The Days of Sexy Cigarettes

Elegant women, strong cowboys, powerful executives, and Fred Flintstone smoked. Shouldn’t that make you want to, too?

Cigarette ads once ran as frequently as alcohol ads run today. Today we see a voluptuous woman ordering a Disarono at a male-packed bar or a seemingly over-worked CEO kicking it on the beach with a freshly-cracked Corona, but not too long ago similar ads were run to encourage smoking. Although cigarette advertising seems in the not-so-distant past, taking a look at the ads themselves seems surprisingly shocking as we now live in a world that slaps “SMOKING KILLS” and pictures of black lungs on the packs themselves. Take a peek into the University of California, San Francisco Tobacco Industry Videos Collection to recall the days.

  • Phillip Morris sponsored I Love Lucy which scored them a pitch from Lucille Ball herself. “Don’t say cigarette! Say Phillip Morris,” Lucy exclaims to Ricky.
  • Similarly, Winston sponsored The Flintstones. The pitch comes in the form of a “Winston break” Fred and Barney take while their wives run around doing housework.
  • Pouncing on the untapped market of female smokers, Virginia Slims was always known as the woman’s cigarette. Here, it is marketed as empowering: “You’ve come a long way, baby. You’ve got your own cigarette now, baby.”
  • Marlboro, on the other hand, is the man’s cigarette. Out in Marlboro Country, this cigarette is perfect for the rugged cowboy who can wrangle wild stallions.
  • Wild horses were apparently quite the draw for male smokers. Mustang had a similar campaign, including the slogan, “If you think it would take wild horses to make you change, you’re right! You’re ready for Mustang!”
  • This Newport ad is a great example of the jingles and and songs used in all kind of cigarette ads.
  • In a much different approach, this ad shows the good people behind the tobacco and pipe industry, reaching for feelings of community and patriotism through the business of tobacco.
  • To hearken back some more, check out the UCSF Tobacco Industry Audio Recordings Collection and visit their homepage.

    –Cara Binder

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    93 thoughts on “The Days of Sexy Cigarettes

      1. Christopher Hitchens

        You are a Fool & a Tool.
        ALL the money raised/confiscated from
        the “BIG TOBACCO” settelments goes to balance State Budgets and
        not “The People”–you idiot.

        Go back to your hippie commune in 1970 and smoke dope, while OTHER
        people WORK and are independant. You are not safe “on your own” in the REAL world

    1. k.d.

      We really haven’t come very far since cig ads were banned. Look at all the hard liquor ads on TV now, especially during sporting events.

      1. Jon

        It is laughable to try to equate alcohol and tobacco. Liquor is not harmful when used in moderation, in fact it is actually health enhancing. The abuse of alcohol is not on par with the residual effects of the chemical and particulate damage inflicted by tobacco use.

    2. Ryan B

      I agree with k.d. We will not have come far enough until every aspect of every person’s life is looked over by the government.

    3. Doug

      In the event the USA truely has a government of the people, by the people for the people. Wouldn’t we simply be looking over ourselves?

    4. Sam

      I once wrote a whole college paper, basically entirely on this collection. Thanks, these are great!

      1. WARPIGG

        From the looks of your name, I’m guessing you enjoy smoking….baloney poles, that is!!!

    5. Nathan

      A government by the people and for the people, hmmmm.
      Too bad that a large part of these people’s decisions are based on what the government, amongst others, feeds the people every darn day.
      Besides that, a lot of people I met while living in the USA haven’t got a real clue of what’s happening in their own country and are totally clueless to what is happening in other countries and these two combined, to my humble opinion, does not contribute to form an objective decision comes election day. In other words, I see it more as a government by the government and for the government (as most governemnts are, democracy is a farce)

      As you all seem to have access to the internet, I’d say, educate yourselves, read foreign news once in a while.

      1. Jon

        Having lived in the US mos of my life as well as having lived in Europe, Asia and Central America, I can say that inhabitants of the US, while clueless for the most part about their own politics, are no more or less ignorant than those in other countries. People around the world are largely ignorant of politics in their own naitons and moreso regarding other nations, the only people educated in politics are those who work in political circles and a few poltical “junkies” on the outside of government, but they are few and far between…in all countries.

        1. Ryan B.

          Unfortunately I’m one of those political junkees as you call them. The saddest part of the whole equation is that when I try to explain the core of the issues people think I’m nutts. They trust in the media to tell them how to think.

