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January 10, 2015

22 Vintage Photographs That Capture Women Smoking Cigarettes in the 1950s

In 1950s America cigarette smoking was the epitome of cool and glamour. Hollywood icons such as James Dean and Humphrey Bogart were never without one. Screen beauties such as Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich made smoking look sensual and sophisticated.

By the late 1950s around half of the population of industrialized nations smoked - in the UK up to 80% of adults were hooked. The product was cheap, legal and socially acceptable.

Cigarettes were originally sold as expensive handmade luxury goods for the urban elite. It was not until mass-production methods coupled with aggressive marketing that the industry began to see off traditional pipe-smoking and tobacco-chewing habits, particularly in the United States.

Below is a collection of 22 vintage photographs captured women smoking cigarettes in the 1950s.

German actress Hildegard Knef in Munich, 1951. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Hildegard Knef at her London hotel. 18th November 1952. She is modeling the outfit she plans to wear to the premiere of her latest film, The Snows of Kilimanjaro. (Photo by Ron Case/Keystone/Getty Images)

A woman modeling a dress and smoking a cigarette. 23rd February 1953. (Photo by Chaloner Woods/Getty Images)

A woman smoking a long cigarette which she has constructed using a rolling machine. April 1953. (Photo by BIPS/Getty Images)

A teenage girl smoking a marijuana “reefer” in New York. June 1953. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

A theatre chorus girl smoking a cigarette in an elegant holder, 1954. (Photo by John Chillingworth/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Smoking four cigarettes at once. From a series of images parodying women's lifestyle and beauty magazines, 1955. (Photo by Jacobsen/Getty Images)

Naturally, it is important that a baby learn the right habits. This woman demonstrates that smoking is wrong for babies, 1955. From a series of images parodying women's lifestyle and beauty magazines. (Photo by Jacobsen/Getty Images)

A woman smoking in Newcastle. 19th March 1955. (Photo by Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Aspiring actress Jean turns to drink to drown her sorrows after another unsuccessful day looking for work in New York, circa 1955. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

Model Bonnie Sharie uses a long cigarette holder with an unusual wine glass attachment, circa 1955. (Photo by Jacobsen /Three Lions/Getty Images)

A member of a teenage girl gang lying in bed smoking a cigarette, circa 1955. (Photo by Vecchio/Three Lions/Getty Images)

An office worker leaves her typewriter for a moment for a smoke, and anxiously crushes out another cigarette into an already full ashtray, 1955. (Photo by John Sadovy/BIPs/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II holding a camera at the Olympic Horse Trials at Badminton, whilst Princess Margaret sits behind her, smoking a cigarette and watching the action. Also in the group is Group Captain Peter Townsend (left). 13th October 1955. (Photo by Reg Birkett/Keystone/Getty Images)

Spanish fashion model, Teresita Montes, sister of the film star Maria Montes, sitting under a Parisian beauty salon's hairdryer smoking a cigarette. October 1955. (Photo by Serge Berton/BIPs/Getty Images)

Two women chatting at a coffee bar in London. 4th November 1955. (Photo by Alex Dellow/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Drinking and smoking in the Mannequin Club, 1956. (Photo by Vagn Hansen/BIPs/Getty Images)

Austrian actress Julia Arnall, leaning against a shop window and smoking a cigarette. 27th February 1956. (Photo by Thurston Hopkins/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A young woman lighting a cigarette as she sits on a New York park bench at night, circa 1957. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

Richard Burton  and Claire Bloom attend a reception at the Dorchester Hotel, London, to launch their latest film, Look Back in Anger. August 1958. (Photo by Edward Wing/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Barbara French lights her cigarette with the smallest ever gas lighter at the International Watch and Jewellery Trade Fair, Albert Hall, London, 1959. The lighter, solid gold with a set diamond, is designed by Norman Hartnell. (Photo by Ron Case/Getty Images)

English actor and comedian Tony Hancock shares a joke with actress Hattie Jacques during a break from the “Hancock’s Half Hour” rehearsals. 21st October 1959. (Photo by John Pratt/Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)



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