It used to be improper for women to smoke, but a single PR stunt changed all that. In 1929, women were hired to light up while marching in a parade, calling the cigarettes “Torches of Freedom.” So smoking became a symbol of equal rights, and sales skyrocketed.
The stunt was pulled by Edward Bernays (nephew of Sigmund Freud), who is known as the godfather of Public Relations (he even coined that term, because his original word ‘Propaganda’ was getting a bad rap)
Bernays is also credited with making bacon & eggs into breakfast foods, convincing the public that fluoridated tap water was safe, and helping the CIA/United Fruit Company get away with overthrowing the Guatemalan government (which was democratically-elected).
Smokers who quit before 40 were found to live just as long as non-smokers. The average smoker who doesn’t stop will lose 10 years on their life. A smoker who stops between the age of 35 and 40 can regain 9 of those years. Older smokers gained back 6 of those years.
Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko started smoking at the age of 9. He died after only 13 months in office, the third Soviet leader to die during Reagan’s presidency. When informed, Reagan remarked, “How am I supposed to get anyplace with the Russians if they keep dying on me?”
Today is Respect for the Aged Day in Japan. Japan Tobacco has long celebrated the day by giving senior citizens each ten packs of cigarettes.
Winston Churchill had an oxygen mask made for him for flying in high altitude airplanes during WWII that was customized to allow him to smoke cigars through a hole in the mask.
In China, cigarette companies are allowed to sponsor schools, with slogans like “Genius comes from hard work. Tobacco helps you become talented.”
Pantone 448 C, the “world’s ugliest color” according to research, is used by many European countries on their tobacco products to dissuade people from smoking.
Lorillard Tobacco Company used to hand out Newport cigarettes to black children in playgrounds.
To get women to smoke cigarettes in the 1920s, tobacco companies devised a campaign of equating cigarettes as “torches of freedom.” The campaign helped women smoking jump from 5% in 1923 to 18.1% in 1935.
In 1994 the CEOs of the seven biggest tobacco firms testified before Congress that “nicotine was not addictive” despite overwhelming scientific evidence.