Proliferation, 1950s–1990s

Following World War II, the number of smokers in the U.S. reached unprecedented levels. According to the New York Times, by 1963 Americans were smoking 523 billion cigarettes a year. The 1950s saw a proliferation of new brands to cater to these new consumers. Increased competition fostered a boom in tobacco advertising expenditures. Ads featuring film and television stars and athletes became commonplace alongside tobacco-sponsored network television programming and advertising at sporting events. The “Marlboro Man,” an icon of tobacco advertising created by Leo Burnett in 1954, debuted in this period.

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