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Light up! 25 Great Cigarette Ads Through the Years

Things were so easy in the past. No one was all in your shit for partaking in vices that were bad for you. They just threw it out there to see if you’d bite. And you did, blindly and blissfully unawares. Ash-stained fingers and all.

The cigarette advertising industry was in full Mad Men swing mid-century, everyone eager to partake, charging on with this happy and carefree self-destruction. And for posterity they left behind sometimes hilarious often gorgeous advertising to sell it all.

Here are 20 of the best cigarette advertisements from the early teens all the way through to the present day. Enjoy the irony and whimsical nature of these great ads from the 20th century.

Zigarettenschachtel El Al by dlisbona.
Dubek Cigarette Company pack design by the Austrian-Jewish-Israeli graphic designer Franz Krausz.


Vintage Cigarette Ads by Nevada Tumbleweed.A Norman Rockwell-esque Camels ad, circa 1930. So adorable!

Mankin cigar adI’m sure the next thing this model puts in her mouth isn’t grapes, it’s a cigar.

Vintage cigarette adOvertly sexual or masochistic? You decide. Circa 1955.

Vintage Cigarette Ads by Nevada Tumbleweed.Fancy poem about football and a 150 yard long cigarette. Life is good.

Parliament Cigarettes by saltycotton.
This is a full double page spread. Can you even imagine this nowadays? From Life Magazine, 1961.


Ronald Reagan sends out smokes by x-ray delta one.“Today I smoke my friends. Tomorrow I smoke the country!” Thanks for the Christmas cancer, Ronald Reagan! (This was also an ad for his then movie, “Hong Kong”.)

1951--be-happy-go-Lucky by x-ray delta one.Good old Lucky Strikes, keeping former GIs hooked till 1951.

Tiparillo M - 1967 by rchappo2002.Super hot ad for Tiparillos’ cigarellos. The ad copy is just precious, 1967 (Click to enlarge)

Benson & Hedges - 1974 by rchappo2002.Ah, the glory days of smoking on airplanes. 1974

True Cigarette Advertisment 1976 by jackie.Because continuing to smoke will allow you to pursue your active lifestyle. 1967

1935 Lucky Strike Cigarette Ad by Nevada Tumbleweed.1935, just about the time that tobacco advertisers decided that women would buy just as many cigarettes as men!

Cigarette Franchez by DoubleM2.Fabulous vintage cigarette ad, circa 1911, France

Ad for Dubek cigarettes by dlisbona.Dubek cigarettes, another Franz Kraus design.

Lucky Strike Ad (LIFE 1936-12-21) by Fugue.Bad, bad Santa! Life Magazine, 1936

LIFE 1963-05-03 Chesterfield King Ad by Fugue.Manly guys smoke. Didn’t you know? Terrible grammar though. Life Magazine, 1963

Lucky Strike Ad (LIFE 1937-01-18) by Fugue.Something about vigorous activity and cigarettes that just go together. Life Magazine, 1937

Villemot 1952 papier à cigarettes, maquettes by nelson ebelt.Fabulous design on this, Villemot ad. 1952, Papier à Cigarettes, Maquettes

Cigarette Advertising by Fugue.Soviet-era propaganda art in advertising. Smoke away your communist sorrows.

L & M Ad (Popular Science - October 1972) by Fugue.By the 70s the tobacco advertisers gave up on the taste angle going more for the physical reactions your body gets by smoking. This is the quintessential cigarette romance. From popular Science Magazine, 1972.

Camel Ad (Popular Science - January 1973) by Fugue.Even the 70s hippie hold-outs were done in. Popular Science 1973.

Just Ad Stupidity by docpi.Cigarette ads on bus stops is just mean! Darmstadt, Germany, 2009.

Bus Stop, up close by Bill Ward's Brickpile.
Especially when naked people are added in! Ratingen, Germany, circa 2001.


Lord Ultra & Ultima_01 by linn_yvonne.
This translates to “After me.” The albino snake and angel pixel make less sense. 1990 Germany.


Roll´s_02 by linn_yvonne.Bonnie and Clyde’s favorite brand, allegedly. Late 80s Germany.

*all photos link back to their source

Okay, cigarette smoking is bad for you. Many of these people are already dead. If you feel like you don’t want to die from emphysema maybe make a call to some substance abuse treatment centers and feel better about your future.

TV Commercials That Will Knock Your Socks Off – totally entertaining or otherwise beautiful commercials that won’t cease to blow you away.



The Best Sci-Fi Films of the 1970slove or hate the decade, you can’t deny these movies were awesome.

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9 Responses to Light up! 25 Great Cigarette Ads Through the Years

  1. Rachel Wormston 12/26/2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Damn. All these ads are makin’ me wanna light up :)

    • Nico 12/27/2012 at 10:31 am #

      You only live once, Rachel. Don’t let the Nazis hold you back!

  2. shakeel sunny 12/14/2012 at 9:35 am #

    Dear Sir I am glad to seen your 70s commercials and sad that I not find that comercial which always reminds me my childhood I am now 45 and in my teen age I last time had seen commercial
    I am telling you that words kindly let me know its link and also tell me you ever seen this commercial?
    That commercial was Mans demand capstan Cigarette and it was made I think in four countries one I remember was Budapest(Hungry).
    God bless on you
    waiting for your reply
    shakeel sunny

  3. sunny 12/03/2011 at 9:54 am #

    Dear friend
    If you remember in those days there was beautiful cinema commercial we used to see in 70s in Pakistan. Just before start of every film commercial was shown which was “Mans demand Capstan Cigarette” I think it was made in 3 to 4 countries and in Budapest (Hungry) also.
    Kindly upload this again after so many years. last time when I watched that commercial I was small boy and now I am 42 years of age. I am so impatient to see that Commercial again.
    God bless on you always
    with regards
    your friend

    • Nico 12/03/2011 at 11:10 am #

      I’ll look for it. Thanks for the comment!

      • shakeel hussain 08/08/2013 at 7:42 am #

        kindly upload that commercial of 70s mans demand capstan cigrette
        I am impatiently waiting for


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