50 Hilarious Vintage Cigarette Ads

by: Esteban On  Tuesday, June 19, 2012

vintage smoking ads

Everyone knows the dangers of smoking these days—even those who still light up. But this didn’t used to be the case. Back in the day, it was thought that cigarettes gave you a cough, leave you with some throat irritation, make you smell bad, and stained your teeth; people didn’t know about the whole lung cancer and emphysema thing. And of course, that made for some absolutely hilarious cigarette endorsements and advertisements. Various brands were marketed as the “official cigarette” of just about anyone and anything—doctors, reporters, scientists, house wives, college kids, you name it—and a number of major celebrities gave their official endorsements of this or that cigarette.

Anyway, the other day I happened across an old issue of Life magazine on sale at a thrift shop and came across one of these old cigarette advertisements, which inspired me to do this list. Hopefully you’ll get as big a kick out of these ridiculous things as I did.

50. Give dad Old Golds

#50 old golds cigarettes ad for dad on father's day

Awe, would you look at that. Even the cocker spaniel is giving Pop some Old Golds. What a thoughtful dog.

49. Cool Salem Guy

#49 salem cigarettes ad

Maybe because you’re just so much cooler than the rest of us, with your sweet polyester shirt.

48. Vantage = Success

#48 vantage cigarettes ad powerful successful women

Vantage: the official menthol cigarette of successful clothing designers everywhere.

47. Newport is Fresher

#47 newport cigarette ad fresher

Newports: they’re like a sailboat in your mouth.

46. For the Educated Smoker

#46 chesterfield cigarettes ad for the educated smoker

Nothing says “congratulations on your matriculation” like a box of cigarettes.
Well, a greeting cards says that, but that’s too literal. Nothing says it figuratively like a box of cigarettes.

45. Rock Hundson Smoked Camels

#45 rock hudson camel cigarette ad

Camels: the official cigarette of closeted gay men everywhere. (Yes, Rock Hudson was a closeted gay man—a famous Hollywood tough guy for years and years who tragically died of AIDS in 1985.)

44. The Fresh Nurse

#44 camel cigarettes ad fresh nurse

See, their secret to freshness is that high-tech cellophane wrapper. Plus, it’s nurse-approved, which is key.

43. No Scare Tactics for Old Gold

#43 old gold cigarette ad

These guys aren’t going to try to scare you by addressing the obvious health risks posed by cigarette smoking. That’s for other, more responsible companies to do.

42. Bob Hope Smoked Chesterfields

#42 bob-hope chesterfield cigarettes ad

Well gee whiz, Bob Hope lived into his 90s, so I guess his Chesterfields really were milder.

41. Feminists' Choice

#41 virginia slims cigarettes ad smokes for feminists

Hey, you’re right—I have come a long way. Thanks Virginia Slims! It’s like you know me.

40. She likes them long

#40 winston cigarettes ad longer is better

Super Kings: for ladies who like them long and tasty.

39. Won't Stain Your Teeth (As Much)

#39 viceroy cigarettes ad dentist recommended

This cleverly worded ad doesn’t say the cigarette won’t stain your teeth. It simply says the tar and nicotine that remains in the filter won’t stain your teeth–cause they’re in the filter. The rest of the tar and nicotine you suck into your mouth most certainly will stain your teeth.

38. Precisely 20,679 Doctors Agree

#38 Lucky Strike cigarette ad more doctors say less irritating

If they didn’t have those last 79 doctors, I don’t know if I would have believed them. As it is, this precise number really convinces me.

37. Fresh is healthy, right?

#38 camel cigarettes ad fresh doctor recommended

Obviously, just quitting smoking is out of the vacation. So smoke Camels—you won’t die as fast.

36. Scientific! Evidence!

#36 chesterfield cigarettes are good for you ad

This is great science right here. A group of people of indeterminate size was monitored for 10 whole months and nothing happened from smoking. Case closed, cigarettes are A-Okay.

35. Scientifically proven to be swell

#35 lucky strike cigarette ad marlena dietrich scientific proof

Was Marlene Dietrich a scientist? I’m confused.

34. Be like a scientist!

#34 kent cigarettes ad scientists smoke kent

Forty years from now, we’re going to look back at the advertising keywords of today (“green” and “natural”) the same way we look at all these ads appealing to “science” at every turn, thinking “man, people sure must have been stupid back then to fall for that.”

33. Lucky Strikes: Be Less Ugly!

#33 lucky strike cigarettes ad smoking diet for slender figure

Be less ugly! Smoke Lucky Strikes.

32. Mr. Tattoo Hand

#32 Marlboro Cigarettes ad 1955

Now that’s one fantastic hand tattoo.

31. Kiss Cigarettes

#31 kiss cigarettes ad

I don’t read Russian, but I gather that the idea here is that Kiss cigarettes will leave this cute girl’s mouth tasting like tasty ice cream instead of the more common ashtray.

30. Strangely Honest

#30 winston cigarettes ad 2

That’s correct, if Winston hadn’t gotten you addicted at the age of 14 to nicotine and that fuzzy feeling you light up when you light the day’s first cigarette, you wouldn’t be a smoker.

29. She's a Fighter

#29 tareyton cigarettes ad black eye

For some reason, this one just makes me automatically think domestic violence, even though it doesn’t explicitly suggest that. Maybe it’s because, as sexist as some of these ads are, it really wouldn’t be all that surprising. “Silly me! I tried to take one of my husband’s Tareytons!”

