logo - Join me in the 1900s mid C20th
The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as a young child

Less usual ways of advertising cigarettes
and tobacco in the past

YOU ARE HERE: home > leisure

Cigarette smoking was so widespread when I was growing up in the 1940s and early 1950s that its sales were a significant earner for the cigarette manufacturers. Consequently there were brand wars between them, and advertising was commonplace.

An internet image search on tobacco posters will readily show the large range of poster adverts. This page goes further by showing the various other ways in which cigarette manufacturers advertised.

Presumably this other form of advertising was a great help to small shops as the cigarette manufacturers paid well for the privilege of keeping their names in the public eye.

Cigarette advert for Players cigarettes on the open/closed swing tag in a glass shop door, early to mid 20th century

A cigarette advert for Players Cigarettes on the swing tag of a glass shop door, stating whether the shop was open. The open swing tag in the photo would have been reversed when the shop closed. There would also be an advert for Players on the 'closed' side. Photographed at the Black Country Museum. Note the gas lamp in the porch.


Page from a cigarette card album c1930s

Probably the best known form of cigarette advertising was through the cigarette cards that manufacturers put inside their cigarette packets. There was always pressure on smokers to buy the brand that was most likely to contain a card that would complete a set.


Advert in a 1939 magazine for Craven A cigarettes

Advert in a 1939 magazine for Craven A cigarettes. The selling point was that they were supposed to be kinder on the throat. Photographed at Tilford Rural Life Centre, 1940s event.

Cigarette advert for Players cigarettes on a wooden waste bin, c1930s

A large wooden waste bin with the Player's log on its side. Photographed on the floor of the tobacconists shop in Winchester Museum.


Rubber doormat outside shop advertising Capstan cigarettes, c1930s

Rubber doormat outside a tobacconists shop advertising Capstan cigarettes. Photographed in Swansea Bay 1940s Museum.


Paper bags printed with an advert for Sharrow's snuff, c1930s

Paper bags advertising Sharrow's snuff. Photographed in the tobacconist shop of Winchester Museum.


Old moveable cigarette advert stand for pavement

Moveable advert stand for pavement, photographed at Beaulieu.


Advert in a 1943 magazine for du Maurier filter-tip cigarettes

Advert in a 1943 magazine for du Maurier filter-tip cigarettes. At that time filter tips were rare or perhaps it was that no-one took them seriously at the time. After all - so they thought - inhaling tobacco was not dangerous. Magazine photographed in Dinefwr House.

Cigarette advert for Senior Service cigarettes on the back of a pack of playing cards, c1930s

Playing card. one of a pack with the reverse of each card advertising Senior Service cigarettes. Photographed in Eastbourne Museum of Shops.


Support wall below a shop window advertising St Bruno tobacco, 1940s

Support wall below a shop window advertising St Bruno tobacco.


Advert in a 1939 magazine for Capstan Navy Cut cigarettes, showing prices of packets of 10 and 20

Advert in a 1939 magazine for Capstan Navy Cut cigarettes. Photographed at Tilford Rural Life Centre, 1940s event.

What is really significant about this advert is that it shows the prices of cigarettes in 1939 just before the outbreak of war:

- A packet of 10 cigarettes cost 5d, i.e. 5 old pennies, and
- A packet of 20 cigarettes cost 11½d, i.e. 11½ old pennies.

Clearly it was cheaper in the long run to buy the larger packet!