Youth Anti-Smoking Propaganda
By the mid-19th century, temperance organizations such as the American Anti-Tobacco Society, the Consolidated Anti-Cigarette League, and The Women’s Christian Temperance Union campaigned against smoking. Pillars of American industry Henry Ford and Thomas Edison pledged to refuse to hire men who smoked (unless no others were available), and Ford published illustrated tracts on the dangers of smoking. School children were encouraged to sign anti-tobacco pledges.
Vintage Advertisements and Illustrations
In the late 19th century elegant sweets shops in Europe and the U.S. began selling chocolate treats wrapped in paper and packaged in boxes resembling those of genuine cigarettes. By the 1950s the Philadelphia Bubble Gum Corporation of Havertown, Pennsylvania, was nationally distributing a line of bubble-gum cigarettes with no fewer than eight brand names identical to the real ones – Camel, L&M, Lucky Strike, Marlboro, Pall Mall, Salem,Viceroy, and Winston – all in packages virtually indistinguishable from those of their tobacco-containing namesakes.
Cigarette manufacturers turned a blind eye to the use of their brands by candy-makers. Although the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health criticized candy cigarette makers for “trying to lure youngsters to the smoking habit,” the sale of these products to children went unchallenged until the 1980s when pressure and adverse publicity generated by organizations such as DOC (Doctors Ought to Care) led tobacco companies to protect their cigarette brands from being used by candy companies. 25 nations have since banned the sale of candy cigarettes. In the U.S., Maine and Tennessee do not permit the sale of candy cigarettes.
These examples of packs of candy cigarettes include one for Winston from around 1960–not long after RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company introduced its signature filtered cigarette brand. The other packs were manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s. The smaller packs, usually containing five candy cigarette sticks made from corn starch, were often handed out as Halloween treats.
Candy Cigarette Cards
In the late 19th century, stiff paper cards were included in cigarette packages to keep the cigarettes from being crushed. They served an added purpose as a marketing tool. Images of baseball players, actors and actresses, military heroes, elected officials, and pretty women were featured on the cards, and consumers were encouraged to collect entire sets. These cards with images of United States military aircraft from World War II were in packages of Peco candy cigarettes sold during the 1940s.
Cigarette Brands in Video Games
In the 1980s anti-smoking advocate Dr. Rick Richards, president of Doctors Ought to Care, led the effort to expose and remove cigarette advertisements embedded in video arcade games such as Super Monaco GP. These games simulated the televised Formula One, Indy Car, and NASCAR races during which viewers were exposed to near-continuous cigarette brand logos on billboards, racecars, and uniforms—upwards of 5000 times in a single 90-minute national telecast of the 1989 Meadowlands Grand Prix (which was also advertised as the Marlboro Grand Prix by cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris)—in violation of the ban on cigarette advertising on TV [Blum A: The Marlboro Grand Prix: Circumvention of the Television Ban on Tobacco Advertising. New England Journal of Medicine 1991; 324:913-917.]
Cigarette commercials were seen by children day and night on TV until Congress banned them after 1971. Tobacco advertisers circumvented the ad ban by sponsoring sporting events that were televised, with cigarette billboards placed in stadiums that they could be seen on TV. Auto racing not only featured billboards but drivers’ uniforms, helmets, and cars with the same colors as popular cigarette brands. By the 1980s, video games were becoming extremely popular among children, and video game arcades became teenage hangouts where they could play such games a Pole Position and Super Monaco GP. This exhibition features an interview with Dr. Rick Richards, who was instrumental in getting cigarette brand logos out of video games.