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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.
  • Satirical magazines such as Ballyhoo and MAD Magazine were rife with parodies of smoking advertisements and the social faux pas of smoking, especially when tobacco was in the headlines such as after the release of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking Health in 1964 and the litigations surrounding the Master Settlement Agreement in the 1990s.
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1869 01 30 Punch Nicotina Cartoon 1

Sancta Nicotina Consolatrix, The Poor Man’s Friend

Punch
January 30, 1869

1919 Satterfield Cartoon Reformer 1

Next?

Satterfield
1919

1872 11 02 Harpers Weekly Nast Cartoon Save Me From My Tobacco Partner 1

Save Me From My Tobacco Partner

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

Swell Struggling with the Cigarette Poisoner

Cartoon
Punch
September 23, 1882

1927 The New Yorker Not A Cough in a Car Load 1

Clare Briggs
Old Gold advertising cartoon
The New Yorker, page 39
1927

1913 10 18 Sat Eve Post Cartoonists for Tuxedo 1

The Men Who Put the Fun Into Your Life

Advertisement
Tuxedo
The American Tobacco Company
Saturday Evening Post
October 18, 1913

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n.d. Goldberg Cartoon Lucky Strike 1

Reuben “Rube” Goldberg
Circa 1929-1931

n.d. Goldberg Cartoon Professor Butts 1

Reuben “Rube” Goldberg
Circa 1929-1931

The Ancient Order of the Glass House

Postcard
Reuben “Rube” Goldberg
1914

1948 Sat Eve Post Rube Goldberg for Lucky Strike 1

A Few Words of Humor … Rube Goldberg

Advertisement
Lucky Strike
American Tobacco Company
1948

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Ballyhoo

First published in 1931 Ballyhoo featured one-off cartoons of a scandalous of humourous nature, and parody articles and advertisements. The humor magazine became so popular (reaching a circulation of two million readers) it began to attract actual advertisers. The editors of Ballyhoo had been reluctant at first to accept advertisements but insisted that any placed ads in the magazine would need to meet the satirical style of the fake advertisements. As a result, many of the real advertisements became indistinguishable from the send-ups.

Ballyhoo would discontinue publication in 1939, with two efforts to restart the publication between 1948 and 1954. Ballyhoo‘s spiritual successor would be MAD Magazine, which would adopt Ballyhoo’s magazine-style format the year before Ballyhoo went out of print for the last time in 1954.

For The Occasion Smoker

Parody
Ballyhoo
October, 1931

Hesterfield

Parody
Ballyhoo
November, 1931

Snarlboro

Parody
Ballyhoo
December, 1931

Cream of the Crop

Advertisement
Lucky Strike
American Tobacco Company
1932

Cream of the Crap

Parody
Ballyhoo
January, 1932

Scremo Cigars

Parody
Ballyhoo
December, 1931

“Ducky Wuckies are the Nerts”

Parody
Ballyhoo
January, 1932

Snarlboro

Parody
Ballyhoo
February, 1932

Old Gold’s Pledge to Contestants

Advertisement
P. Lorillard Company
May, 1937

Old Gold Contest

Letter
P. Lorillard Company
May, 1937

Old Colds

Parody
Ballyhoo
July, 1932

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MAD Magazine

Founded in 1952 as a comic book published by Entertaining Comics, and in 1955 MAD became a satirical magazine with an erratic publication schedule between 4 and 7 times a year. Like its predecessor, Ballyhoo, MAD did not take advertising during much of its run which allowed the magazine free reign to satirize products including tobacco. MAD Magazine also used its parodies to take on the tobacco issue with scathing sendups like “Six Minutes Looks at Smoking” (a take on Sixty Minutes) and MAD Interviews The Tobacco Executive Of The Year (A parody of Forrest Gump).

MAD Magazine was a significant influence on the style and humor employed by Doctors Ought to Care in its counter advertising campaigns against the tobacco industry.

You Would Be One Of My Top Choices For A Nobel Prize In Medicine

Letter
Alan Blum To William M Gaines Publisher Mad Magazine
October 29, 1985

Mad Magazine Had Been An Inspiration For My Own Approach To Tackling The Smoking And Drug Abuse Pandemic Among Adolescents

Letter
Alan Blum To William M Gaines Publisher Mad Magazine
April 24, 1985

Men of America The Skid-Row Bums

Parody
MAD Magazine
1959

Parliamatch

Parody
MAD Magazine
October, 1959

Some MAD Devices For Safer Smoking

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
December, 1964

Why Not Warnings On All Packages

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
December, 1964

The MAD Non-Smokers Hate Book

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
July, 1971

The Great Cigarette Filter Tip War

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
June, 1964

The Tobacco Industry

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
Undated

When You’re Dying For A Cigarette

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
1968

Six Minutes Looks At Smoking

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
January, 1990

n.d. Mad Magazine Smoke Mag. Ad Parody

Choke Magazine

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
September, 1990

The Only Doctor I Know Who Still Smokes

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
March, 1990

Some Straight Talk About Selling Cigarettes To A Hostile Public

Parody
Billy Doherty
MAD Magazine
Summer, 1991

MAD Interviews The Tobacco Executive Of The Year

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
December, 1995

The Tomb Of The Unknown Smoker

Parody
MAD Magazine
August, 1995

Cancer Of The Hump

Poster
MAD Magazine
August, 1995

The Tobacco Industry’s Secret Marketing Plans For Attracting Young Smokers

Cartoon
MAD Magazine
November, 1996

Cigar Addictionado

Parody
MAD Magazine
June, 1998

Only A True Cigar Lover

Parody
MAD Magazine
June, 1998

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