The end-of-year holiday is fast approaching and hopefully you have finished your shopping. Back in “the day” the tobacco industry came through during the holidays by providing cigarettes in festive cartons to help you with your wrapping for friends and family who smoked. Lucky Strike went as far as to make a collector’s tin with 50 cigarettes. The tin matched their green packaging that was popular up to the 1940s and World War II. Nothing said you cared like giving cartons (or a tin) of cancer and tobacco-related illnesses at the holidays.
Of course Santa wasn’t the only celebrity pushing tobacco-giving during the holidays. The tobacco companies also used stars of the day like Ronald Reagan, Joan Crawford and a host of others to sell their products. Many of the stars were given cases of tobacco for promoting the product in movies and in advertisements for the tobacco companies and of course they smoked the free products. Those who smoked also died from tobacco-related diseases.
Years ago pipe smoking was popular and the tobacco industry didn’t want to leave out their pipe smokers during the holidays. Who better to promote pipe tobacco than Santa himself who was known to hold his pipe in his teeth as he delivered gifts. Loose pipe tobacco, such as Prince Albert, came in decorated tins or boxed to help you with gift giving. Of course, the current Christmas tins of loose tobacco sort of lose the holiday spirit with warnings “smoking kills” but it does get the message across. These tins with large warnings are from the UK.
And let’s not forget about vaping. Santa has decided after all these years he would rather vape than smoke a cigarette or a pipe, at least according to the man on the billboard. He doesn’t quite look like the Santa we know and he doesn’t even go by that name, but the resemblance is close enough to give kids of all ages the idea that if the man in the red suit vapes, it must be safe.
Tobacco isn’t the only product that used Christmas to promote themselves. Stores, perfumes, coffee, soft drinks and cars all used the holiday to their advantage, but it is difficult to forget the boxed gift packages from the tobacco industry you didn’t have to wrap. Here’s one more ad to the right, this time from a company that developed a smoking cessation aid when you want help to quit.
Here’s to a smoke-free, nicotine-free 2018. Happy Holidays.