This exhibition is drawn entirely from the Center’s Children and Tobacco Collection, which consists of candy cigarette, cigar, and chewing tobacco products sold in sweets shops the world over throughout the 20th century; toy cigarette lighters and candy cigarette vending machines; vintage postcards depicting children smoking; magazine advertisements for cigarettes with images of children; anti-smoking propaganda from the late-19th century and early-20th century; and newspaper, magazine, and medical journal articles about the promotion and use of candy cigarettes in the US in the 1980s and 1990s. Many of the candy cigarette packs in the collection have brand names and packaging identical to real ones, including Camel, Chesterfield, Kool, Lucky Strike, Marlboro, Pall Mall, Philip Morris, Player’s, and Winston.

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 as 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.

Introduction – Kids Candy ‘n Cigarettes (2:39)

Kevin Bailey, MA
Collection Manager and Digital Archivist