      2. bob

        sorry Jon you lose this one, he’s got a good point and your objective banter isn’t going to sway any votes you putz. ha ha

      3. Ray

        I must agree with you there, pal ! While I do not live in the USA, (I live in another English-speaking country) I have worked there and visited much of the country. Ask the average guy in the street an average current events question, and he/she is stymied. Jay Leno’s jaywalk is the best example of the sheer ignorance of the US population of anything happening in their own world let alone in a foreign country. The US government is leading its citizens down a very ruinous past and the population cares not a whit. America, the greatest country in the world is heading to the same fate as the great civilizations of history, like the Greeks, the Romans, and even further back. In 50 years, or even less, Americans will wonder how their country became third-rate. Americans need to engage themselves now, if this slide off the world stage is to be halted at all.

        1. Ray

          Sorry, Bob… I meant for my reply to be for Jon. I’m agreeing with Jon, not you. I repeat, Americans need to get involved in their country now. Obama has been the best thing to happen to the country and very few appear to realize that his vision and “social” legislation can and will change the USA, if the people would allow him another term.

      1. Christopher Hitchens

        smoking of CIGARETTES you mean?

        You represent the vast MORON Majority of this country. That See
        1 thing as BAD..and then applies this shallow-uninformed thinking to ALL THINGS.

        Cigarettes in the US are 4% tobacco…CIGARS are 100%.

        Get a brain for yourself and stop blamming OTHERS for not taking care of your fat-mama’s boy-azz.

    6. Ryan B

      If the people in the U.S. woke up 90% of congress would be replaced in the next couple of elections and we would see a a president elected from a third party.
      I do read forein news and its just as skewed as it is in the U.S. The real problem is sheeple, no matter the news source you have to use your head and ask what the source’s agenda is.

    7. torcelli

      Where is, alas, the right of smokers to enjoy the pleasure of sexy cigarettes. Women used to look sexy when holding a cigar, and men looked powerful and arrogant, too.
      Besides, who speaks on behalf of the tobacco workers, mainly families who make their living with tobacco industry?

      What if they (smokers)decide to live altogether in a caribbean island?

    8. Cedric Solidon

      Let me just add that before focusing on the male market, Marlboro was seen as a cigarette brand for women.

      Thus, the Marlboro Man and Marlboro Country were created to change that image.

    9. me

      There is almost nothing sexier. Unfortunately, there is also nothing stupider.

      It is a shame that it is addictive.

      More then likely wouldn’t be seen as attractive, if it wasn’t in some way a vice. Kind of like, an empty headed, emotionally preturbed, histronic actress.

    10. matt

      i liked the chesterfield ads they used to play on dragnet (1950s)

      they used to have a doctor in the ads that would say that after 6 months of smoking chesterfields resulted in no ear , nose or throat problems.

      pretty amusing.

    11. Matthew Stone

      I say smoke up! It’s my right as an American to kill myself if I wish. All you do-gooders and nosy nellies can bite it and bite it hard. I’m sick and tired of all these healthy lifestyle movements and 24 hour workout joints. Give me a steaming hot pot of java and a carton of luckys any day!

      1. drew

        Yeah, until somebody you love dies from tobacco, you may continue your selfish habit without guilt. I can’t.

        1. WARPIGG

          Fuck you Drew! Right on Matthew! I’m sick of people telling me what is good for me.
          Just you busy-bodies wait until some faceless official decides that what you enkoy should ne banned.

      2. Ray

        Mathew and warpigg are the same type of people who also won’t wear their seat belts, ‘Cause it’s their god given right to splatter their brains on their windshield in their own cars, if they want to ! Do you NEVER consider your fellow man, man?

    12. Puck 30

      I quit in 1998, It was easy. I just looked at how much money my cigs were taxed by the state & fed.

    13. takeanotherhit

      Smoke all you want. Just don’t foul my air. Reasonable? Of course. Just not to any of the millions of jerk smokers who light up wherever they please. What to do? Ban smoking since smokers are A-holes who have no respect for others.

      1. WARPIGG

        Who made it your air, douchbag? Maybe I don’t want to lok at your ugly mug…can I ban your face?

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    16. meekpoet

      Nothing good about my smoking anymore other than staving off nicotine fits. Been trying to quit since 1983 so don’t remind me it’s addictive. I always wondered something. Did the Marlboro Man ever drop a hot spark on his horse and what happened? Smoking is a communist plot. Joe McCarthy was snuffed out before he could tell us.

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    18. George W. Bush

      Smoking is obnoxious and the people who do it are usually arrogant, pushy, and love to violate nonsmoking rules put in place by their superiors. Cigarettes make people sick not to mention that they are addictive. You guys can shoot the shxt all you want. How many of you have lung cancer now? Every time I go to the doctor the nurse asks me if I am a smoker? Duh, wonder why?

