Old cig ad: What to smoke when you're expecting

One more M-Day Vintage Ad: a Philip Morris piece from a 1956 Saturday Evening Post celebrating its new packaging by inviting an association between cuddling a newborn and smoking.

There's a good case to be made for tobacco companies as the original sinners of corporatism, with their development of this kind of advertising, not to mention their key contributions to self-serving junk science. There's a (dotted, convoluted) line joining up the MMR scare, climate denialism, and this industry's Mad Men, sentimental illustrators, and tame scientists.

In earlier days...


    1. If, in the future, those wacky scientist boffins decide that smoking *is* bad for babies then it will just tell us that rotten old Satan was behind cigarettes after all.

  1. Dr. Spaceman (30 Rock): Your baby’s lungs need refreshing nicotine for science reasons and its growing bones need tar to hold them together.

  2. It’s hard to wean a baby when he’s used to breast milk with nicotine and scotch, but he will be the only toddler singing Sinatra tunes.

    1. You’re forgetting that this was also the era during which (white, middle class) women were encouraged to use scientifically-designed formula to feed their babies instead of that icky natural stuff.

    1. In fact, doctors are arguing for new baby growth charts because the current ones were designed during this time period, when babies were underweight at birth due to prenatal smoking and drinking.

      If this baby were really a product of the times, s/he would have to be at least a couple of months old to be that big and filled-out.

  3. Well, that could have been me – even the year is right – though mom smoked Luckies and drank vodka martinis.  A year later pregnant women started calming themselves with thalidomide, so I reckon this baby – like me – was lucky.

  4. All the talk I’d heard of flavor and toasted tobacco and whatnot while growing up made cigarettes terribly disappointing when I first tried them. I was expecting something ambrosial, a sort of sweet clotted cream mixed with tasty cereal, but for for my lungs.

  5. A good case? What, ignoring the history of both of the East India companies? The British one had a private armiy, PR flacks preaching Orientalism, undue influence over one country and another as a wholly-owned subsidiary, and yes, sponsored the still-bafflingly-popular junk sciences of social Darwinism and trickle-down economics.

    They’re both worth reading about, though, if you’re curious about what a corporation is built for.

  6. I remember way back when they thought Marijuana was bad for you.  Now they remembered its a potent panacea or medicine for everything thats been used for hundreds of generations with little side effects.  Far less than Cigarettes and nearly any pills prescribed today,  even less than coffee. ***holy anointing oil*** literally.

    Legalize the profit away from the cartels and street dealers.  Too many people want it for too many reasons.

    1. Uh, heads up – I can tell you after smoking the shit (admittedly with tobacco) for twenty years, it doesn’t do you too many favours.

      Sure, it has a few benefits, but calling it a panacea and saying it’s not bad for you is pretty overblown and fanciful.

      1. (admittedly with tobacco)

        Hey bro, I ate Cheerios for breakfast for twenty years (admittedly with arsenic instead of milk) and let me tell you, that shit doesn’t do you too many favors

        1. As far as I can tell the tobacco makes it so much worse because of addiction and cancer, but leaving that aside and assuming a psychological dependency in place of the nicotine addiction, my comment stands.

          Pretty sure the myriad subtle and not-so-subtle drawbacks I speak of are barely dependent on the nicotine/THC interaction, if at all.

  7. See how the woman has the pronounced angularity of a fashion model?

    I’m guessing the tobacco sleazebags were playing on the “smoking will help keep your weight down” axiom.

  8. Austria has not yet banned smoking in bars, Cafes and restaurants… (though there are non-smoking areas). Visiting Vienna a couple of weeks back was a real back in time culture shock for this UK citizen – especially seeing the cute toddler crawling around next to his parents spending the afternoon in the smoking section of the cafe. Also odd to see on the street cigarette machines with advertising on them…

    (Austrians are have many forward looking ideas, are civilised and pleasant and live in a great place, so while their lack of a smoking ban now seems odd to me, I’m not going to take them to task over it).

    1. Technically, only very small restaurants/cafes/bars in Austria can allow smoking on their entire premises. Once they pass a certain threshold they have to have separate smoking and non-smoking sections that have to be essentially isolated from each other and ventilated appropriately.

      Now the problem is this: many (most?) people who frequent bars and cafes are smokers which caused a gigantic backlash from the general population against these measures. In bars that have a non-smoking area, the smoking area will invariably be the one that’s ‘fun’ to be in with all the cool people and much of the entertainment to be had. Also, the typical Viennese cafe culture features smoking as a rather important element.

      Opponents of a general ban on smoking often point to Ireland and Italy where this has led to a significant decrease in business for bars, pubs and the like (don’t know if this is true). At this point I’m not really sure what Austria’s government can do; any party that bans smoking in bars and cafes outright pretty much guarantees that it will be gone after the next election. This is very much an issue of personal freedom vs. government intervention. Unfortunately. Austrians aren’t quite as happy as Britons to be told what to do by their government.

      Now, before you declare Austrians horribly backwards (I might agree though, they _are_ kinda weird ;-)), look no further than Japan which is arguably quite advanced and yet only has at most voluntary smoking bans in some restaurants. There’s a rigorous ban on smoking on the street in densely populated urban areas though, which is quite nice.

  9. Viewed with our modern eyes, we can see that swaddled infant desperately grabbing his mother, begging “MOM! Light UP! I need a HIT!” 

  10. This is outrageous, but similar dis and misinformation by mega-corporations abounds today.  Watch the latest ad campaign from exxon-mobil on PBS implying that they are leading the effort for more funding for education, while at the same time receiving taxpayer subsidies and tax code loop-holes which virtually exempt them from contributing to the tax base.  During this ‘global economic crisis’ they have several times reported staggering, record profits while education and all social programs are collapsing.  The propaganda disinfo being disseminated today is part of the divide and get away with anything philosophy of the 1%.

  11. Philip Morris and a bottle of Maker’s Mark and you’ll have yourself some fine babies.

  12. All the little kids that protested breathing in Mommy’s cigarette smoke in the car, only to be met with the response, “Breathe deep, Junior, 9 out of 10 doctors KNOW that cigarettes are good for you, what the hell was wrong with that 10th doctor with the tinfoil hat!”

    Nine out of ten doctors know that the government and/or corporations never resort to propaganda to make unsafe products and technology seem safe!

    The government told Howard Hughs that it was safe to film “The Conqueror” downwind from an above-ground nuclear test site, those must be “Atoms for Peace”, they wouldn’t hurt you!
    (wikipedia: a place to start, not finish your research.)

    Which type of fallacy is that? An appeal to authority fallacy? A Black or White Fallacy? When you think that you have all the evidence, but you don’t. Sometimes things are so “obvious”, they’re obviously wrong.

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