No Smoking!


The 1950’s, When Smoking was Fashionable
Posted on Sept 19th 2018
by irishroverpei

The photo is of a Woodbine Cigarette package in the 1950s, there was no health warnings on packages. today most brands must display a large warning printed on the front ” Smoking is Lethal”. Back in the 1950’s my father often sent me out to buy him a packet of cigarettes. I usually ended up in trouble because I always brought back the Turf brand of cigarettes. I used the same excuse each time, the shop was out of Woodbine. I did this because the Turf packets had football player cards inside.

Smoking was popular and fashionable. Just about everyone smoked, it was acceptable in restaurants, cinemas, cars, public transport and even in hospitals. I think the only place were people didn’t smoke was in church, but they lit up as soon as they got outside. Was it any wonder at aged fourteen I could hardly wait to be considered old enough to smoke. Smoking was to be accepted as an adult, it was cool, it was in vogue. Everyone in my family smoked, they had nicotine stains on their fingers and I thought that was cool too. By the time I joined the Royal Navy at age 15 I was smoking. It was probably the time when I could least afford to smoke, but smoke I did!!
In basic training boys often walked around the camp looking for cigarette butts, when they collected enough they salvaged the remaining tobacco and rolled it into a cigarette. When I went to sea cigarettes were duty free. Ashore I enjoying flashing a tin of fifty Navy issue cigarettes around civvies, the duty free 50 cans were not available on civvy street. At one point I was so carried away with the image of smoking, I had every accessory available, cigarette case, lighter, and cigarette holder. This was probably caused through the movies, all the leading stars, male or female smoked on the silver screen. They did it with great flourish, blowing rings, cleverly lighting a match off their shoe, wall or what ever else was available. flicking ash, or crushing out the butt with flare. Was it any wonder we thought smoking was cool. Thankfully we have learned and smoking today is considered disgusting, smelly, dirty and most important very unhealthy. For those remaining smokers it must be very difficult to find places to smoke. In winter we see smokers huddled outside their workplaces puffing and shivering, hardly a pleasure anymore. However the major tobacco companies are still pushing their products and targeting the young. Labels are not enough, hiding the products on store shelves is not enough. High prices are not enough. So what is the solution???? Do we ban them? outlaw them? I do not have the answers but clearly it is a nasty and anti-social addiction. Perhaps one day it will disappear from society, we can only hope. I quit smoking when I was 19, just after I had returned from the Far East. However I still suffered the effects of second hand smoke aboard ship. The worse possible second hand smoke came whilst in submarines. Smoking was restricted in submarines, but often the Captain would authorize one all round, everyone would light up and the boat would fill with smoke Ugh!!!  Today I do not tolerate anyone smoking in my space.
God Bless and keep reading.

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Belfast Social History, Family and veterans. Bookmark the permalink.

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