben “Rube” Goldberg
Circa 1929-1931

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