Collection: Guard Your Throat
When the general public began to grow more concerned about the ill effects of smoking in the first half of the twentieth century, the tobacco industry worked intensively on its advertising copy in order to reassure smokers as to the healthfulness and safety of cigarettes. The audacity of the industry was such that industry powerhouses weren’t satisfied with simply denying health concerns. Instead, they actually claimed health benefits. Brand X, Y, or Z claimed its cigarettes were “good for the throat,” provided “extra protection,” or could be smoked as a “prevention” against throat illness. Across the board, tobacco brands touted these ludicrous, false health claims.
The primary health concerns presented in the advertisements in the first half of the twentieth century revolved around non-fatal conditions like coughing and throat irritation. This approach served to lessen any fear regarding serious health concerns by choosing to instead concentrate on the less frightening side effects of smoking. For these ads, Big Tobacco employed an advertising technique known as “problem-solution” advertising; the advertisement provides the problem (coughing due to smoking, for example), as well as the solution (smoke brand X). Of course, the “solution” is deceptive, and many companies were ordered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to discontinue printing certain advertisements. However, it wasn’t until 1938 that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was officially granted the power to regulate advertising that was “unfair or deceptive” to consumers. Before that time, the FTC regulated advertisements insofar as they would harm competitors rather than consumers . The 1940s and 1950s saw great strides in regulation on health claims, but it also saw quick-witted tobacco companies able to alter a word here or there in order to avoid regulation. Tobacco companies claimed throat protection well into the 1950s.