1970: Cigarette Promoting Is Banned By Congress

1970s | April 1, 2021

Lillian Eggers, tv queen of 1940, promoting for cigarettes in Philadelphia. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone through Getty Pictures)

It is no joke. Till 1971, tobacco firms ran commercials for cigarettes on tv and radio. At the moment, slightly below 50% of the U.S. inhabitants smoked regardless of mounting proof that it was detrimental to 1’s well being, largely as a result of the cigarette advertisements of the period made smoking appear fairly cool. Because of the ban on cigarette commercials, attitudes about smoking have come a good distance, child.

Huge Tobacco’s Huge Enterprise

In 1969, the tobacco trade was the one largest product advertiser on radio and tv. Each model had its personal, properly, model: Marlboro promoted their cigarettes utilizing the Marlboro Man, a rugged, all-American cowboy who oozed masculinity; Virginia Slims appealed to the modern woman with photos of the horny, impartial life-style she craved; and Camel advertisements, that includes the Joe Camel character, gave off a hip beatnik vibe. Cigarette firms even sponsored tv and radio exhibits within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties. Fortunate Strikes had super success with this type of advertising and marketing, typically focusing on ladies who feared gaining weight with the slogan “Brought to you by Fortunate Strikes: Attain for a Fortunate as a substitute of a candy.”

Tobacco firms sponsored events and touted endorsements of their very own, most infamously Camel. In 1946, they gave free cartons of cigarettes to medical doctors after which requested them which model they most well-liked. Naturally, the overwhelming majority named Camel, permitting the corporate to say in a series of ads that “Extra medical doctors smoke Camels than another cigarettes.” Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, Barbara Stanwyck, Hank Aaron, Frank Gifford, Joe DiMaggio, and Frank Sinatra all appeared in cigarette advertisements. 

True Cigarettes industrial from 1971. (YouTube)

The Public Well being Cigarette Smoking Act

In the meantime, medical doctors and scientists had been piecing collectively the hyperlink between tobacco and illness way back to 1939. The general public was slowly turning into conscious of the unhealthy uncomfortable side effects of smoking, although that did not drastically cut back the variety of people who smoked. By the Nineteen Fifties, each state within the nation handed legal guidelines to ban the sale of cigarettes to minors, however they might nonetheless simply get them from a merchandising machine or by telling the clerk they have been shopping for them for a mum or dad.

Beginning in 1967, within the face of rising issues about smoking, the Federal Communications Fee carried out a “equity doctrine” requiring all tv stations to air one anti-smoking public service announcement for each three cigarette commercials they aired. Smoking charges started to say no, however to maintain the pattern going, Congress handed the Cigarette Smoking Act in 1969, requiring cigarette producers to position the surgeon normal’s warning concerning the dangers of smoking on each pack of cigarettes. Tobacco firms have been livid, however public well being advocates nonetheless felt officers weren’t going far sufficient, so President Richard Nixon, himself a routine pipe smoker, reluctantly signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1970, banning cigarette commercials on T.V. and radio.

The final televised cigarette advert. (YouTube)

The Final Televised Cigarette Advert

Though Nixon signed the Public Well being Cigarette Smoking Act on April 1, 1970, it did not go into impact instantly. It was deliberate to take impact on the primary day of the next yr, however the authorities and the F.C.C. agreed to offer tobacco firms yet one more day to promote in the course of the faculty soccer video games that historically happen on New Yr’s Day.

The final cigarette industrial aired at 11:50 P.M. on January 2, 1971, throughout The Tonight Present Starring Johnny Carson. It was a Virginia Slims ad that includes a choir of prim middle-aged ladies singing that girls should not vote or smoke, all whereas surreptitiously puffing away on their Virginia Slims, adopted by a younger, engaging mannequin strutting to the model’s “You’ve got Come A Lengthy Method, Child” jingle (and, in fact, puffing her personal cigarette). 

Banning cigarette advertisements on radio and tv was a extremely efficient technique for reducing the share of people who smoke in the USA. Between 1965 and 1975, the quantity dropped almost 10% and continued at a tempo of about 10% each 20 years via 2015. At present, lower than 12% of People smoke cigarettes.

Tags: advertisements | cigarettes | law

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Karen Harris


Karen left the world of educational, quitting her job as a university professor to put in writing full-time. She spends her days together with her firefighter husband and 4 daughters on a pastime farm with an assortment of animals, together with a goat named Atticus, a turkey named Gravy, and a rooster named Chickaletta.

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