Cartoonists Take Up Smoking Logo Square
Divide Line Narrow


In 1993, Bill Clinton proclaimed himself the first anti-smoking President.  First Lady Hillary Clinton made the White House smoke-free. The tobacco industry’s staunchest advocate in Congress from 1973 to 2003 was North Carolina Republican Senator Jesse Helms, who helped stymie most legislative efforts to strengthen regulations on tobacco products. In the House of Representatives, Richmond, Virginia Representative Thomas Bliley, who served from 1980 to 2001, was known as the Congressman from Philip Morris. California Democratic Representative Henry Waxman, who served from 1975 to 2015, and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, who served from 1962 to 2009, were two of the only elected officials who included tobacco control among their top issues.

Cigarette manufacturers have long been major contributors to both the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as to the pet charities of legislators, such as Kansas Republican Senator Bob Dole’s Foundation for Employment of People with Disabilities. During his 1996 presidential campaign, Dole famously downplayed the dangers of smoking. “We know it’s [tobacco] not good for kids,” he said, “but a lot of other things aren’t good…Some would say milk’s not good.”

Divide Line Narrow
Herblock Cartoon Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 1

“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

Herb Block (1909-2001) of The Washington Post
The Miami Herald
December 10, 1977

Herblock Cartoon They Keep Talking About Life Death 1

“They keep talking about life and death—we’ve got money at stake here!”

Herb Block (1909-2001)
The Washington Post
January 12, 1979

Smith Cartoon Clinton Big Tobacco CEO 1

“Having been impeached for lying, Bill Clinton embarks on another career”

Mike Smith
Las Vegas Sun
September 27, 1998

Wuerker Cartoon Bob Dole to Joe Camel 1

“[Republican presidential candidate Senator Bob Dole:] Using tobacco isn’t necessarily addictive!”

Matt Wuerker

“It’s not about the stupid old plant to me. It’s about the insanity of advertising and marketing, the evil genius of Joe Camel. Just imagine what could be accomplished by shifting the billions of bucks we spend pushing cigarettes to a campaign for a ‘Robbie-get-off-my-lard-ass-and-get-some-damn-exercise-Racoon’ or a “Skinny Eddie-ditch-the-junk-food-Squirrel.’”

— Matt Wuerker

MacKay Cartoon Tobacco Cash Cow 2

“[Nourishing and milking the tobacco cash cow]”

Graeme MacKay
The Hamilton Spectator (Ontario)
November 24, 1999

“This cartoon shows both the Prime Minister and the Finance minister of Canada stroking and nourishing the tobacco cow as it is being milked for its precious revenues. Meanwhile, it’s the Health Minister of the day whose role is to brand the great money maker as dangerous to the health of Canadians.”

— Graeme MacKay

Holbert Cartoon Barack Obama 1

“Enough is enough! This regime is imposing its murderous, brutal agenda on its own people! It’s time to bring them down!”
“He’s finally being tough with Iran?”
“He’s talkin’ about tobacco companies.”

Jerry Holbert
The Boston Herald
July 2, 2009

“OK, I give up—WHO are you, Rush Limbaugh or Bill Clinton?”

Comic strip by Jim Berry
Houston Post
April 26, 1995

“A funny thing happened to me one time. I had created a couple of anti-smoking cartoons, and I got a call from Dr. Luther Terry, the Surgeon General, who asked me whether I’d like to illustrate a book he was working on. He invited me to come down to the University of Pennsylvania. We discussed the project and then went over to the faculty dining room. After we finished lunch, he pulled out a pipe and smoked it! I’d quit smoking around that time because I wanted to be a role model for my two sons. Incidentally, the book deal never went through.”

–Jim Berry (1932-2015)

Quebec Premier Rene Levesque

Terry Mosher (“Aislin”)
The Gazette (Montreal)

Cuba President Fidel Castro

Daryl Cagle
Circa 2000

“[Maylor Michael Bloomberg:] Smoke Police, Freeze!!! Throw down your cigarettes and put your hands in the air”

Sean Delonas
The New York Post

Divide Line Narrow

© Copyright - The Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society