President Nixon signs legislation banning cigarette ads on TV and radio

President Nixon signs legislation banning cigarette ads on TV and radio

On April 1, 1970, President Richard Nixon signs legislation officially banning cigarette ads on television and radio. Nixon, who was an avid pipe smoker, indulging in as many as eight bowls a day, supported the legislation at the increasing insistence of public health advocates.

Alarming health studies emerged as early as 1939 that linked cigarette smoking to higher incidences of cancer and heart disease and, by the end of the 1950s, all states had laws prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors. In 1964, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed that advertisers had a responsibility to warn the public of the health hazards of cigarette smoking. In 1969, after the surgeon general of the United States released an official report linking cigarette smoking to low birth weight, Congress yielded to pressure from the public health sector and signed the Cigarette Smoking Act. This act required cigarette manufacturers to place warning labels on their products that stated “Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health.”

Listen to HISTORY This Week Podcast: Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined Smoking Kills

By the early 1970s, the fight between the tobacco lobby and public health interests forced Congress to draft legislation to regulate the tobacco industry and special committees were convened to hear arguments from both sides. Public health officials and consumers wanted stronger warning labels on tobacco products and their advertisements banned from television and radio, where they could easily reach impressionable children. (Tobacco companies were the single largest product advertisers on television in 1969.) Cigarette makers defended their industry with attempts to negate the growing evidence that nicotine was addictive and that cigarette smoking caused cancer. Though they continued to bombard unregulated print media with ads for cigarettes, tobacco companies lost the regulatory battle over television and radio. The last televised cigarette ad ran at 11:50 p.m. during The Johnny Carson Show on January 1, 1971.

Tobacco has played a part in the lives of presidents since the country’s inception. A hugely profitable crop in early America, Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Jackson owned tobacco plantations and used tobacco in the form of snuff or smoked cigars. Regulation of the tobacco industry in the form of excise taxes began during Washington’s presidency and continues to this day. In 1962, John F. Kennedy became the first president to sponsor studies on smoking and public health.

Tobacco has not been the only thing smoked at the White House. In 1978, after country-music entertainer Willie Nelson performed for President Carter there, he is said to have snuck up to the roof and surreptitiously smoked what he called a big fat Austin torpedo, commonly known as marijuana.

READ MORE: When Cigarette Companies Used Doctors to Push Smoking

Congress banned cigarette advertising on television and radio

In the early 1960s, a committee established by U.S. surgeon general Luther L. Terry to study the health effects of cigarettes drew a link between smoking and disease. In response, Congress passed the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 (FCLAA), requiring that cigarette manufacturers include a warning about the dangers of smoking on all cigarette packages.

With the FCLAA set to expire, Congress passed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, which President Richard M. Nixon signed into law in 1970. The statute amended the FCLAA by requiring a sterner warning on all cigarette packages and banning cigarette advertising on television and radio, beginning in January 1971. By early 1972, cigarette makers were to be required to include the same warning in their newspaper, magazine, and billboard advertisements.

This Day in History: April 1

This Day in History: April 1

Take a look at all of the important historical events that took place on April 1.

On this day, April 1 .

1984: Marvin Gaye is shot to death by his father, Marvin Gay Sr. in Los Angeles, the day before the recording star’s 45th birthday. (The elder Gay would plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and receive probation.)

  • 1789: The U.S. House of Representatives holds its first full meeting in New York Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania is elected the first House speaker.
  • 1933: Nazi Germany stages a daylong national boycott of Jewish-owned businesses.
  • 1945: American forces launch the amphibious invasion of Okinawa during World War II. (U.S. forces would succeed in capturing the Japanese island on June 22.)
  • 1954: The United States Air Force Academy is established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • 1970: President Richard M. Nixon signs a measure banning cigarette advertising on radio and television.
  • 1972: The first Major League Baseball players’ strike begins it lasts 12 days.

Steve Jobs, left, chairman of Apple Computers, John Sculley, center, president and CEO, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, unveil the new Apple IIc computer in San Francisco, April 24, 1984. (AP Photo/Sal Veder)

Cigarette ads banned on TV and radio, April 1, 1970

On this day in 1970, President Richard Nixon, acting at the increasing insistence of public health advocates, signed legislation banning cigarette ads on television and radio. (Nixon, an avid pipe smoker, indulged in as many as eight bowls a day.) Tobacco companies were the single largest product advertisers on television in 1969. They continue to advertise to this day on print media, billboards and through other legal means. (The last televised cigarette ad ran on Jan. 1, 1971 at 11:50 p.m. during NBC’s “Johnny Carson Show.”)

As early as 1939, medical studies linked cigarette smoking to higher rates of cancer and heart disease. In the 1950s, all 48 states banned the sale of cigarettes to minors. In 1964, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission decreed that advertisers needed to warn the public of the dangers of smoking. In 1969, after the U.S. surgeon general released a report linking cigarette smoking to low birth weight, Congress passed the Cigarette Smoking Act, requiring cigarette manufacturers to issue warning labels on each pack that they sold which stated: “Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health.”

Smoking has been a major fixture on the American scene since the nation’s founding. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Andrew Jackson owned tobacco plantations and either used tobacco as snuff or else smoked cigars. Tobacco excise taxes were inaugurated during Washington’s presidency and continue to this day.

In 1962, John F. Kennedy became the first president to sponsor studies on smoking and public health. (JFK smoked Cuban-made cigars.)

Presidential cigarette smokers included William Howard Taft (who quit during his single term), Warren Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt (who was photographed with his jaunty black cigarette holder), Herbert Hoover (a chain smoker) and Dwight D. Eisenhower. John Adams, Calvin Coolidge and Gerald R. Ford and Nixon smoked pipes. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton would sometimes light an after-dinner cigar at state functions. By contrast, Presidents Harry S. Truman, Rutherford B. Hayes and first lady Hilary Clinton banned smoking while they lived at the White House.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 granted the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products because nicotine is an addictive substance. The legislation banned the use of vending machines and product sampling (except in adult-only facilities), and it restricted the sale of tobacco in retail establishments to face-to-face transactions between retailers and consumers.

