Monday, March 19, 2012

Thanks Mad Men, Cough Cough

When Christopher Columbus reached the Bahamas on his cruise in 1492, he received a gift of dried tobacco leaves.  Not knowing what they were, he threw them away.  We know Chris was not the brightest bulb … after all, he thought he was in Asia.

By 1600, Queen Elizabeth and her boyfriend Sir Walter Raleigh smoked away as they squinted at their maps and planned domination of the world.

Eighty years later, Massachusetts and Philadelphia passed no smoking laws because of the fire danger.  The laws prohibited smoking outdoors.  Cough cough.

Recognition of the down side of tobacco use grew until there were vigorous anti-smoking movements in 43 of the then 45 states.  I think we can assume Virginia was not one of the 43.

Dum ♪ Dum ♪ Dum ♪ Dum ♪

Enter the Mad Men in the 1930's.  The first print advertisement for cigarettes appeared in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

By 1940, adult Americans were smoking 2,558 cigarettes per capita per year … twice the amount of 1930. By 1975, the number had almost doubled again.

But wait.  It gets worse.

·       Kent claimed their 'micronite filter' offered "the greatest health protection in cigarette history."  It was made of asbestos.

·       Lucky Strike, Chesterfield and Camels all promoted the health benefits of their brands using actors dressed as physicians in white lab coats to spin the yarn.

·       Brown & Williamson claimed Kools provided protection from the common cold.

·       Worst of all was this ………………….

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em.

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