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Tobacco & Smoking


During the 1950s it was usual for a TV show's leading character to not only use the sponsor's product on camera but actively hawk it on-the-air.

One such example was TVs first private eye Martin Kane (William Gargan) from MARTIN KANE, PRIVATE EYE/NBC/1949-54 whose favorite hangout was Happy McMann's tobacco shop.

Martin routinely visited the store during every episode and openly requested the sponsor's brand of cigarettes. The series was sponsored by Old Briar Tobacco and Sano & Encore cigarettes.

According to Variety, Camel cigarettes was the first cigarette company to stake a claim in the major daytime TV programming with Cavalier cigarettes, an R.J. Reynolds product.

As the cost of television production increased, the single sponsorship of a series slowly disappeared and so did their control over the scripts and the practice of putting in overt plugging of a product.

In 1964, debate over the airing of cigarette commercials heated up after the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report finding smoking a health hazard ("DUH!").

Helped by pressure from the American Medical Association, the Federal government banned the broadcast of cigarette advertisements in America on both television and radio beginning January 1971 (per the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969). This ban effectively stripped the broadcast business of about $200 million in advertising profits.

In addition, the Television Code of the National Association of Broadcasters was revised to admonish the "glamorous, romantic or heroic" depiction of cigarette smoking in programming.

In 1986, the AMA asked for new Federal laws prohibiting tobacco advertising in magazines, newspapers and billboards.

Yul Brynner, famous throughout the world for his role of the King in the musical "The King & I" died of lung cancer on October 10, 1985 at the age of 65 years.

A five-pack-a-day smoker, Brynner warned against the deadly habit during an interview on a segment of GOOD MORNING AMERICA in January 1985. Brynner said:

"I really wanted to make a commercial when I discovered that I was sick and my time was so limited...It would say...Now that I'm gone, I tell you: don't smoke. Whatever you do just don't smoke...If I could take back that smoking we wouldn't be talking about any cancer. I'm convinced of that."

With the permission of Brynner's family, the American Cancer Society produced a television spot incorporating Yul's powerful anti-smoking sentiments.

The above listings are references to TV celebrities and characters who savored the addictive satisfaction of tobacco products or just used them as props during their acting career.

Tobacco is TREASON - Be a Patriot - Don't Smoke

"How the Tobacco Industry Killed American Soldiers in World War 2"

Kay Howard: Smoking causes mouth, lung cancer, emphysema....
Beau Felton: Oh my god, you quit smoking. You committed this madness without consulting me first? Are you nuts? You're selfish. You ex-smokers are more relentless than AA or the Moonies or those born-again vegetarians. Well, I'll tell you what, I'm not gonna let you bully me about this. I don't wanna hear about how your lungs are pinker than a newborn baby's or how you're free of mucus and phlegm. It's all a bunch of nonsense. It's all a bunch of crap. I don't want you counting the number of days you've gone without a cigarette when you're supposed to be watching my back. You put my life on the line. I'll put in for hazard pay. No, you know what? I'll put in for another partner.

-- Homicide: Life on the Street


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