She Sells Smokes: 30 “Women-Only” Vintage Tobacco Ads

Let's have a look at some examples of women selling smokes across the decades

Tobacco marketing has employed all sorts of effective (and often dubious) methods to get cigarettes into our mouths and tar into our lungs. One challenge they have faced it to get both men and women to inhale their carcinogenic fumes.

For men, it’s fairly easy.  We’ve covered this before: just feature a sexy woman, and men can’t resist.  The sex sells approach is a tried-and-true method that never fails.

For women, the most effective marketing technique is simply to feature a solitary woman in the ad. Naturally, women will relate to the product better if a fellow female represents the brand, rather than if a Marlboro man is hawking his pack of smokes. (Of course, couples smoking is an effective way to target both men and women; covered before here.)

Let’s have a look at some examples of women selling smokes across the decades:


Actress Myrna Loy “finds Luckies easy on her throat” in 1938.


Philip Morris – 1954


1955 – Actress Maureen O’Hara for Camel cigarettes


Gloria – 1958 Germany


1969 French Marlboro ad


1969 – Philip Morris

1969 French Royale Menthol – No sexual innuendo in this one, right?


1970 – Old Gold


1970 – Viceroy


1970 – Royale


1971 – L&M


1971 – L&M


1971 – Benson & Hedges


1971 – Vantage


1971 – Vantage



1974 – Tareyton 100’s


1974 – Salem


1975 – Benson & Hedges


1976 – Viceroy Super Longs


1978 – Chesterfield


1978 – Raleigh


1980 – Of course, I couldn’t do a post on women in tobacco advertising and not mention the mother-of-all female-targeted cigarette brands, Virginia Slims.  See an entire article: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby: Virginia Slims Advertising Year By Year


1980 – Doral II


1981 – Benson & Hedges Lights


1981 – More (R.J. Reynolds)


1982 – More Lights 100s

1983 – Eve (L&M)


1987 – Lucky Strike


1989 – Capri

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