Cartoons: Joking about Smoking

Smoking is no laughing matter, but back when most people lit up, cartoonists found plenty of ways to poke some fun.

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Man lost in cigarettes' smoke needs his wife to tell him when there are people near.
“Just a minute. I’ll tell him you’re here.”
November 24, 1956


Two men talk in a living room; one of them asks if it's ok for him to smoke.
“Edith won’t mind if you smoke. As long as you don’t exhale.”
November 24, 1956


Woman shows her friend a shower faucet above her bed, installed to douse her husband when he smokes in it.
“John smokes in bed.”
October 8, 1955


Man tells his boss that he is smoking in spite of the "No smoking" sign because he is a slow reader.
“I’m a very slow reader!”
July 7, 1956


Man smokes in a giant ash tray
“I finally bought a practical ash tray for Fred.”
June 18, 1955


An ex-smoker struggles to stay sane in a party filled with smokers.
“You have to give him credit. He hasn’t touched a cigarette in 28 days.”
Don Tobin
April 28, 1951


Two kids get sick from smoking
“Do you feel any throat irritation or are you too sick to know?”
March 3, 1951


Man lights an attractive woman's cigarette while dancing with his wife.
December 18, 1954


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  1. I am glad smokers are in the minority now because smoking is very irritating to the non smoker ,and health wise.

  2. I can’t stand cigarette smoke at all, but LOVE these cartoons. I don’t even know if I can pick a favorite. Well, that’s not exactly true, but it’s definitely harder. As entertaining as they are, there’s an undercurrent of disdain, resentment and even anger that spoke to the people then that weren’t happy about them. They may have been in the minority, powerless to do much about it, but these cartoons, though quite funny, still tapped into the dark shadows of lighting up.

    #4 surprised me that there likely were places with no smoking signs in ’56. #6 shows how addictive cigarettes were for people trying to quit! #7 is a bit shocking and would be a real no-no today, but the drawing’s too cute not to love. It also talks of throat irritation the boy probably heard on TV commercials back then of ‘less throat irritation’ with ‘their’ brand. With #8 I can’t tell if this guy is dancing with ‘another woman’ with his wife sitting there, or he’s dancing with his wife and has designs on the other woman. Lighting her cigarette like that! Naughty and unhealthy.

    #5 is my most favorite. Fred literally sitting in an ashtray. At least the ashes were confined to one area. The smoke, not so much.


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