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December 28, 2022

20 Amazing Vintage Photos of Marlene Dietrich Smoking Cigarettes

Smoking is often used in acting performances to flesh out a character or setting, particularly to signify a sense of sophistication, historical authenticity, or rebelliousness.


In the old days, you knew a character was going to be cool when they pulled out a smoke. Those little tobacco sticks have been the hallmark of glamour and grit since the silent film era. Think Marlene Dietrich, inhaling thick smoke through dark lips, she reportedly smoked up to 50 cigarettes a day. Cigarettes were as sexy as they are deadly. But that was then.

Smoking onscreen used to be ubiquitous because, well, everybody smoked. There was no need for props because tobacco companies lined up to sponsor TV shows, and paid hefty sums for strategic movie placement and celebrity endorsements.

The ban on broadcast advertising of smoking and tobacco products in the 1970s caused an immediate, notable decrease in smoking onscreen. But those numbers shifted once more in the 1980s, when tobacco companies began to establish product placement campaigns with major Hollywood studios. The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and other public safety initiatives burned the overt marketing connection between tobacco and entertainment. Still, realistic (and unsponsored) depictions of smoking continue to be prevalent on TV and in film.
























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