Two questions re pr-1964 smoking health hazard awareness

I’m not arguing caffeine is vad like tobacco: more like our current attitude may be analogous. Like, someone asked why, if people thought cigarettes were innocuous, were they forbidden to children? I think caffeine fits that description.

I probably should have narrowed the analogy to energy drinks, though. They definitely have the same “bad, but edgy cool bad” vibe.

When considering what children should consume I’d agree caffeine and energy drinks are a concern. How we perceive their affect on our own health as adults making our own choices to use or abstain is not surprisingly a different attitude than we apply to our children’s health. Clearly certain substances can have worse long term effects on children than adults, but even if not a parents concern for a child’s health should be much more cautious than the concern for their own health.

Sure. Its just someone said “if they didn’t think cigarettes were bad, why did they keep them from kids?”

My point is that you can think of something as bad enough to keep away feom kids but not so bad that you are a fool for indulging.

If you look up pictures of newsboys from around 1900 (who were child laborers), they routinely smoked. These were kids who worked out of necessity due to their poverty.

So I think we can surmise that smoking by children was associated with a poorer, lower class element. Nevertheless, it wasn’t quite the scandal as it would be today if we saw a kid, aged 8 or 9, selling some wares with a cig hanging out of his mouth.

Different feelings existed in different times.

Cigarettes were at first considered effete compared to cigars, pipes, and snuff. But they were also more convenient, and one could roll their own easily. In frontier areas or during wartime their ease of procurement and use won out. They got popular during the Civil War and then revitalized by WWII, again because of convenience.

Kids could emulate adults with cigarettes or faux cigarettes. Lighting up a weed with a fuzzy end didn’t draw smoke into the lungs but looked cool. The bad boy in every children’s book was trying to tempt the good hero not into alcohol or sex but smoking. A newspaper search found candy shops selling candy cigarettes back to 1889.

If grown-ups thought smoking was part of being grown-up and kids imitated them as soon as possible, then the smoking habit would be almost impossible to overthrow. People say that nicotine is harder to kick than heroin. Whether strictly true or not, anything in America society associated with being adult, on top, strong, and both anti-authority as a kid and the expected thing as an adult plus being addictive will make not doing it a pariah activity, as much as teetotaling.

Therefore it doesn’t surprise me much that anti-smoking - tobacco - campaigns only finally started working in the 1960s, when being as different from your parents as possible suddenly became a norm.

"Wingate was strongly against smoking, and at one time proposed to eliminate cigarettes from the ration: he was dissuaded from doing less by the pleas of the smokers (headed by Fergusson) than by the difficulties of extracting the cigarettes from the cartons in which the rations were already packed. i believe that the presence of cigarettes in the ration saved men’s lives: it was noticeable that the smoker felt less hungry than the non-smoker, and non-smokers took to native tobacco to stave it off …I used to allow any man to smoke at any time. If your men are so under-trained as not to be competent to judge when it is safe or otherwise to smoke, it is time you went out of business as a commander of guerilla troops. If a man was guilty of what we called ‘non-tactical smoking’, he was forbidden to smoke for a month. In two years I only had two cases. " Bernard Fergusson, The Wild Green Earth

He was. But he was pretty upset about the health of relatives and others being murdered by the Nazis, also.

Almost everyone knew it was bad, they were called “coffin nails” since late 1800’s. But not that they caused lung cancer. Big Tobacco knew at least as early as 1953 that smoking was a cause of lung cancer, but suppressed it.

However, Cig smoking (the most deadly) wasn’t all that common until ww2, so people would not see the relationship until the early 50’s. The first surge in smoking occurred due to the Spanish Flu epidemic, since chaw and thus spitting was considered a cause of it. Before that, men smoked pipes or especially cigars, and did smokeless. Those were sometimes shown to be a cause of mouth cancer,

Cig smoking peaked in the 60’s, and has been dropping steadily since the late 70’s.

True. My Dad said the same thing, and he traded until he got hooked.

I suggest “The Golden Holocaust” by Robert Proctor.

Theodore Roosevelt was a sickly child who suffered from asthma. It was actually a reason why he later embraced physical activity (what he dubbed “the strenuous life”) once he grew up.

When he was a kid (he was born in 1858) one “treatment” was to have him smoke a cigar. I guess the coughing fits were presumed to be helping.

It’s only an anecdote, but it does reflect that there was sometimes a warped positive view of childhood smoking.

I don’t know if the OP has seen this recent thread, but it’s not too far off the same topic:

It’s hard to find good data on that. This paper, Cigarette Smoking Behavior in the United States, shows cigarette usage soaring starting in 1940, with the period from 1945 to 1965 at peak.