During World War II, about half of adult Americans were regular smokers. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by 2017 cigarette smoking had fallen to its lowest point in recorded history. An estimated 14 percent of American adults., or 34.3 million people, smoked cigarettes, down from15.5 percent in 2016. In households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more, less than 8 in 100 individuals now smoke.

Timeline: 1970

Jan 2 Regarding Nixon administration policy toward Africa, including South Africa's apartheid, Henry Kissinger sends President Nixon a memorandum recommending adoption of a National Security Council (NSC) option, the so-called "tar baby" option, which states: "The whites are here to stay and the only way that constructive changes can come about is through them. There is no hope for the blacks to gain the political rights they seek through violence, which will only lead to chaos and increased opportunities for the communists." The NSC option favors "more substantial economic assistance . to draw the two groups [whites and blacks] together and exert some influence on both for peaceful change."

Jan 26 In Britain, rock star Mick Jagger is fined £200 for possession of marijuana.

Feb 2 England's Bertrand Russell, described by some as the 20th century's greatest philosopher, dies at the age of 97.

Mar 1 The United States declares commercial whale hunting illegal.

Mar 5 A three-story townhouse in Greenwich Village in New York City blows up, killing three Weathermen who were making a bomb. All that can be found of one of the three, Diana Oughton, is the tip of one of her fingers. A Pulitzer prize-winning book will be written titled Diana: The Making of a Terrorist.

Mar 5 Forty-three nations have ratified the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the treaty goes into effect. It acknowledges five nuclear-weapons states. Other signatory states agree not to acquire or produce nuclear weapons or nuclear explosive devices. The treaty was proposed by Ireland.

Mar 13 While Cambodia's popular head of state, Norodom Sihanouk, is abroad, conservative forces order North Vietnamese troops to leave Cambodia.

Mar 17 The US Army charges 14 officers with suppression of facts regarding the My Lai massacre.

Mar 18 Norodom Sihanouk is still abroad. A vote in Cambodia's National Assembly removes him from power. He is replaced by General Lon Nol, who is pro-US and anti-Vietnamese. Cambodian conservatives look forward to economic advancement through association with the United States and Japan.

Mar 29 In Cambodia, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launch an offensive against Cambodia's army.

Apr 1 President Nixon signs a bill banning cigarette advertising on radio and television, to take effect on January 1, 1971.

Ohio Governor James Rhodes

Apr 1 The US Army charges Captain Ernest Medina with war crimes at My Lai.

Apr 12 In Mississippi a black one-armed farmer, Rainey Pool, is beaten and tortured by a mob and his body thrown off a bridge into the Sunflower River.

Apr 30 President Nixon announces on television a joint US-Saigon offensive into Cambodia. The goal: to drive North Vietnamese forces from Cambodia.

May 1 Protests erupt on campuses across the United States.

May 3 In a press conference, the Republican governor of Ohio, James A. Rhodes, calls anti-war protesters "the worst type of people we harbor in America, worse than the brown shirts and the communist element." Governor Rhodes orders the National Guard to quell the demonstration at Kent State University.

May 4 At Kent State University, national guardsmen order a noontime rally of some 2,000 students to disperse. The guardsmen fire tear gas and charge the crowd. A number of guardsmen fire their rifles at the students for 13 seconds, killing four and wounding from 9 to 11 others.

May 5 In response to the Kent State shootings, over 900 colleges and universities shut down. So too do some high schools and elementary schools. The Kent State campus is to remain closed for six weeks.

May 8 Division in the US about the war is at a new emotional high. On Wall Street in New York City, construction workers break up an anti-war demonstration.

May 14 At Jackson State College in Mississippi, around 100 protestors set small fires and overturn vehicles. Police fire into the demonstration, killing two.

May 20 Around 100,000 people demonstrate in the Wall Street district in support of the war.

May 31 The federal government shuts off power and stops fresh water supplies on its property, Alcatraz Island, still occupied by American Indians. Hundreds of Indians flock to the island to protest the government's plan to turn the island into a park.

Jun 20 President Nasser of Egypt, King Hussein of Jordan, and other Arab leaders have flown to Libya to take part in celebrations regarding the US having turned its military air transport base near Tripoli over to the Libyans.

Jun 30 President Nixon announces the withdrawal of US troops from Cambodia but warns that if necessary he will continue to bomb Vietnamese troops and supply lines there. He expresses hope that Hanoi will now agree to serious negotiations.

Jul 1 More than 5,000 soldiers from South Vietnam &ndash those allied with the United States &ndash remain in Cambodia, occupying areas with large populations. Looting and pillaging of Cambodian towns by South Vietnamese troops is reported in the New York Times as having "become a serious problem."

Jul 6 California passes the nation's first "no fault" divorce law.

Aug 1 After three days of disturbances involving blacks and Puerto Ricans, a state of emergency is declared in Hartford, Connecticut. A curfew is established from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. A Puerto Rican man is shot and differences arise as to who is responsible.

Aug 2 In Hartford, police arrest seven men at the Black Panther Party headquarters. The seven are said to be suspected of sniper shootings.

Aug 24 A bomb planted by "anti-war extremists" explodes at the University of Wisconsin's Army Math Research Center, killing 33-year-old researcher Robert Fassnacht.

Sep 4 With 36.3 percent of the vote, a socialist candidate, Salvador Allende Gossens, wins the presidential election in Chile.

Sep 6-14 The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijack five airliners. One is an Israeli airliner, and security on board thwarts the highjacking. The four other airliners are forced to fly to an airfield near Amman, Jordan. The fifth airliner is flown to Cairo, the passengers are taken off the plane and the plane is blown up. In Jordan, the highjackers bargain for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Sep 9 US Marines launch a ten-day search for North Vietnamese troops near Da Nang.

Sep 12 With help from his wife Rosemary and the Weathermen, Timothy Leary walks away from a minimum security prison where he has been serving time for marijuana possession.

Sep 15 At a meeting in the oval office, President Nixon says he wants to prevent president-elect of Chile, Salvador Allende, from taking office.

