Collection: Healthy Cigars
In the first half of the 20th century, tobacco companies were forthright with their health claims, featuring doctors hawking cigarettes or cigars in many of their ads. Consumers who saw these ads were made to feel that they would be following the doctor s orders to achieve health or fitness if they were to smoke the cigarettes advertised. Today, these nefarious health claims in tobacco ads are no longer so obvious; now, often words like pleasure or alive are keywords which indicate healthfulness. Doctors are no longer represented hawking cigarettes in ads, but the past audacity of tobacco companies is just as relevant in modern times.
At the time when many of these ads were printed, the public was worried about throat irritation due to smoking, and tobacco companies hoped that support from physicians would ease general concern. The none-too-subtle message was that if the doctor, with all his expertise, recommended a brand, then it must be safe.
In this theme, brands depict doctors hawking tobacco products in order to present the brand as healthful rather than harmful. An ad for Girard cigars has the image of a physician with a cigar in his hand accompanied by the following text, “Yes, I am a doctor. And I advise the smokers among my patients to smoke Girard cigars. In fact, I smoke them myself!..” The ad continues that the tobacco in Girard is “free from ill effects on the heart, the nerves or the digestion.” An ad by Thompson’s Mell-o-well has a physician recommending the brand of cigars to “any who are interested in regaining or keeping physical fitness.” It is ironic that in the process, they all manage to reveal the negative potential of tobacco by providing the consumer with the concept of an unhealthy cigarette or cigar in the first place.