      1. WARPIGG


        1. Ray

          This is the type of well thought out, logically reasoned, and supremely articulated opinions that make this site such a great place. You, dude, are another reason America is going down a dark shxt hole. Heaven forbid somebody should tell you what is healthy for you and what is not. You, sir, embody the “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality of many of your countrymen.

      2. diane harrington

        George W. Bush // March 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Reply

        Smoking is obnoxious and the people who do it are usually arrogant, pushy, and love to violate nonsmoking rules put in place by their

        superiors. Cigarettes make people sick not to mention that they are addictive. You guys can shoot the shxt all you want. How many of you

        have lung cancer now? Every time I go to the doctor the nurse asks me if I am a smoker? Duh, wonder why?

        Dear George,
        “Smoking is obnoxious and the people who” Don’t DO it are usually arrogant, pushy, and just plain assholeish! You like to create a scene.

        That’s ok with me, you people just over do it though. Like you think you are better, except your heads and mouths are bobbling. We can

        tell. Do you actually believe we like spending our hard earned money, or our shortness of breath, or like smelling of cig smoke just to

        aggravate you? I would hope not. I could think of a million other ways to aggravate a person, people, or nonsmokers like YOU!

        And then bobblehead, you continue on to say “and love to violate nonsmoking rules put in place by their superiors”. Who do YOU
        think YOU are? My superior? HA! Too funny! You obviously think you are “Superman”? Spiderman, Tarzan, Mighty Mouse, Casper the

        Ghost, Maybe a Super Male/Mail Genie from a Bottle Found in Space that has gone Postal, Santa Claus, you are getting the message by

        now “Will Rogers”….. LOL

        I quit for 6 years of my life. I am 51. It’s very hard to quit. I did in 1979, by substituting POT! Yes good old weed! When you could buy

        a quarter pound (4 ounces) for roughly 30 to 35 bucks. I worked a full time job plus overtime when available. I eventually got tired of

        weed and simply quit! Pot wasn’t addictive to me, but got me off the cigs! Also they don’t give scripts for cigarettes these days, but they

        do for weed! And I mean good weed! When I smoked weed I had to do it very concealed, due to the ignorant laws they have on POT!
        There is so much tax money to be made there. Alcohol is legal. Where is that getting us? It’s getting us killed is that answer. So is

        cigarettes! I do agree with you about cigs, but you think in your mind you are superior? Well, if that floats your small mind boat, then it

        just does!
        How many times do you go to a doctor, by the way? I can imagine a lot! Sounds like a LOT! And I also feel and can tell it’s just not your

        regular “Family Practitioner”,
        You are seeing several shrinks. By the way you started your comment, we can ALL tell you have deeper problems. I feel bad for you. We

        as smokers know cigs are addictive! Duh, I wonder why they don’t/can’t remember why they have to ask you as you claim, if you are a

        smoker? They have your records, maybe you should change to other doctors? “Know what I mean Vern”?
        Sincerely, mscandh

    19. Raife

      I am so tired of both sides of the damn issue….. i am a former smoker so I understand the sentiment about it being your right….. I also understand the sentiment of the non smoker….. but here’s the problem….. as I see it….. Smoking was targeted as the popular “Evil” so politians could have something to tax that wouldn’t cause a massive uproar in the masses…. So here’s a novel idea let’s get rid of all sales taxes…. have a straight 20% income tax… no loopholes no returns 2% to local gov 3% to county gov 4% to state Gov and 11% to Fed… No deductions no exemptions same applies to all bussiness earnings and interest earned on savings accounts.

    20. cigarettes

      Funny now all of this is coming to an end if not already. With the new Pact act coming into effect. It seems that anything at all regarding tobacco is going to be illegal. Strange isn’t it?

    21. sikiş

      Anyone who still smoke these days is a total moron in my opinion. However it’s everyone’s right to be a moron if they really want it.

    22. Laurel L. Russwurm

      Anyone remember the British supermarionation kids adventure series Thunderbirds? As in “Thunderbirds are Go!”
      (don’t count the pathetic movie “remake”). I loved it when I was a kid, action and cool machines, and a space station. Well, in case you don’t remember it, the people characters were marionettes — wooden puppets. I bought the dvd set for my kid and guess what: everybody smokes.

    23. geovanne

      eu não entendi muito bem por eu não falo e não interpreto a lingua postada, mas posso deixar uma dica, vcs bem que poderiam colocar o texto traduzido!!

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