Sep 16 In Jordan war erupts. It is called Black September. The Palestinian Liberation Army, led by Yassar Arafat, attempts to seize power. Syria sends a force with around 200 tanks to help Arafat's forces.

Sep 18 Jimi Hendrix, British rock star guitarist, age 27, dies in London of a drug overdose.

Sep 22 The League of Arab states meets in order to end the fighting between King Hussein and Palestinians in Jordan. Hussein accuses Arafat of conspiring to overthrow him, and Arafat pounds the table and screams obscenities. He accuses Hussein of being an agent of imperialism and of conspiring with the USA and Israel against the Palestinians. The Libyan leader, General Moammar al-Gaddafi, accuses Hussein of being a lunatic. King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, disheartened by the vulgar recriminations and incoherent ranting, declares them all to be mentally unbalanced.

Sep 28 An ailing and tired President Nasser of Egypt dies of a heart attack at the age of 52.

Oct 1 With Nasser's funeral procession through Cairo's streets, millions are weeping, and mourners attempt to bear Nasser's coffin themselves. Soldiers use their rifle butts and batons to repel the crowd. People are crushed to death. Authorities end the procession by transferring the coffin to a military vehicle and rushing it to the place of burial.

Oct 4 Janis Joplin, rock star, dies at the age of 27. The cause of death: whisky and heroin overdose. In the US an age of pushing sensation and thrill to its limits is coming to an end.

Oct 8 Soviet author Alexander Solzhenitsyn is named winner of the Nobel Prize for literature.

Oct 10 Quebec Provincial Labor Minister, Pierre Laporte, and the British trade commissioner, James Cross, are kidnapped by the Front de Liberation du Quebec.

Oct 10 Fiji becomes independent of British rule.

Oct 12 President Nixon announces the pullout of 40,000 more American troops in Vietnam by Christmas.

Oct 14 Moscow accuses Nobel judges of anti-Soviet motives in giving the Nobel Prize to Solzhenitsyn.

Oct 18 The body of Pierre Laporte is found in the trunk of a car. He has been strangled to death.

Oct 23 The commander-in-chief of the Chilean Army, General René Schneider, is assassinated. He was opposed to military involvement in politics and stood in the way of CIA plans to have Salvador Allende overthrown by military force.

Oct 31 China describes Japan's "white paper" on defense as intending unrestricted expansion of Japanese armaments, acquisition of nuclear weapons and a preparation for "unleashing a new war of aggression."

Nov 3 Salvador Allende is inaugurated President of Chile.

Nov 3 In California, Ronald Reagan wins a second term as governor. His Democratic Party opponent was Jesse Unruh, whom he described as a tax-and-spend liberal.

Nov 4 Andre Sakharov, Russian nuclear physicist, forms his Human Rights Committee.

Nov 9 Charles De Gaulle dies at age of 79.

Nov 20 In the UN General Assembly, an Algerian resolution to unseat the regime in Taiwan, which claims to represent China, and replace it with representation by the People's Republic of China, wins majority approval.

Nov 21 Fifty-six US commandos, supported by 26 aircraft, attempt to rescue POWs at the Son Tay camp north of Hanoi. The prisoners have been moved to another camp and the commandos return empty-handed.

Nov 24 The Viet Cong has changed its name from the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam to the Government of the Republic of South Vietnam.

Nov 25 In Japan, novelist Yukio Mishima invades the military headquarters in Tokyo, fails to persuade the military to join him in renouncing the US imposed constitution and commits hara-kiri.

Nov 26 The Nixon administration has been holding to a wait and see attitude regarding Chile's new president, Allende. Allende has taken over two businesses controlled by American companies and on this day he announces to Communist Party leaders his plans for large-scale nationalization of basic industries.

Nov 27 Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose books are not published in the Soviet Union, says he has decided not to ask for official permission to go to Stockholm to accept the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Dec 2 President Nixon creates the Environmental Protection Agency, which takes over functions previously performed by the Department of Interior.

Dec. 7 In Poland, Chancellor Willy Brandt of West Germany signs a treaty opening normal relations with Poland. Poland is expected to allow "tens of thousands" of ethnic Germans still living in Poland to emigrate to West Germany.

Dec 18 In Poland, five days of unrest come to an end, said to have been caused by shortages and rising prices. The Polish government describes six people as having been killed by government forces in the city of Gdansk.

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After the imposition of the television ban, cigarette advertising continued to appear in magazines, newspapers and on billboards. However, in 1999 many cigarette billboard advertisements were replaced with anti-smoking messages some featured parodies of cigarette companies’ slogans.

Since 1984, cigarette companies have also been compelled to place U.S. surgeon's general’s warnings on all cigarette packs and advertisements under the provisions of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act.

The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement reached in 1997 bans outdoor, billboard and public transportation advertising of cigarettes in 46 states. Restrictions on cigarette were further tightened in 2010 with passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The act prohibits tobacco companies from sponsoring sports, music and other cultural events and bars the display of their logos or products on T-shirts, hats, or other apparel.

Even as distribution of tobacco products remains legal, the number of smokers in the United States has declined from 42 percent in 1965 to less than 17 percent today — a trend that surveys show has been driven by both health warnings and high excise taxes.

U.S. Army nurses smoking cigarettes, circa 1947.

Before Beyoncé peddled Pepsi, Maureen O’Sullivan hawked Lucky Strikes.

“My reason for smoking Luckies is that they are so mild and cause no irritation to my throat,” O’Sullivan said in a Barron’s advertisement in 1932, the year she appeared as Jane in the film Tarzan the Ape Man. Other ads for that American Tobacco brand featured such Hollywood stars as Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Meanwhile, Liggett & Myers bought space in Barron’s to promote Chesterfield cigarettes (“They Satisfy!”) and its Granger pipe tobacco, with one ad featuring a father blowing smoke rings in the face of a young child in his arms.

