New York Library . Historic Cigarette Ads

The New York Public Library is featuring an art and advertising exhibition detailing the tactics of cigarette advertising throughout the past decades.

The creation was thought up by Dr. Robert Jackler, a dean at Stanford University, after his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.  He explores the rational and reasoning behind stifling real smoking studies of that time, (money,) and how the cigarette manufactures reach extended cart blanche into every aspect of media, including the Sunday funnies.

Having grown up in the 80s, (with non-smoking parents thankfully,) our opinions were certainly more forward thinking.  As a result I tend to see these ads as kitschy and hilarious, however the N.Y. Times describes the work of copywriters and the accompanying photos as disturbing and flabbergasting.

“They used images of doctors to reassure the public, but these characters came right out of central casting and only looked like doctors,” said Dr. Jackler.  “The medical profession didn’t complain, because the ads made doctors appear noble. And the public were taken in by the ads, because if a doctor smokes, it must be ok.”

“Not A Cough In A Carload: Images Used by Tobacco Companies to Hide the Hazards of Smoking” is on show at the N.Y. Public Library from October 7 to December 26, 2008

NYPL Site with details, and even if you don’t see this personally on the road – the NY Times article has a slideshow of select ads worth checking out.

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