JLF Triangle Blog

When did we realize cigarettes were bad for you?

Anti-tobacco zealots would have you believe that the mind-control advertising of the cigarette industry fooled everyone until, oh, the 1960s, when the Surgeon General decreed a warning be put on each pack. This fiction is useful for painting those who got smoking-related cancer as victims of Big Tobacco.

I’m old enough to know this is all bunk, but the anti-tobacco crowd knows that most people don’t have that institutional memory. I wonder what those who have bought this line think when they see a movie scene like the one I just saw.

Van Johnson and Robert Mitchum are speaking on the deck of a carrier in “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.” Johnson observes that cigarettes on board ship cost 60 cents a carton but soldiers will pay $7 in Chunking, China. He said he figures he’ll load his Doolittle bomber “with coffin nails” and make a killing when he gets there.

So if you’re ever on a jury and some Boomer kids of a “Greatest Generation” cancer victim claims their mom or dad had no idea cigarettes represented a health hazard, tell them about “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.” It was filmed in 1944.

5 Responses to “When did we realize cigarettes were bad for you?”

  • Jul
    27
    2008

    [...] Original post by Right Angles [...]

  • Jul
    27
    2008

    I see your 1944 and I raise you 1604.

    In that year, King James I of England wrote “A Counterblaste to Tobacco,” in which he concluded that smoking tobacco was:

    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.

    Poor King Jimmy no doubt suffered from being about four centuries too early for Arturo Fuente’s Hemingway Short Story, La Flor Dominicana’s Double Ligero, among others.

  • Jul
    27
    2008

    I’ve always enjoyed A. Fuentes, but I think my favorite might be the CAO Cameroon. But now that I’m further away from Pipes by George, I don’t pick anything up as often.

  • Jul
    27
    2008

    If you’re south of Pipes by George, but near Fuquay-Varina, go look up Ashworth’s Clothing on Main Street (Hwy. 401) in downtown F-V. The only thing better than the stix would be the clothes.

  • Jul
    28
    2008

    No, I’m actually in Cary now. I think there used to be at least a Tinder Box type store in Cary Town Center, but if there was, it has since closed. It’s obviously not that far, but all my travel usually takes me Durham-way, especially since my brother moved from Raleigh to Cary as well. I do need to stop in on George another time, though. That, or Davis and Sons next time I’m in Wilmington.

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