Collection: For Digestion Sake
From 1936-1937, and then occasionally in 1938 and in 1939, Camel ran the “For your digestion’s sake, smoke Camels” campaign, which insisted that Camels helped speed digestion by increasing alkalinity – perhaps the strangest health claim in all of tobacco advertising history. The digestion advertisements employed an array of techniques, ranging from celebrity and athlete testimonial to youth appeal through a claim to “modernity.” Claims like “They never get on your nerves” and “They are gentle on your throat” implied that other cigarettes produced these negative side effects, but that Camels were different. Camel claimed to have based its digestion “facts” on studies conducted by Dr. A.L. Winsor of the Graduate School of Education at Cornell University. By 1951, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a cease-and-desist order prohibiting R.J. Reynolds from portraying Camels as aiding “digestion in any respect” (1). In the same FTC report, the FTC ruled that “smoking cannot be considered under any circumstances as beneficial to any of the bodily systems.” Considering that the digestion advertisements hadn’t run for over a decade, the FTC mandate might be seen as too little too late.
1. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. FTC, 192 F.2d 535 7th Cir. 1951