Smoking Artifacts


Early on, the tobacco industry, the advertising industry, and manufacturers of tobacco-related products tumbled to the fact that they could market the cigarette as something more than just a smoke. These products, along with other forms of advertising, had the effect of changing cultural beliefs about women and smoking, encouraging women and society to view it as not only acceptable but as highly desirable. (A similar process is now occurring in developing countries, with the predicted consequence that smoking among women worldwide will increase from its current rate of 12% to 20% in 2025. This change is already occurring in Turkey: Smoking, which used to be unacceptable for women, now has a prevalence comparable to that of men.)

I have been collecting women’s cigarette paraphernalia for years. Here are links showing some of the artifacts I’ve acquired framing the cigarette as:

a fashion accessory
an article of makeup
the cigarette as an integral component of a meal
an instrument for forming bonds of friendship and love
a souvenir of honeymoons and cruises past

The cigarette as a fashion accessory

Purse-like cigarette cases, often beaded or bejewelled.

The cigarette as an article of makeup

Full service compacts with lipstick holders, powder compartments, cigarette holders, and sometimes even lighters.

The cigarette as an integral component of a meal

This cut glass luncheon plate has compartments for a sandwich, a coffee cup…and an ashtray. Ashtrays can be ordered for many China sets. This one is in my own China pattern, Wedgwood Florentine.
After dinner, the hostess presses the button on top of this music box. While playing “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” the box opens to reveal tubes filled with cigarettes and allows guests to help themselves. The box then closes again and the music stops.

The cigarette as an instrument for forming bonds of friendship, and even love…

Smokes shared while playing bridge…
or coffee klatching…
This carrying case speaks for itself—the perfect gift!

The cigarette as travelware

Traveling ashtrays.

The cigarette as a souvenir of a cruise or a honeymoon

…a visit to San Francisco.
… a trip to Paris …an escape to Jamaica

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