Cartoonists Take Up Smoking Logo Square
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  • In the decade leading up to the debut of “Cartoonists Take Up Smoking” at the 2004 annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, efforts to pass clean indoor air laws, raise cigarette taxes, curb tobacco advertising and sports sponsorship, and sue the tobacco industry made front-page news almost every week. the nation’s 130 newspaper editorial cartoonists had a field day. But collecting these cartoons and the headlines that inspired them meant my having to pore over dozens of newspapers every week at libraries and at the handful of once-thriving magazine and out-of-town-newspaper like Hotalings in New York City and SuperStand in Houston, as well as at bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. Following the Master Settlement Agreement in 1998 between the state attorneys general and the tobacco industry, coverage of anti-smoking activism and the tobacco industry’s circumvention of restrictions on cigarette marketing began receiving less coverage in the mass media, and by the mid-2000s, print newspapers and magazines themselves were losing ground to the internet as a source of news and opinion. Most newspaper editorial cartoonists lost their jobs (there are fewer than 40 such full-time individuals today, but many have continued as syndicated cartoonists online, primarily via Cagle Cartoons ( This gallery of 6 cartoons is selected from more than 200 tobacco-related cartoons identified on Cagle Cartoons since the mid-2000s. The Center thanks Daryl Cagle and Brian Fair for their dedication to promoting the work of the nation’s editorial cartoonists. Alan Blum, MD
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“SMOKE  Your children’s health depends on it.”

Nate Beeler
The Columbus Dispatch
October 15, 2007

[After the climax to “Casablanca”}
“[FDA:] ‘Okay, now I can pretend to regulate you.’
[Tobacco industry:] “And I can go back to pretending I’m not killing anyone….I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!”

John Darkow
June 15, 2009

“California smoker paying the current 87-cent-per-pack tax”
“California smoker paying the proposed $2.87 cent-per-pack tax”

Monte Wolverton
December 3, 2014

“We won’t be able to buy cigarettes on the base”
“Hazard to your health.”

Dave Granlund
October 10, 2014

“Child, when you get stopped 1) Don’t run, 2) Don’t put your hands in your pocket, 3) Don’t jaywalk 4) Don’t sell cigarettes illegally 5) Don’t ride around with a broken taillight…”

Bruce Plante
The Tulsa World
April 9, 2015

“[Anti-facemasker reacting to sign saying No Smoking at gas pumps:] ‘Nobody limits my freedom! And I don’t believe in the science of explosions'”

Mike Thompson
USA Today
April 8, 2021

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