Did Winston Cigarettes Promote ‘Smoking for Two’?

Of all the dubious health claims made about the benefits of cigarette smoking, this one seemingly took the cake.

  • Published 1 April 2019

Claim

An ad for Winston brand cigarettes featured a pregnant woman touting low birth weight as a benefit of smoking.

Rating

Origin

Ubiquitous cigarette advertisements of the mid-20th century often touted to consumers that smoking particular brands of cigarettes actually provided health benefits — or at least caused less damage than rival brands. Cigarettes were frequently endorsed by doctors and dentists, and they were promoted with an array of medical-sounding claims ranging from “less irritating to the nose and throat” to “improves digestion” to “helps maintain slender figures.”

The nadir of such dubious advertising would seemingly be an ad for Winston brand cigarettes that employed the slogan “Taste Isn’t the Only Reason I Smoke” and featured a pregnant woman disdaining the notion that smoking while pregnant could result in low birth weight, proclaiming that “an easy labor” and “a slim baby” was a “win-win” scenario:

This “When you’re smoking for two …” graphic was just a fabrication and not a genuine vintage print advertisement, however. It was the winner in a “Bad Ads” Photoshop competition hosted by the Worth1000 website (now DesignCrowd), in which participants were challenged to “create a failed ad campaign — a parody of an ad that wasn’t quite right in one way or another.”

As for real cigarette ads, the following is a true example of one that perhaps can’t be beat for irony in light of modern medical knowledge:

Snopes.com
Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

Editorial
  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
Operations
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes