Week #5 part 1: Heather Bieber

When Cigarettes Were Good For You

Over the years, there has been a secret deception in America causing confusion about the true effects of one of the world’s greatest killers — CIGARETTES. Between 1920 and 1960 these ads were used all over to allure and evoke the idea of smoking. There were over hundreds of ads in magazines, posters, and even commercials that doctors would endorse.

Why though, would doctors openly support smoking if at the time there was research unveiling its negative effects? They were paid off. Cigarette companies put millions into artists and copywriters to create the illusion of grandeur in a statement like “You need never feel over-smoked’, or “more doctors smoke camel than any other cigarette’. The lawsuits of cigarette manufacturers emerged after the first reports of cigarettes causing cancer in the 1950’s. They consisted of “negligent manufacture, product liability, negligent advertising, fraud, and violation of state consumer protection‘.

Tobacco companies waged back war, making statements against the lawsuits like “tobacco is not harmful to smokers’, “smoker’s cancer is caused by other things’, and “smokers assume the risk of cancer when they smoke’. Finally, by the 1990s, the lawsuits gained overall success. This is mostly because documents were leaked from some tobacco companies stating they were aware of the addictive components of smoking. However, the first big win for a plaintiff against a tobacco company did not occur until the year 2000, when a smoker with inoperable lung cancer was paid 51.5 million.

It was by 1998 that tobacco companies started to agree to settle state cases and stop engaging in false advertising practices. They also started to pay states for health care compensation, which will soon total over 200 billion dollars. Thankfully today, tobacco companies are in agreement about warning against the health effects of smoking, and we can all look back and laugh at the days they had us fooled.


Cited Sources

Elliott, Stuart. “When Doctors, and Even Santa, Endorsed Tobacco.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Oct. 2008. Web. 04 Aug. 2015.

Michon, Kathleen, J.D. “Tobacco Litigation: History & Recent Developments.” NOLO: Law for All. NOLO, 2008. Web. 4 Aug. 2015.

Pictures: https://images.google.com/oldcigaretteads

Song: Mildred Bailey’s “Cigarette and a Silhouette’