Date: 1940
Brand: Web Image
Manufacturer: McClures Magazine
Campaign: Nurses
Theme: Doctors Smoking
Keywords: Female, Male, Nurse, Military
Quote: Help her fill a pipe for Sammy!

Comment: This ad encourages Americans to donate funds to the Our Boys in France Tobacco Fund, one of many tobacco funds for World War I soldiers. In 1917, the New York Times listed the Our Boys in France Tobacco Fund alongside the Belgian Soldier s Tobacco Fund and the Evening Sun Tobacco Fund as war charities with satisfactory accounts. By the next year, an article in the New York Times quoted a woman in charge of An Army Girl s Transport Tobacco Fund as saying that there are hundreds of patriotic American societies, clubs, and individuals who are raising funds for smoke comforts of our soldiers. Clearly, funds like this were common, speaking to the widespread prevalence and apparent acceptance of smoking. This particular ad portrays smoking as a healing tool, as the injured soldier, unable to use his broken arm, looks up with appreciation at the nurse lighting his pipe.


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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