28. Broken Cigs

#28 benson & hedges cigarettes ad

Benson & Hedges had a whole campaign like this, featuring people with broken cigarettes in their mouths. Some of them made sense, others didn’t. As for this one, I guess the idea is that, when this woman was taking off her bikini top (like women do when they smoke cigarettes) she underestimated the length of her extra Benson & Hedges 100s.

It seems like there should be a sexual pun somewhere here, but I can’t think what that might be.

27. Distinct Contribution (To Cancer)

#27 lucky strike cigarettes ad distinct contribution

Surely August Heckschner of the Heckschner Foundation for Children and the Child Welfare Committee of America is trustworthy! After all, he’s not just any philanthropist. He’s a noted philanthropist.

26. Special Lady Cigarettes

#26 eve feminite cigarettes ad

Whoever came up with these cigarettes should have tried actually reading the bible. Eve is the one who took an item that wasn’t good for her, got her husband hooked on it, and ruined their lives forever. I don’t think you want to draw those comparisons to a dangerous product you’re trying to sell.

25. Dentist-Approved

#25 viceroy cigarettes ad dentist approved

Listen to your fake illustrated dentist and smoke Viceroys already.

24. Make Your Wedding Night Special

#24 chesterfield cigarettes ad packed with pleasure wedding night

You’re going to want an extra smooth cigarette after the first time you do it. Chesterfields: the official cigarette of losing your virginity.

23. Doctors Love Camels

#23 camel cigarettes ad more doctors smoke camels

The funny thing about all these ads featuring doctors telling you “these cigarettes are healthy” is that they all imply the obvious: these things are going to kill you. You only need to bring in the doctors to reassure people when they’re starting to get suspicious. (“Hmm, I wonder if this chronic cough could have something to do with the carcinogens I’m inhaling all day?”)

22. Gentle Like a Baby

#22 philip morris cigarette ad baby mother born gentle

Philip Morris cigarettes: gentle and innocent like your precious bundle of joy. Awwwwe.

21. Merry Christmas, Kids

#21 santa camel cigarettes ad

Merry Christmas, kids. Have a smoke.

20. College Smokes

#20 chesterfield cigarettes ad top-selling in america's colleges

Yeah, cool college kids. We’re up on our ABCs! (That’s what you study in college, right? The alphabet?)

19. Santa Gets Lucky

#19 lucky strike cigarettes - santa's choice

If you’re looking for an easy way to get your kids off the whole “Santa” thing, just show them this ad and then explain that, unfortunately, Santa died of emphysema.

18. Obey These Cute Babies

#18 marlboro cigarettes ad baby

Look, lady, even your baby wants you to smoke Marlboros. So just buy some already.

17. Mixed Message

#17 tiparillo cigarettes ad cleavage

She’s a modern woman with a career, but she’s also still a sex object used to sell cigarettes. Obviously Tiparillo was for the confused fence.

16. Random Word Clouds

#16 winston cigarettes ad

These word clouds don’t make any damn sense (aren’t the supposed to emanate from the person speaking?), so they kind of negate this ad’s attempt at being clever and erudite.

15. Rocket Scientist's Choice

#15 viceroy cigarettes ad the thinking man's cigarette

I bet this guy is thinking about that giant penis-shaped rocket there in the background.

14. What The Cool Kids Smoke

#14 greys cigarettes ad

Parenting Pro Tip: buy your kids’ love with booze and cigarettes.

13. Fact!

#13 camel cigarettes ad scietifically proven

According to this ad, science proves Camel cigarettes will give your girl more energy and, presumably, make her more likely to get busy with you.

Yay science!

12. Extra Long

#12 pall mall cigarettes ad extra long

Pall Mall Gold’s: impress her with your extra length.

11. Rap 'n Kent

#11 kent cigarettes ad rap 'n kent

Is it just me, or is the chick on the other end of the phone kind of, uh, not good-looking?

10. Flavor Country

#10 Marlboro_ad flavor country marlboro man

Back then they called the place where guys in chaps twirled lassos “Flavour Country.” Now they usually call it “Boys Town” or the “Gay Village.”

9. Naked Violinist

#9 tiparillo cigarettes ad naked woman violinist

Yeah, guys, offer  your penis—err, I mean, your Tiparillo—to a violinist and see what happens.

8. Badass Smokes

#8 newport cigarettes ad bold cold

Earlier we saw that Newports were the official cigarettes of sailors. Now we see they’re also the official cigarettes of cool cats with afros. So yeah, they’re all over the place.

7. Diet Smokes

#7 lucky strike cigarettes ad lose weight

Yes, Lucky Strike cigarettes will transform you from a tub of lard into an elite athlete. Because, you know, they’re f**king toasted.

6. Innuendo Much?

#6 tipalet cigarettes ad

Give her your what and watch her do huh?

5. What the hell?

Philip Morris ad

Is that bell hop a monkey? And anyway, what do monkey bell hops have to do with some secret ingredient that makes these cigarettes less irritating to your nose and throat?

Wait, is the secret ingredient ground up monkey bones?

4. Fire It Up!

#4 newport cigarettes ad cool hip black kids

Man, I wish I was a cool young black person helping my friend cheat at poker. Newports look so fun!

3. Ronnie's Choice

#3 Chesterfield cigarette ronald reagan

Ronald Reagan chimes in with a great holiday idea that’s pure class all the way: instead of regular Christmas cards, but a bunch of cartons of special edition Chesterfields and give everyone the gift of cancer.

2. Science!

#2 chesterfield cigarettes ad science made it better

But don’t believe us. Believe this microscope. It can literally see the lack of after-taste.

1. Blow in Her Face?

#1 tipalet cigarettes ad blow in her face

I don’t get it.