The idea of “sin stocks” hadn’t taken hold in the 1930s, when smoking was as common as men wearing fedoras. Everyone did it, helping to make tobacco stocks big winners, as they have mostly been for over a century. In fact, an investment 100 years ago in Altria (MO)—then Philip Morris —would have returned 15% annually.

Maureen O'Sullivan in a Lucky Strike advertisement published in a 1932 issue of Barron's.

Tobacco’s dangers eventually would become general knowledge, however, despite the industry’s denials. Today, smoking is banned in most public places and from some investing strategies. An estimated one-third of U.S. assets are now managed according to sustainable principles, which often means avoiding stocks tied to tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment, cannabis, prisons, energy, meat, and sugary drinks like Pepsi, which gave pop star Beyoncé a $50 million marketing deal.

When this magazine made its debut in 1921, many people still were rolling their own or smoking pipes or cigars, even though company-made cigarettes had gotten a boost on the killing fields of World War I, where they were the “only tobacco product readily available” and “practically a necessity in maintaining morale,” Barron’s wrote in 1929. By then, annual U.S. sales had doubled in 10 years to 106 billion cigarettes, and this publication was declaring that the “faster pace of business and the increased nerve strain of modern life” demands “a short, quick smoke as a relief.”

Cigarette makers were courting women, too. Marlboro, later famous for its macho “Marlboro Man” (initially portrayed by an actor who claimed he didn’t smoke) was originally marketed by Philip Morris as the “ladies’ favorite.”

The tobacco industry got another lift from World War II. By 1943, yearly cigarette sales had surged to 300 billion. This also began the rise of R.J. Reynolds’ Camel brand, which would overtake Lucky Strike as the bestseller in 1948. An additional boon came from vending machines, which Barron’s dubbed “the silent salesman” in 1950, when industry leader Rowe Corp. boasted 26,000 machines in service. These became beloved by underage smokers the silent salesmen didn’t ask for ID.

A Camel advertisement in the Nov. 15, 1943 issue of Barron's.

In 1951, Barron’s wrote, an estimated 60 million of America’s 150 million residents were smokers. Yet scientific evidence about the habit’s dangers was growing. In 1964, the surgeon general released a landmark report linking smoking to health problems. In 1970, President Nixon signed legislation banning tobacco ads from TV and radio.

Barron’s reacted with a front-page story, “Plague of Censorship.” We argued that scientific evidence on tobacco was still unsettled, citing the opinions of scientists such as Louis Soloff and Milton Rosenblatt. It was later revealed, in documents for a legal settlement, that both had received secret payments from the Council for Tobacco Research, the industry’s propaganda arm.

In 1975, 660.7 billion U.S.-made cigarettes were sold, and Marlboro dethroned Winston as No. 1. Camel fell to No. 6, but was still the favorite nonfiltered smoke by a two-to-one margin over Lucky Strike.

A display of cigarettes and smoking tobacco in Crystal City, Texas, in 1939.

But the percentage of American smokers had peaked in the 1960s. By 1985, the industry was losing customers and facing lawsuits alleging a connection between smoking and disease. Sanford C. Bernstein called Philip Morris shares a Buy, noting that the tobacco industry had never lost in court before.

That run of success ended in 1994, after Big Tobacco’s top executives had been dragged in front of Congress, where in televised hearings they argued that there wasn’t conclusive proof that smoking causes cancer or other ailments.

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Both the U.S. Public Health Service and Federal Trade Commission have annually reported findings to Congress since passage of the cigarette labeling law. The FTC recommended that the Act should be amended to: "Warning: Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Health and May Cause Death From Cancer and Other Diseases."

Additionally, the FTC recommended legislation to require the same warning to appear in all cigarette advertisements and to require statements of tar and nicotine content on all cigarette packages and in all advertising.

Legislation to accomplish these objectives as well as the following were recommended by the FTC:

Cigarette advertising on television and radio should be barred entirely. Alternately, cigarette advertising on television and radio should be limited as to hours in which it may appear the extent to which it may appear and the types of programs on which it may appear

Increased appropriations, should be made to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare for education of the public (especially young people) as to the health hazards of smoking

Appropriations should be made for research under the direction of the National Institutes of Health on the development of less hazardous cigarettes.

"By 1969, the stage had been set for a showdown over cigarette advertising and promotion" (Wagner, 1971: 190). The U.S. Government was increasing its efforts to discourage the sale of cigarettes. Post office trucks carried posters: "100,000 Doctors Have Quit Smoking."

The Surgeon General continued to release reports about the adverse health effects of smoking.

Dr. Daniel Horn, director of the National Clearinghouse for Smoking and Health, was urging doctors to deliver antismoking appeals to patients in their offices.

Movie personalities had become involved in the American Cancer Society's campaign called I.Q. (for "I Quit") that passed out lapel buttons and dispatched public speakers around the country to discourage the habit. Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds and Lawrence Welk refused to allow tobacco companies to sponsor their TV shows.

Two ad agencies--Ogilivy and Mather and Doyle Dane Bernbach-and a few radio and television stations would not accept cigarette business. Several magazines did not accept cigarette advertising as a matter of principle: Reader's Digest, the New Yorker, and the Saturday Review. The Christian Science Monitor had never carried cigarette ads the Boston Globe announced in May, 1969 that it would no longer accept such advertising "because accumulated medical evidence has indicated that cigarette smoking is hazardous to health" (Wagner, 1971: 220).

In April 1969, a few weeks before the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee was scheduled to open hearings on the FTC proposals, a series of bills were introduced in the House by representatives of tobacco producing states. One such bill, H.R. 7177, co-sponsored by all eleven of North Carolina's House Delegation, proposed "to establish a comprehensive Federal program to deal with cigarette labeling and advertising with respect to any relationship between smoking and health."

Identical measures were introduced under the sponsorship of congressmen from Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Florida. Some accounts of the activity on Capitol Hill during this period attribute these bills to the tobacco interests' intention "to prevent strengthening of the warning label and make permanent the ban on state and Federal regulation of cigarette advertising, which was due to expire on June 30. Passage of this legislation was the best tobacco interests could have hoped for under the circumstances" (Wagner, 1971: 205).

