Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Smoke Therapy

By Sue Schuurman

FEBRUARY 1, 1999: 

Tobacco advertising has come a long way, baby. The following R.J. Reynolds ad from 1939 is inconceivable nowadays, with its claims that you're doing your health a favor to light up a Camel. Included are vignettes about a skyscraper window repairman, a ship's captain, a housewife and a dog, variously attesting to the nerve soothing, even rejuvenating effects of smoking. Rather than the Surgeon General's warning, we read instead of the challenge to "smoke 6 packs of Camels" to ascertain their worth. Joe Camel, the banned cartoon character, seems tame by comparison.

"101 STORIES UP on the world's tallest building, Sidney Evert swings in the wind with only a frail scaffold between him and--well, it's 1100 feet to the street. His work is to repair windows in the tower of the Empire State Building. Nerve straining, you bet, but as Sid Evert says: 'A fellow with jumpy nerves wouldn't last long on my job. So I ease the tension on my nerves whenever I can. I let up--light up a Camel. I find Camels soothing to the nerves...'"

"TRAPPED ON A BLAZING WRECK, Captain Hans Milton displayed courage and nerve-power that won him head-lines from coast to coast. He says: 'On the schooner Pioneer, afire 400 miles out of Halifax, we had a little food and water and some Camels. Those Camels were a great comfort through the nerve strain of worry and danger. It's a rule with me, whenever I feel my nerves getting tense, keyed-up, to let up--light up a Camel."

"'RUNNING A HOME is a full-time job,' says Mrs. Frank E. Smith, housewife and hostess, 'and every minute of it can be nerve straining. Cleaning up, planning meals, social affairs would run me pretty ragged (and add years to my looks) if I didn't make sure to protect my nerves. My way of avoiding jumpy nerves is this: The minute I feel tense and edgy, I pause--I let up--light up a Camel...'"

"A GORDON SETTER is pictured here--a handsome, muscular dog to be proud of. It's a thrill to watch his flashing action. And it's a valuable lesson to observe that after strenous activities, this dog suddenly halts ... relaxes! Though his nervous system is high-strung like our own, the dog responds quickly to the instinctive urge to rest. We don't usually look after our nerves that well. Perhaps you have often willed yourself on ... hour after hour at a task ... ignoring nerve strain. Try breaking that nerve strain occasionally--pause now and then--LET UP--LIGHT UP A CAMEL! ...'"

"COSTLIER TOBACCOS. Smoke 6 packs of Camels and find out why they are the LARGEST-SELLING CIGARETTE IN AMERICA."

--compiled by Susan Schuurman

Source: Albuquerque Journal;

Jan. 24, 1939

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