For the first half of the 20th century, tobacco advertising was virtually unregulated. In that environment, companies used cigarette spokespeople that are laughable to modern audiences. Even doctors and babies sold cigarettes.Early 20th century tobacco ads, for example, claimed that cigarettes were a cure-all product that could help smokers lose weight and ease the symptoms of asthma.
In the 1960s consumers became more aware that smoking leads to cancer, and in 1965 legislation passed that mandated that cigarette packs and advertisements have warnings.
The government would continue to crack down on tobacco for the rest of the century, especially after another famous spokesman — Joe Camel — became appealing to kids.
Tobacco companies looked for Olympic athletes to promote their products. The claim that Camels relieved fatigue and renewed energy were found deceptive in 1939.
Winston sponsored the Flintstones and made ads that showed Wilma, Fred, Barney, and Betty lighting up.
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