After testimony from both sides, the House Committee approved a stiffer health warning but prohibited regulatory action on cigarette advertising for six years and in other ways generally upheld the status quo.

The Senate, Commerce Committee, on December 5, 1970, voted out a bill banning cigarette commercials from the air as of January 1, 1971. The FTC was prohibited from acting on cigarette ads in newspapers and magazines until the middle of 1972. The labeling provision in the Senate bill was weaker than that established in the House-voted measure, and the bill also precluded cigarette regulatory action by the fifty states and local governments.

In a session on December 12, a floor amendment was introduced which loosened the Committee's proposed restriction on the FTC by allowing the agency to require health warnings in advertising as of July 1, 1971. The bill also authorized the FTC to move sooner if it found that tobacco companies were switching from broadcast to print advertising so massively that it could be considered a " gross abuse." This bill also approved a new required health warning for cigarette packages"Warning: Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health."

After Senate passage, the measure still had to -pass a joint Senate-House Conference Committee where important differences between the two bills had to be reconciled.

The bill that emerged from conference differed only slightly from the Senate measure. The cautionary label to which the conferees agreed provides: "Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health." "In a final concession to the broadcasters, the conferees agreed to delay for one day the blackout of cigarette commercials from December 31, 1970, to midnight January 1, 1971. That would give them a last shower of cash from the New Year's Day football bowl games" (Wagner, 1971: 216). It was estimated that the loss to television and radio stations would amount to about $220 million a year, or about 7.5% of their total advertising revenues.

President Nixon signed the Act on April 1, 1970.

Some observers marvel that the bill was passed "in spite of massive pressure that had been brought to bear against it and against the regulation of cigarette advertising generally, by the tobacco industry, the broadcasting industry, and the lobbyists and their political allies. This was a combination that for years had proved invincible against a counterforce of scientists and public health and public interest advocates who, armed with formidable statistics on the damage to health and life caused by cigarette smoking, had sought to protect consumers by requiring all cigarette advertising to provide adequate warnings of these dangers" (Whiteside, 1970: 58).

There are those observers , on the other hand, who do not view the ban of cigarette advertising on television and radio as such a success for the consumer. Rather, they cite the statistics on consumption in other countries to point up the fact that bans on advertising do not reduce sales.

In Czechoslovakia, for example, no direct advertising of tobacco is permitted yet consumption increased 14% between 1953 and 1958. Advertising of foreign cigarettes was banned in 1962 in Italy the following year sales increased 39.4% and in 1964, 11.7 %. Sales increased in England after television cigarette advertisements were banned in 1965. Consumption figures for the following three years in Britain reveal increases: 112 billion cigarettes in 1965, 118 billion in 1966 and 119.1 billion in 1967 (Cigarette Advertising, 1970: 113-114).

Robert Miller, an agricultural economist in the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, reports that cigarette consumption is up in every part of the world although advertising was banned in several European countries some years ago. He predicts an eventual decrease in sales during the next five years and perhaps a 12-13% decrease in tobacco consumption (Tobacco Advertising Could End, 1970: 7).

Other observers can see a gradual reduction in cigarette consumption as a result of a prohibition on advertising some feel a ban on advertising merely makes it difficult to launch a new brand. Others predict that the ban will eliminate the social acceptability of the habit although consumption will not go down.

The "live dangerously novelty" has also been identified as a possible cause for gains in consumption "such a philosophy might well be prevalent among the young, the very ones that antismoking advocates are most anxious to protect" (Cigarette Advertising, 1970: 112-113).

Another consequence of the ban on cigarette commercials was the FCC ruling that the broadcasters' obligation to air antismoking messages had ended. The stations continue to run them as public service spots however, the volume was decreased considerably from the former 1 to 3 ratio established by the FCC. The antismoking forces are fearful that a decrease in these spots is harmful to their cause and may retard their efforts to reduce cigarette consumption.

On October 20,1971, a U.S. District Court ruled that the Congressional ban on cigarette advertising is constitutional. The ruling stated that such advertising does not qualify under the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech a sharp distinction was drawn between guarantees of freedom. of speech for individuals and the "limited extent" to which broadcast advertising qualifies for such protection.

The court also ruled that Congress had more than one "rational basis" for excluding cigarette ads from television and not the printed media one being that broadcasts are the "most persuasive" types of advertising (Cigarette Ad Ban, 1971). Ultimately, the constitutional question will have to be decided by the United States Supreme Court.


The coughing, throat irritation, and shortness of breath caused by smoking are obvious, and tobacco was criticized as unhealthy long before the invention of the clinical study. In the 1604 A Counterblaste to Tobacco, James VI of Scotland and I of England described smoking as "A custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomelesse", and urged his subjects not to use tobacco. [1] In the 1600s, many countries banned its use. [2] Pope Urban VIII issued a 1624 papal bull condemning tobacco and making its use in holy places punishable by excommunication [3] Pope Benedict XIII repealed the ban one hundred years later. [4]

The first known nicotine advertisement in the United States was for the snuff and tobacco products and was placed in the New York daily paper in 1789. At the time, American tobacco markets were local. Consumers would generally request tobacco by quality, not brand name, until after the 1840s. [5]

Many European tobacco bans were repealed during the Revolutions of 1848.

