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An 1881 invention made it much easier to mass-produce cigarettes – but not to sell them. It was time for advertisers to get creative.

In 1881, James Bonsack developed a machine that made it far easier to mass-produce cigarettes. But at the time, other tobacco products were much more popular – so manufacturers had to find new ways of getting people’s attention. Tim Harford explains why the methods they devised are still working on consumers today.

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10 minutes

Last on

Mon 14 Oct 2019 03:50GMT

Image credit

Part of a scanned image of a page of advertisements from a special Diamond Jubilee edition of ‘Punch’ magazine which was published to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Victoria in 1897 (Credit: via Getty Images)

Sources

the Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America Allan M. Brandt, Basic Books, New York 2017

Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition Robert Proctor, University California Press, 2011

Promise Them Everything: A Cultural History of Cigarette Advertising Health Claims Terrence H. Witkowski 1991

'It's Toasted' - Sarah Vogelsong

China Population Statistics and Related Information - China Today

Impact of China National Tobacco Company's 'Premiumization' Strategy: Longitudinal findings from the ITC China Surveys (2006-2015)

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