On April 1, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed legislation that officially banned cigarette ads on TV and radio.
That’s particularly interesting because Nixon himself smoked a pipe. I have to wonder if the legislation was enforced as part of the lobbyist groups or intense pressure from public health advocates.
Have the number of cigarette smokers declined since the ads went away? I could not find any evidence that it has. Today we fight the e-cigarette battle, which is arguably a more serious problem.
It was brought to light that there’s a link between cigarette smoking and terminal cancer, heart disease and a shortened life span as early as 1939! By the late 1950’s there were laws in place prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors. In 1964, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed that advertisers should warn the public of the health hazards of smoking. The surgeon general of the U.S. released an official report that linked cigarette smoking to low birth weight in 1969. Eventually, Congress yielded to pressure from the public health sector and signed the Cigarette Smoking Act, which required manufacturers of cigarettes to place warning labels on their products. Those labels are all too familiar to us today – they say “Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health”.
I was born in 1961, so I remember the cigarette ads on television. They made smoking look so cool – and if you smoked, it made you tough. I remember the Marlboro man, the Camel, the liberated women who smoked Virginia Slims, and Lucky Strike. Tobacco companies took up most of the air space on television in 1969. I was a kid, and yeah, I paid attention!
Public health officials and consumers wanted stronger warning labels on tobacco products and the ads banned from TV and radio. Of course, the cigarette manufacturers defended the industry and their right to advertise, but there was growing evidence that nicotine was addictive and cigarette smoking caused cancer.
In 1962, Kennedy became the first president to sponsor studies on smoking and public health.
As we know, the tobacco companies lost the regulatory battle over TV and radio. The last televised cigarette ad ran at 11:50 p.m. during The Johnny Carson Show on January 1, 1971.
Did you see that? You have choices – you can have complete control. Yeah, right!
Several presidents enjoyed smoking. In fact, Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Jackson owned tobacco plantations and used it in the form of snuff or smoked cigars.
Other Presidential cigarette smokers include Taft, Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Hoover and Eisenhower. Adams, Coolidge, Nixon and Ford smoked pipes. I was surprised to learn that even Carter engaged in the time-honored after-dinner cigar-smoking ritual at many state functions. Presidents Grant, Teddy Roosevelt and Clinton (Bill, not Hil) also smoked the cigar after dinner.
In the early 1970’s, I was listening to a song written and sung by Gary S. Paxton called “There Goes a Cigar Smoking a Man”. Yeah, I’m really old – I’m tellin’ ya!
Kennedy enjoyed cigars and had his press secretary buy as many Cuban cigars as possible before he strengthened a trade embargo against Cuba in 1961.
McKinley preferred to chew his tobacco, as did Taylor. Spittoons were strategically placed throughout the White House during his tenure. He claimed he could hit his mark from 12 feet!
Lest we leave the first ladies out, some of them used snuff, as smoking was considered most unladylike until well into the 20th century. Dolley Madison, Rachel Jackson and Margaret Taylor all used snuff. Eleanor Roosevelt, Mamie Eisenhower, Jackie Kennedy, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan and Laura Bush all smoked cigarettes at one time, but had quit by the time their husbands became president.
In 1978, after Willie Nelson performed for President Carter, it’s said he snuck up to the roof and smoked what he called a big fat Austin torpedo – which is marijuana.
I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but this ain’t no joke!
“Willie Weed,” from the newly formed company Willie’s Reserve, will hit dispensary shelves in Colorado and Washington, where legalization of recreational marijuana has created a booming industry, the Associated Press reports. Nelson said he would partner with growers in both states.
So… did it help to take the ads off TV and radio? Well, do we need to put more anti-marijuana PSA’s on TV and radio instead??? That surely wouldn’t do any good in Colorado or Washington now, would it?
You know, if a person is stoned out of their mind and gets behind the wheel to drive, what are the chances that they will get where they’re going without severely injuring or killing another driver??? It will be interesting to see if the statistics increase. God help the folks in Colorado and Washington. Party on. I guess maybe Willie will make enough money to pay his taxes – or maybe he’ll be too danged stoned to realize he missed the tax deadline. It literally makes me sick to hear that man sing a gospel song. Imagine how God must feel. Shame on Willie Nelson – selling pot to line his pockets. This surely won’t end well. Jus’ sayin’… 😦