Cigarettes were first made in Seville, from cigar scraps. British soldiers took up the habit during the Crimean War (1853–1856). [2] The American Civil War in the early 1860s also led to increased demand for tobacco from American soldiers, and in non-tobacco-growing regions. [2]

Public health measures against chewing tobacco (spitting, especially other than in a spitoon, spread diseases such as flu and tuberculosis) increased cigarette consumption. [2]

After the development of color lithography in the late 1870s, collectible picture series were printed onto cigarette cards, previously only used to stiffen the packaging. [5]

In 1913, a cigarette brand was advertised nationally for the first time in the US. RJ Reynolds advertised it as milder than competing cigarettes. [6]

Pre-rolled cigarettes, like cigars, were initially expensive, as a skilled cigarette roller could produce only about four cigarettes per minute on average [7] Cigarette-making machines were developed in the 1880s, replacing hand-rolling. [8] One early machine could roll 120,000 cigarettes in 10 hours, or 200 a minute. [7] [9] [10] Mass production revolutionized the cigarette industry. [11] Cigarette companies began to reckon production in millions of cigarettes per day. [5]

Higher production and cheaper cigarettes gave companies an incentive to increase consumption. By the last quarter of the 19th century, magazines carried advertisements for different brands of cigarettes, snuff, and pipe tobacco. [8] Demand for cigarettes rose exponentially,

doubling every five years in Canada and the US (until demand began to rise even faster,

tripling during the four years of World War I). [2] : 429, Fig.1

Anti-tobacco movements Edit

In the late 1800s, the temperance movement was strongly involved in anti-tobacco campaigns, and particularly with the prevention of youth smoking. They argued that smoking was addictive, unhealthy, stunted the growth of children, and, in women, was harmful during pregnancy. [12]

By 1890, 26 American states had banned sales to minors. Over the next decade, further restrictions were legislated, including prohibitions on sale measures were widely circumvented, for instance by selling expensive matches and giving away cigarettes with them, so there were further bans on giving out free samples of cigarettes. [2]

After women won the vote in the early 1900s, temperance groups successfully campaigned for Juvenile Smoking Laws throughout Australia. At this time, most adults there smoked pipes, and cigarettes were used only by juveniles. [12]

World War I Edit

Free or subsidized branded cigarettes were distributed to troops during World War I. [8] Demand for cigarettes in North America, which had been roughly doubling every five years, began to rise even faster, now approximately tripling during the four years of war. [2] : 429, Fig.1

In the face of imminent violent death, the health harms of cigarettes became less of a concern, and there was public support for drives to get cigarettes to the front lines. [12] Billions of cigarettes were distributed to soldiers in Europe by national governments, the YMCA, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross. Private individuals also donated money to send cigarettes to the front, even from jurisdictions where the sale of cigarettes was illegal. Not giving soldiers cigarettes was seen as unpatriotic. [2]

Interwar Edit

By the time the war was over, a generation had grown up, and a large proportion of adults smoked, making anti-smoking campaigns substantially more difficult. [12] Returning soldiers continued to smoke, making smoking more socially acceptable. Temperance groups began to concentrate their efforts on alcohol. [12] By 1927, American states had repealed all their anti-smoking laws, except those on minors. [2]

Modern advertising was created with the innovative techniques used in tobacco advertising beginning in the 1920s. [14] [15]

Advertising in the interwar period consisted primarily of full page, color magazine and newspaper advertisements. Many companies created slogans for their brand and used celebrity endorsements from famous men and women. Some advertisements contained fictional doctors reassuring customers that their specific brand was good for health. [16]

Smoking was also widely seen in films, possibly due to paid product placement (see § Films) .

In 1924, menthol cigarettes were invented, [17] but they were not initially popular, remaining at a few percent of market share until marketing in the fifties. [18] : 35–37

In the 1920s, tobacco companies continued to target women, aiming to increase the number of smokers. [19] At first, in light of the threat of tobacco prohibition from temperance unions, marketing was subtle it indirectly and deniably suggested that women smoked. Testimonials from smoking female celebrities were used. Ads were designed to "prey on female insecurities about weight and diet", encouraging smoking as a healthy alternative to eating sweets. [20]

Campaigns used the traditional association that smoking was improper for women to advantage. They marketed cigarettes as "Torches of Freedom", and made a dependence-inducing drug a symbol of women's independence. Lung cancer rates in women rose sharply. [21]

In 1929 Edward Bernays, commissioned by the American Tobacco Company to get more women smoking, decided to hire women to smoke their "torches of freedom" as they walked in the Easter Sunday Parade in New York. He was very careful when picking women to march because "while they should be good looking, they should not look too model-y" and he hired his own photographers to make sure that good pictures were taken and then published around the world. [22]

In 1929, the Sturmabteilung, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party, founded a cigarette company as a way to raise funds and make itself less financially dependent on the party leadership. SA members were expected to smoke only SA brands. [23] There is evidence that coercion was used to promote the sale of these cigarettes. Through this scheme, a typical SA unit earned hundreds of Reichsmarks each month. [24] The brand also promoted political ideas, being sold with collectible image sets showing historical army uniforms. [25]

Medical concerns Edit

"On Giving Up Smoking". Punch or The London Charivari. London. 1934-11-07. p. 506. this was an old joke even in 1934 [26]

Skyrocketing European lung cancer rates drew attention from doctors in the twenties and thirties. [27] Lung cancer had been a vanishingly rare disease. Before 1900, there were only 140 documented cases worldwide. [28] Then, suddenly, lung cancer became a leading cause of death in many countries (a status it retains to this day). [28] [29] : 4 [ better source needed ]

Initially, suspicion was cast on causes including road tar, car exhaust, the 1918 flu pandemic, racial mixing, and the use of chemical weapons in World War I. However, in 1929, a statistical analysis strongly linking lung cancer to smoking was published by Fritz Lickint of Dresden. He did a retrospective cohort study showing that those with lung cancer were, disproportionately, smokers. He also found that men got lung cancer at several times the rate of women, and that, in countries where more women smoked, the difference was much smaller. [28] In 1932, a study in Poland came to the same conclusion, pointing out that the geographic and gender patterns of Polish lung cancer deaths matched those of smoking, but no other suggested cause, such as industry or cars (rare in Poland at the time). [28]

The medical community was criticized for its slow response to these findings. One 1932 paper attributed the slow response to smoking being common among doctors, as well as the general population. [27] Some temperance activists had continued to attack tobacco as expensive, addictive, and leading to petty theft. In the thirties, they also began to publicize the medical findings. [12] There was popular awareness these dangers of smoking (see accompanying quote).

