Elizabeth McM. sent in this Life magazine ad from 1936 in which Camel cigarettes are argued to facilitate digestion. Accordingly, you should smoke at least one between every course! The ad (text below):
I am hard pressed to imagine that such an ad would fly today. That these ads would not only be un-palatable, but impermissible, is evidence that the power of corporations is not absolute.
Thanksgiving Dinner… and then the peaceful feeling that comes from good digestion and smoking Camels!
OFF TO A GOOD START — with hot spiced tomato soup. And then–for digestion’s sake–smoke a Camel right after the soup.
THE MAIN EVENT — The time-honoured turkey of our forefathers–done to a crisp and golden brown–and flanked by a mountain of ruby cranberry jelly. By all means enjoy a second helping. But before you do–smoke another Camel. Camels ease tension. Speed up the flow of digestive fluids. Increase alkalinity. Help your digestion to run smoothly.
DOUBLE PAUSE — First–for the crisp refreshment of a Waldorf Salad–then–once again, for the sheer pleasure of Camel’s costlier tobaccos. This double pause clears the palate–and sets the stage for desert.
WHAT WILL YOU HAVE FOR DESSERT? Reading in a circle, there’s luscious Pumpkin Pie… Mince Pie a la mode… layer cake with inch-deep icing… a piping-hot Plum Pudding… and Camels to add the final touch of comfort and good cheer. For when digestion proceeds smoothly, you experience a sense of ease and well-being.
SO TO A HAPPY ENDING — over coffee and your after-dinner Camels. Enjoy Camels–every mealtime–between courses and after eating–and you can lean back in your chair feeling on top of the world.
Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
FOOD EDITOR — Miss Dorothy Malone says: “It’s smart to have Camels on the table. My own personal experience is that smoking Camels with my meals and afterwards builds up a sense of digestive well-being.”
“THE BEST MEAL I ever ate would be a disappointment if I coldn’t enjoy Camels,” says William H. Ferguson, salesman. “I smoke Camels as an aid to digestion. There’s nothing like Camel’s to set you right.”
Good food and good tobacco go together naturally!
Right down the line–from explorers living on “iron rations” to the millions of men and women who’ll heartily enjoy a big Thanksgiving dinner–it is agreed that Camels set you right! You enjoy more food more and have a feeling of greater ease after eating when you smoke Camels between courses and after meals.
Enjoy Camels all you wish–all through the day. Camel’s costlier tobaccos as supremely mild. Steady smokers say that Camel’s never tire the taste or get on the nerves. And when you’re tired, try this: get a “lift” with a Camel!
Camels are made from finer, MORE EXPENSIVE TOBACCOS . . . Turkish and Domestic . . . than any other popular brand.
FOR DIGESTION’S SAKE — SMOKE CAMELS
Luey — November 23, 2010
So that's five cigarettes in total during dinner! I have been a smoker but even I always thought cigarettes taste disgusting. I can't imagine a better way to ruin a meal than to have cigarettes as a "palate cleanser".
For those who lived during this era, was this just ad hyperbole, or did people really smoke between courses? And did they actually feel that the taste added to their enjoyment of the meal?
Nectarine — November 23, 2010
All the obviously smoking promo's aside, it seems strange to see "costlier" as a selling point!
K — November 23, 2010
The time-honored turkey of our forefathers
Jason — November 23, 2010
Oddly enough, raising alkalinity in the GI tract would actually make digestion worse, not better. Our guts evolved to have super-low pH for a reason (namely, breaking down everything into simple components chemically and killing most microorganisms), so raising the pH would make it more difficult to digest food.
Not to mention that lung cancer, asthma, and other bronchial problems reduce oxygenation of the blood, making it more difficult to digest because the cells in the GI tract aren't working as efficiently.
Ollie — November 23, 2010
It wouldn't be permissible, but ad's today are likely doing the same thing with different words and different products. There are all sorts of ridiculous products that help you to "cleanse your system" or other such nonesense.
Sure we know that cigarettes are bad for us, but i'm sure there is a long list of products out there that will seem just are ridiculous to society 70 years from now.
Jones — November 23, 2010
My girlfriend tried to get me to quit smoking by asking my doctor to tell me that smoking aggravated my digestion problems. The doctor not only refused, but told us that it probably helped, which is precisely what I had argued before. I had a good long laugh at that.
I think the problem is tobacco companies, not tobacco. It should be bought organic at the farmer's markets.
Emily — November 24, 2010
I don't smoke (allergies and such anyway) and maybe it's just this time of year, but my first thought was "And if your extended family is anything like mine, you'll be thrilled to have a chance to have an excuse to step outside and relax!".
Uncle So-and-So starts being an ass? SMOKE BREAK!
Grandma has a few too many and starts saying really racist stuff? SMOKE BREAK!
. . . Actually that would probably be a decent marketing campaign. Better not give anyone ideas.
Of course in my family my mom perfected the art of never EVER being parked in so she could leave whenever things got too obnoxious.
emjaybee — November 24, 2010
This ad is mentioned in the book "Thank You For Smoking" (which the movie was based on) a hilarious tale of a tobacco lobbyist in DC. (The movie was not as good, IMO).
Vintage Thanksgiving Cigarette Ad | CMYBacon — November 25, 2010
[...] (Via The Society Pages) [...]
thewhatifgirl — November 25, 2010
It's a much less important aspect of this ad, but does anyone else find strange the ORDER that they are eating the food in? Salad AFTER the main course? I've known for awhile that there are trends in the types of food people eat, and in how those foods are prepared, but I didn't realize that there might also be a trend in the order they are eaten in.
decius — November 25, 2010
"So the pattern I now see, more than ever, is that people who live in a certain period of time start to evoke their own values on the previous eras and are shocked or disappointed or ignorant that the era is going to maintain what happened back then regardless of what happened later.”
-Jason Scott, Historian, 2010
mike — February 9, 2023
Reads like an insipid modern blog about antioxidants or furnace filters -- blather and inuendo that somehow comes across as legit but is based on nothing at all ...