History of Women and Smoking

The History of Women and Smoking

The History of Women and Smoking

There was a time when it was unladylike for women to smoke. When they did, it was done defiantly, late at night, and behind closed doors. So how did we go from taboo to addiction in less than a century?

Well, as we've seen on Mad Men: advertising. In last night's season finale, Peggy Olson gets the chance to take on Philip Morris's yet-to-be-released cigarette for women at her new agency. (An account that Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce fails to get in the previous season.) Peggy has to take up smoking in order to learn what women want from their cigarettes, but at least she gets to go on her first business trip to glamorous Virginia.

Cigarette ads targeted at women always capitalize on the social climate of the time. So we've enlisted the expertise of former ad man and coauthor of The Cigarette Book: A Celebration of the Culture of Smoking Fletcher Watkins to find out how cigarette companies, advertisers, and the media made those ads stick.