World War II Edit

Despite these findings, free and subsidized branded cigarettes were distributed to soldiers (on both sides) during World War II. [8] [30]

Cigarettes were included in American soldiers' K-rations and C-rations, since many tobacco companies sent the soldiers cigarettes for free. Cigarette sales reached an all-time high at this point, as cigarette companies were not only able to get soldiers addicted, but specific brands also found a new loyal group of customers as soldiers who smoked their cigarettes returned from the war. [31]

A faction of the Nazi Party opposed tobacco use. [30] The Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research was founded. Some of those working with it were involved in mass murder and unethical medical experiments, and killed themselves at the end of the war, including Karl Astel, the head of the institute. The institute and other organizations directed anti-smoking campaigns at both the general public and doctors. Campaigns included pamphlets, reprints of academic articles and books, and smoking bans in many public places [28] bans were, however, widely ignored. [30] An industry-funded counter-institute, the Tabacologia medicinalis, was shut down by Leonardo Conti. [28] Restrictions on cigarette advertising were enacted. After 1941, the Nazi party restricted anti-tobacco research and campaigns, for instance ordering the private anti-tobacco magazine Reine Luft to moderate its tone and submit all materials for censorship before publication. [30]

Tobacco companies continue to exploit associations with Nazis to fight anti-tobacco measures. Modern Germany has some of Europe's least restrictive tobacco control policies, [28] and more Germans both smoke and die of it in consequence. [32] [33]

Until the 1970s, most tobacco advertising was legal in the United States and most European nations. In the 1940s and 50s, tobacco was a major radio sponsor in the 1950s and 60s, they became predominantly involved in television. [29] : 100 In the United States, in the 1950s and 1960s, cigarette brands frequently sponsored television shows—notably To Tell the Truth and I've Got a Secret. Brand jingles were commonly used on radio and television. Major cigarette companies would advertise their brands in popular TV shows such as The Flintstones and The Beverly Hillbillies, which were watched by many children and teens. [34] In 1964, after facing much pressure from the public, The Cigarette Advertising Code was created by the tobacco companies, which prohibited advertising directed to youth. [35]

Advertising continued to use celebrities and famous athletes. Popular comedian Bob Hope was used to advertise for cigarette companies. [35] The African-American magazine Ebony often used athletes to advertise major cigarette brands. [36]

The nicotine industry also promoted "modified risk" nicotine products, falsely implied to be less harmful, such as roasted, "filter", menthol, and ventilated ("light") cigarettes. [37] [38] These products were used to discourage quitting, by offering unwilling smokers an alternative to quitting, and implying that using the alternate product would reduce the hazards of smoking. [18] : 62–65 [29] "Modified risk" products also attract new smokers. [37]

It is now known that these products are not less harmful. Filter cigarettes became near-universal, but smokers suffered just as much illness and death. [39] Initially, efforts were made to develop filters that actually reduced harms as it became obvious that this was not economically possible, filters were instead designed to turn brown with use. [40] [41] Light cigarettes became so popular that, as of 2004, half of American smokers preferred them over regular cigarettes, [42] According to The Federal Government's National Cancer Institute (NCI), light cigarettes provide no benefit to smokers' health. [43] [44] There is no evidence that menthol cigarettes are healthier, but there is evidence that they are somewhat easier to become addicted to and harder to quit. [18] : 25–27

Racial marketing strategies changed during the fifties, with more attention paid to racial market segmentation. The civil rights movement lead to the rise of African-American publications, such as Ebony. This helped tobacco companies to target separate marketing messages by race. [29] : 57 Tobacco companies supported civil rights organizations, and advertised their support heavily. Industry motives were, according to their public statements, to support civil rights causes according to an independent review of internal tobacco industry documents, they were "to increase African American tobacco use, to use African Americans as a frontline force to defend industry policy positions, and to defuse tobacco control efforts". There had been internal resistance to tobacco sponsorship, and some organizations are now rejecting nicotine funding as a matter of policy. [45]

Race-specific advertising exacerbated small (a few percent) racial differences in menthol cigarette product preferences into large (tens of percent) ones. [46] Menthol cigarettes are somewhat more addictive, [18] and it has been argued that race-specific marketing for a more addictive product is a social injustice. [47] [48]

Despite it being illegal at the time, tobacco marketers gave out free cigarette samples to children in black neighbourhoods in the U.S. [49] Similar practices continue in parts of the world a 2016 study found over 12% of South African students had been given free cigarettes by tobacco company representative, with lower rates in five other subsaharan countries. [50] Worldwide, 1 in 10 children had been offered free cigarettes by a tobacco company representative, according to a 2000-2007 survey. [51]

In 1954, tobacco companies ran the ad "A Frank Statement." The ad was the first in a disinformation campaign, disputing reports that smoking cigarettes could cause lung cancer and had other dangerous health effects. [52] It also referred to "research of recent years", [52] although solid statistical evidence of a link between smoking and lung cancer had first been published 25 years earlier. [28]

Prior to 1964, many of the cigarette companies advertised their brand by claiming that their product did not have serious health risks. A couple of examples would be "Play safe with Philip Morris" and "More doctors smoke Camels". Such claims were made both to increase the sales of their product and to combat the increasing public knowledge of smoking's negative health effects. [35] A 1953 industry document claims that the survey brand preference among doctors was done on doctors entering a conference, and asked (among a great many camouflage questions) what brand they had on them marketers had previously placed packs of their Camels in doctors' hotel rooms before the doctors arrived, [53] which probably biassed the results.

