Date: 1931
Brand: Mell-o-Well Cigars
Manufacturer: Thompson & Co., Inc.
Campaign: Cigars
Keywords: Male, Doctor, Healthy, Nicotine, Medicinal
Quote: Why our Physicians call our new brand a 'Health Cigar'. I recommend Thomson's Mell-o-well cigars to any who are interested in regaining or keeping physical fitness. I am convinced that irritatnsm such as nicotines, glycerides, albuminoids and carbons- dangerous when used to excess by those who are physically below par- are largely removed from Thompson's... Signed by G. Edward Roehrig, M.D.

Comment: This ad prints a testimonial from Dr. G. Edward Roehrig (1865-1938), stating that irritants, such as nicotines, glycerides, albuminoids and carbons have been largely removed from Mell-o-Well cigars, making them his first choice in recommendation to his patients. Dr. Roehrig was a prominent physician in the Los Angeles area and was president and organizer of L.A. s Zoological Society. He passed away from lung cancer at the age of 73, providing this advertisement with a haunting message.


Cigars are often advertised directly to men, and, indeed, are represented as highly masculinized and often genteel. An ad from the Cigar Institute of America in 1963, for example, lets men know that if they wear a cigar, they will look smart. Masculinity is sometimes approached through sexualization of the cigar, as in the Don Diegos ad from the 1990s featuring a woman sucking on a cigar or the Celesitino Vega ad from the same period, which features a Hawaiian surfer posing at the beach with a giant, phallic surfboard painted to resemble a cigar. Other times, masculinity is portrayed through a more reserved route, as in the 1950s ad from the Cigar Institute of America, which claims that In the eyes of his own family, every father is a success. And the father who knows cigars knows a very special kind of success. The family unit and the fatherly figure are referenced often in cigar ads.

In addition, cigars are seen as a means to celebrate. An ad for Antonio y Cleopatra cigars says, When a moment is worth remembering enjoy a cigar that s hard to forget. In the same vein, pink or blue candy cigars are often given to a new father to celebrate the birth of a child.

Beyond these approaches, many cigar ads focus on throat ease, since unlike cigarette smoke, cigar smoke cannot be inhaled due to its high alkalinity. Though these ads advertise health benefits for cigar smoking Girard says its smoke is mild, so doctors recommend it, and Mell-O-Well calls its smoke the health cigar -- cigar smoking is associated with higher incidences of oral cancers than cigarette smoking, and nicotine is absorbed in higher levels as well. Still, and ad for White Owl cigars tells you to switch to cigars or pipes when you can t give up smoking. The main reason? No need to inhale. Most misleading, perhaps, is a 1964 ad from the Cigar Institute of America, which proclaims, incorrectly, Cigar smokers start young and stay young!

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