Date: 1943
Brand: Chesterfield
Manufacturer: Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company
Campaign: Nurses
Theme: Doctors Smoking
Keywords: Female, Nurse, Military, Actor, Television, Movies, Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard, Veronica Lake
Quote: America Needs Nurses Enlist Now.

Comment: This ad fulfills three purposes: it recruits nurses for WWII (the top line reads: America needs nurses Enlist now ), it publicizes Paramount Pictures new feature film, So proudly We Hail, and, most obviously, it advertises Chesterfield cigarettes (the imagery and copy text for Chesterfields dominates over half of the ad). In fact, the patriotism masks the ad s true intent of marketing cigarettes. The film paid tribute to the nurses in the Pacific War; While trapped behind the enemy lines, three nurses struggled to keep their staff and patients safe and in high spirits. The ad features the three main characters from the film, glamorous actresses Claudette Colbert (1903-1996) as Lieutenant Janet Davy Davidson, Paulette Goddard (1910-1990) as Lieutenant Joan O Doul, and Veronica Lake (1922-1973) as Lieutenant Olivia D Arcy. Colbert ultimately passed away after suffering from a series of strokes, Goddard passed away from emphysema, and Lake passed away from hepatitis and renal failure due to alcoholism.


Along with doctors and dentists, nurses presented yet another health professional that had the potential to reassure consumers worried about the ill health effects of smoking. The none-too-subtle message was that if the nurse, with all of her expertise and her dedication to helping patients, chose to smoke a particular brand of cigarettes or even recommended a particular brand, then it must be safe.

As women began taking up the habit of smoking during the early 20th century, so did nurses in large numbers. It is interesting to note, however, that whereas the number of doctors who smoked plummeted drastically in the 1950s and 1960s when conclusive data linked smoking to lung cancer, smoking remained common among nurses. To this day, smoking is more prevalent among nurses than doctors in the United States. The Nurses Health Study shows that 8.4% of nurses smoked in 2003, whereas comparable data from 2005 from the Association of Medical Colleges reveals that only 1% of doctors smoke (1).

1. Nurses Health Study shows nurses smoke more than doctors. Nursing Times. 26 Nov 2008. .

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