54 Vintage Tobacco Ads

But remember, kids, smoking kills.

So these days the only smoking adverts you’re likely to see are graphic lung cancer warnings on cigarette packets. But it wasn’t always like that. Back in the day, everyone from Santa to Bill Crosby was advertising them. Herewith, our pick of the best:

54. 2000

1 x creepy baby.

53. 1997

So apparently very literal jokes were cool in the late ’90s.

52. 1993

Check out all the double negatives flying around in the Surgeon General’s Warning in the bottom left hand corner.

51. 1992

Two things:
1. I fear that camel.
2. What is a Surgeon General?

50. 1985

So ’80s cigarette ads had a Ralph Lauren vibe.

49. 1983

And they were quite misogynistic.

48. 1974

Featuring: a very pensive female companion.

47. 1973

“They’re not for everyone, but they could be for you.”
It’s honest, at least.

46. 1972

Remember the Marlboro man? He was awesome.

45. 1970

Kent smokes. That’s where it’s at. End of. No discussion. There’s no arguing with that kind of logic.

44. 1969

And smoking is a… spring thing?

43. 1967

Out of smoking and not smoking, it feels like this chick’s made the wrong decision.

42. 1967

Ah, boobs and Beethoven. A classic combo.

41. 1963

Grammatically, this one’s… interesting.

40. 1961

Because “neat and clean” are such excellent criteria for things. For what? You know, things.

39. 1955

This guy knows how women work.
Hint: it’s via blowing in faces.

38. 1955

But who is Philip Morris?

37. 1955

Oh, he’s the naturally gentle and mild guy. Obvs.

36. 1952

Um, OK.

35. 1952

Ah, the famous cigarette hangover. Thank God everyone’s favorite gentle and mild bro has sorted that one out.

34. 1952

No bits in the mouth. Mmmm… delish.

33. 1951

It makes me really sad that Santa’s smoking, but I’m pleased he’s guarded against throat-scratch.

32. 1951


31. 1951

Ah, the microscope. A classic cigarette inspection tool.

30. 1951

A cheeky bit of wishbone-based advertising.

29. 1950

Yeah, because more people smoke them, they’re cool. Didn’t your Mom ever teach you that following the crowd is cool?

28. 1950

Is it just me, or is the festive scene entirely unrelated to the cigarettes?

27. 1950

You know WORLD-FAMOUS STARS? You should just do what they do.

26. 1949

Heeeeey, the WORLD-FAMOUS STARS are back.

25. 1946

So, I’m curious. How did they know what doctors were smoking?

24. 1946

A cigarette-themed acrostic. Lovely.

23. 1944

So what they’re saying is this: “Yes, we’re expensive. Yes, you’ll be able to find cheaper cigarettes. But just take our word for it and believe that our cigarettes are worth it. Please?”

22. 1942

This is oddly phallic.

21. 1941

A cheerful wartime bros pic.

20. 1940

Bold claims from a man who appears to be trying to rhyme “mile” and “Camel” with little success.

19. 1939

And some lies from this chick.

18. 1939

A clothing-cigarette combo deal. Two birds with one stone, and all that. Sure.

17. 1938

Kind to your throat. Can’t argue with that.

16. 1937

Hate to break it to you, but skiing and smoking won’t work.

15. 1936

No, Santa. Stop it. Now.

14. 1936

So I imagine the brainstorming meeting for this advert went something like this:
“Hey guys, we need to think outside the box here.”
“How about we use a sinister cartoon penguin and give him a bow and arrow.”
“Yes, a bird and archery combination is exactly what we need.”

13. 1936

I don’t think the respiratory system = the digestive system. Soz.

12. 1935

She’s not my best friend.

11. 1935

And neither is she.

10. 1930

Physicians: the obvious authority when it comes to smoking.

9. 1930

RE the “slender figure” thing, is it just me who thinks they could have chosen a slimmer guy?

8. 1930

Some strong Math going on in this one. 9/10.

7. 1929

“So if you had to say one thing about the men, what would it be?”
“They know a good smoke.”
“Let’s stick that on an advert.”

6. 1927

I like lady with a lamp.

5. 1920

There’s something you’ll like. We can’t tell you what. But there is.

4. 1920

This flapper knows the aromas she likes.

3. 1911

Using a creepy picture of a red-haired child doesn’t feel like an obvious way to advertise smoking, but sure.

2. 1900

One for the smokers who like their tobacco imported by children in a canoe.

1. 1900

And a fat man to round it all off.

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