But it also shows cigarettes with steep growth continually from 1910 to 1930, a slight drop at the beginning of the Depression, and then an almost vertical curve until 1940.

The paper credits the steep growth to the marketing of cigarettes to women in the 1930s, especially the Lucky Strikes “Reach for a Lucky instead of a Sweet” campaign.

I don’t doubt that WWII increased smoking. When it became “common” is something people can have nice long arguments about.

Yes, as I said "The first surge in smoking occurred due to the Spanish Flu epidemic, since chaw and thus spitting was considered a cause of it. Before that, men smoked pipes or especially cigars, and did smokeless. "

Starring around then, there was a long and fairly constant climb up.

Try “The Golden Holocaust” by Robert Proctor.

An article published in 1921 , quoting british Surgeon Sir James Cantile … ( He thought tea and coffee were poisonous even worse than tobacco though, just an example of how people could turn things around to say it was even good… prevents caffiene addiction, geeze thats one steep slippery slope that caffiene addiction… probably because he treated palpitations as a sign of imminent heart attack. Or had some info on the failure of caffiene as a treatment for someone with heart disease…

Cigarettes, he said, stained the lungs in the same way as they stained the fingers. A man who constantly smoked cigarettes became ‘leather lunged’ and short winded.

I remember candy cigarettes being handed out as prizes at my grade school carnival. The box held four, they were peppermint flavored and stained pink at one end to simulate the cherry.

I remember those candy cigarettes back in the 60’s - there were probably a dozen or more in a cigarette-pack-looking box but were about half the size of real cigarettes, white candy with a red tip. But then one form or licorice was shaped like a pipe with red sprinkles to simulate the burning tobacco. It was considered “cute” I guess, but when over half of men smoked, it wasn’t a scandal.

Children were told “smoking stunts your growth”.

I wonder if it was less of an issue back then, because (as one doctor said about prostate cancer on Frankie and Grace ) “The good news is something else will probably kill you first.” Cancer has only become a major fear over the last half-century as so many other killers have been controlled. We have better medicine for surviving heart attacks; childhood killers like polio are gone (theoretically). We have antibiotics and other treatments against common killers of the elderly. Both my great uncles and my one grandfather died in their 60’s from weakened hearts due to scarlet fever; the other grandfather also had a heart attack in his 60’s. My father and uncles lasted into their 90’s. (None smoked)

Back in the day cancer was a minor risk among many things that could kill you, some like contagious diseases, not easily avoided. As the risk from other issues diminished and people lasted longer - so more likely to develop cancer from bad habits - it has become a more prominent killer.

While looking for something else I stumbled across Sponsor magazine, a trade mag for radio and television advertising in the early 50s. Things were both very different and incredibly the same back then.

Anyway, the December 17, 1951 issue had an article titled “Is today’s rash of cigarette claims harmful to all advertising?”

Apparently, cigarette companies had discovered negative advertising and were blasting one another by name. The gist of the ads was that X brand wasn’t healthy even though they claimed it was.

"The public was barraged with a mumbo-jumbo of chemical terms, percentages, bar graphs, medical reports, irritation tests, and the inevitable white-clad physician peering somberly through a microscope. An industry bon mot was, “Nowadays you’ve got to quote either the American Medical Journal or Reader’s Digest.” (The Digest was anti-smoking. A year later, according to an online article “A widely read article in Reader’s Digest in 1952, “Cancer by the Carton,” contributed to the largest drop in cigarette consumption since the Depression.”)

A spokesman for Philip Morris said, “What most concerns us is that 2,000,000 people converted to Philip Morris because of our hardsell ‘nose test’. It works. In a way, smokers, are like drunkards; they have a guilt feeling about the habit. So you have to sell them on the idea that the cigarette you offer them is less harmful than others.”

If cigarette companies concentrated their advertising on this subject, several conclusions follow. The big one is that smokers knew that the habit could be unhealthy generally but were easily persuaded that their individual habit wasn’t as bad, so they didn’t have to think about it.

The companies introduced filter-tipped cigarettes to the broad audience in 1954, giving another reassuring pat on the back. It took another decade for the anti forces to gather around the Surgeon General’s Report of Jan. 11, 1964.

Candy cigarettes are still available. If you heard they were banned it only resulted in removing the word “cigarette” from the package. They may not be readily recognizable to children who haven’t seen their parents or anyone smoking on TV, but for anyone exposed to smoking it’s obvious what they are meant to look like. It’s a good sign to see they are uncommon now.

I’ve always been partial to “lung dart” myself.

(never been a smoker, I should mention)

Oh, so that’s why they call 'em “darts” on Letterkenny.

The Australian version was called Fags [trad. slang name for cigarettes]. When political correctness went mad the branding was changed to Fads.