Yesterday, NPR's Picture Show photo blog highlighted the School of Medicine's collection of historical cigarette ads. (Stanford's collection was assembled by Robert Jackler, MD, chair of otolaryngology, and others.) Carolyn Beeler writes:
In bold colors and vintage fonts, they boast that cigarettes can help us stay thin, cure a cough and digest our food. They won't irritate our throats, make our voices raspy or affect our athletic performance.
And, interestingly, tobacco companies appear to have figured out the "long tail" concept fairly early on (I'm being a bit cheeky here):
As health concerns increased over the years, though, tobacco companies tried to carve out more specific niches to market their cigarettes. Concerns about throat irritation began to rise in the 1930s, so tobacco companies focused on marketing cigarettes as "nonirritating" and "mild." Doctors and nurses made frequent cameos.
NPR has a slide show of 11 images you can check out. Stanford's Lane Medical Library also has a large selection of the ads in the Web version of its exhibit.