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UCSF Hosts Exhibit on Historic Tobacco Advertising

The UCSF Library and Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education are hosting "Not a Cough in a Carload: Images from the Tobacco Industry's Campaign to Hide the Hazards of Smoking." This exhibit of historic cigarette advertising and promotional items was curated by Robert Jackler and Robert Proctor, two Stanford University experts on tobacco industry marketing, and artist Laurie Jackler. The exhibit will run through Feb. 29 on the fifth floor of the UCSF Library at 530 Parnassus Ave., San Francisco. The library is open Monday through Thursday, 7:45 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday, 10:00 am to midnight. An online version of the exhibit can be seen on the Stanford website. Early in the last century, when questions about the health effects of smoking became a topic of widespread discussion, tobacco companies undertook a multi-faceted campaign to allay the public's fears. As terms like "smoker's cough" and "coffin nails" (referring to cigarettes) began to appear in the popular vernacular, tobacco marketers recognized the need to counter this threat to their livelihood. One strategy was to use endorsements by healthy and vigorous appearing singers, Hollywood stars and elite athletes. Another was to raise fears over weight gain:
Images of the physicians were frequently used to sell cigarettes: Doctors were depicted as satisfied and enthusiastic partakers of the smoking habit. Images of medical men (and a few token women) appeared under soothing reassurances of the safety of smoking. Liberal use was also made of pseudo-scientific medical reports and surveys. The exhibit shows - principally through advertising images - how, between the late 1920s and the early 1950s, tobacco companies used deceptive and often patently false claims in an effort to reassure the public of the safety of their products. Stanton Glantz, PhD, an internationally recognized tobacco control advocate and UCSF professor, says, "This exhibit is an excellent graphic representation of how the tobacco industry misled the American public for decades about the health effects of cigarettes. Unfortunately, they are still doing it today, albeit by subtler methods." UCSF University Librarian Karen Butter notes, "The exhibit complements the UCSF tobacco document digital libraries, giving graphic images to the millions of documents that describe the careful research that goes into the development of the advertising campaigns." Related Links: Not a Cough in a Carload: Images from the Tobacco Industry's Campaign to Hide the Hazards of Smoking Stanford University UCSF Library and Center for Knowledge Management UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education Legacy Tobacco Documents Library at UCSF British American Tobacco Documents Archive at UCSF