These days it’s no secret that if you want to smoke long-term, you’re going to have to do it at the risk of lung cancer. Turns out, filling your lungs on the daily with smoke and poison isn’t that good for you!

Unfortunately, this obvious truth hasn’t been so obvious, and some of the people we trust with our health were completely oblivious. During the early part of the 20th century, nobody really made a solid link between the droves of people contracting lung cancer and the popularity of smoking. Apparently, not even doctors.

Doctor recommended?

Though the medical community began suspecting there may be something a bit fishy about cigarettes in the 1950’s, before that nobody really knew the horrible truth. So maybe it’s no surprise that back in the old days, cigarette companies employed tons of wily techniques to claim doctors as their biggest champions. See, even before the cancer connection was discovered, there was no hiding the fact that cigarettes could cause coughing and throat irritation.

cbsnews.com

At that point, the guys in the tobacco industry set out to cash in on the promise that their cigarettes would make your throat a bit less scratchy than the other guys. The best evidence? The word of a doctor, of course.

Leading the witness: Nailin’ it

Lucky Strike seems to have kicked off the whole thing back in the 1920s. They sent out cartons of Luckys to various doctors and then asked them things like, “these totally don’t irritate your throat as bad, right?” Their responses were translated into the following ad.

magazineart.org

Camel was also among the worst offenders, claiming that “more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.” What they didn’t mention was that all the doctors surveyed were paid… and given cartons of Camels.

Puff your way to throat wellness

Then there was Phillip Morris who came up with this brilliant piece of medical advice. Now there were cigarettes that not only didn’t cause throat irritation but magically cured it as well.

magazineart.org

Even after it became pretty obvious that cigarettes were no bueno for the lungs, the tobacco industry managed to drag out the argument until 1998. At that point, a lawsuit finally said “enough already” and shut down both the Tobacco Institute and the Committee for Tobacco Research.