In 1964, Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States was published. It was based on over 7,000 scientific articles that linked tobacco use with cancer and other diseases. This report led to laws requiring warning labels on tobacco products and to restrictions on tobacco advertisements. As these began to come into force, tobacco marketing became more subtle (for instance, the Joe Camel campaign resulted in increased awareness and uptake of smoking among children). [54] However, restrictions did have an effect on adult quit rates, with its use declining to the point that by 2004, nearly half of all Americans who had ever smoked had quit. [55]

The period after nicotine advertising restrictions were brought in is characterised by ingenious circumvention of progressively stricter regulations. The industry continued to dispute medical research: denying, for instance, that nicotine was addictive, while deliberately spiking their cigarettes with additional nicotine to make them more addictive. [16]

Advertising restrictions typically shift advertising spending to unrestricted media. Banned on television, ads move to print banned in all conventional media, ads shift to sponsorships banned as in-store advertising and packaging, advertising shifts to shill (undisclosed) marketing reps, sponsored online content, viral marketing, and other stealth marketing techniques. [29] : 272–280

Another method of evading restrictions is to sell less-regulated nicotine products instead of the ones for which advertising is more regulated. For instance, while TV ads of cigarettes are banned in the United States, similar TV ads of e-cigarettes are not. [57]

The most effective media are usually banned first, meaning advertisers need to spend more money to addict the same number of people. [29] : 272 Comprehensive bans can make it impossible to effectively substitute other forms of advertising, leading to actual falls in consumption. [29] : 272–280 However, skillful use of allowed media can increase advertising exposure the exposure of U.S. children to nicotine advertising is increasing as of 2018. [57]

In the US, sport and event sponsorships and billboards became important in the 1970s and 80s, due to TV and radio advertising bans. Sponsors benefit from placing their advertising at sporting events, naming events after themselves, and recruiting political support from sporting agencies. In the 1980s and 90s, these sponsorships were banned in the US and many other countries. Spending has since shifted to point-of-sale advertising and promotional allowances (where legal), direct mail advertising, and Internet advertising. Stealth marketing is also becoming more common, [29] : 100 partly to offset mistrust of the tobacco industry. [29] : Ch.6&7

One major Indian company gives annual bravery awards in its own name some recipients have rejected or returned them. [58]

Nicotine use is frequently shown in movies. While academics had long speculated that there was paid product placement, it was not until internal industry documents were released that there was hard evidence of such practices. [29] : 363–364 The documents show that in the 1980s and 1990s, cigarettes were shown in return for ≤six-figure (US$) sponsorship deals. More money was paid for a star actor to be shown using nicotine. While this sponsorship is now banned in some countries, it is unclear whether the bans are effective, as such deals are generally not publicized or investigated. [29] : 401

Smokers in movies are generally healthier, more successful, and more racially privileged than actual smokers. Health effects, including coughing and addiction, are shown or mentioned in only a few percent of cases, and are less likely to be mentioned in films targeted at younger viewers. [29] : 372–374

In the nineties, internet access expanded in many countries the web is a major medium for nicotine advertising.

Both Google and Microsoft have policies that prohibit the promotion of tobacco products on their advertising networks. [59] [60] However, some tobacco retailers are able to circumvent these policies. On Facebook, unpaid content, created and sponsored by tobacco companies, is widely used to advertise nicotine-containing products, with photos of the products, "buy now" buttons and a lack of age restrictions, in contravention of ineffectively enforced Facebook policies. [61] [62] [63] [ failed verification ]

In 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration wrote a major review of menthol cigarettes, which are somewhat more addictive and no healthier than regular cigarettes. [18] It was subsequently proposed that they should be banned, partially on grounds that race-specific marketing for a more addictive product is racist. [47]

Is Alcohol the New Tobacco?

On October 25, 2017, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) decided to ban all alcohol advertisements on its public transportation, set to take effect January 1, 2018. While this may only be a regional change, New York City’s MTA is the country’s largest transportation authority, and many people are wondering whether this will spark country-wide changes, similar to the ban on tobacco advertisements in the early 1990s.

How are these bans implemented?

Alcohol bans by transit authority have been enforced through three levels of policymaking: (1) contract requirement, (2) agency policy, and (3) government policy. Contract requirements are stated in the contract between the MTA and the advertiser. Agency policies are formally adopted by the administering body of the MTA, i.e., the board of directors. Finally, government policies are codified by the government body that has dominance over the MTA. This decision to ban alcohol advertisement on New York City’s public transportation came from the board of directors of the MTA.

New York City is, by no means, a trailblazer in this arena. Consequently, advocacy groups and opponents alike have been looking to other cities to make their best estimation as to how successful this ban will or will not be.

For example, stemming from a gubernatorial executive order, Maryland sought to prohibit alcohol advertisements on public transportation state-wide. Similarly, big cities such as Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia imposed bans on alcohol advertising.

Though the aforementioned bans remain intact, two different large cities have overturned their bans. Washington D.C. overturned its ban on alcohol advertising in 2015, citing economic necessity as the reasoning. Chicago Transit Authority did the same however, it chose to keep some restrictions in place, such as continuing to prohibit alcohol advertisements on buses and preventing alcohol advertisements from exceeding 9.99% of total advertising on the Chicago transit system at any one time.

So, is New York City’s ban a good thing?

Advocates of the ban have long compared it to tobacco ads, claiming that the advertisements are encouraging underage drinking. Alcohol ads, like the previous tobacco ads, portray typical users as attractive, young, and healthy people who like to have fun. Advocates have also argued that the ads target minority and lower-income communities, as was previously done by the tobacco companies.

In addition, one of the groups that was pushing for the ban, “Building Alcohol Ad-Free Transit,” found ad placements that it felt had the potential for sending harmful messaging to children who use the MTA as their means of transportation to school. Specifically, the group’s website displays examples, such as one where a poster for the kid-friendly movie “The Lorax” appears next to an ad for Michelob Ultra.

In contrast, opponents of the ban state that the real party affected by the ban is the alcohol industry. “Science and research show that there is no benefit to banning this type of advertising,” Jay Hibbard, vice president of government relations for the Distilled Spirits Council, said in an interview with the New York Times. “This is not advertising on school buses….This is advertising on a public transportation system.”

Opponents also argue that, statistically, New York’s underage drinking has declined by over 20 percent in the last ten years, and binge-drinking has reached an all-time low. Opponents use these and other facts to assert that it is the parents, and not the advertisements, that have the greatest influence on underage drinking.

So, will the New York City MTA ban on alcohol advertising stand the test of time, or will it crumble? Only time will tell.

Sources Cited

Alcohol Justice, These Bus Ads Don’t Stop For Children: Alcohol Advertising on Public Transit (Oct. 2013).

Disc. Tobacco City & Lottery, Inc. v. United States, 674 F.3d 509 (6th Cir. 2012).