Why is there so much smoking in "I Love Lucy"?

It just seems crazy today. I know smoking was more accepted in the past than it is today, but “I Love Lucy,” especially the earlier episodes, seems like one big smoking ad.

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Aubrey Stamm
April 29, 2020 4:34PM

Well, I Love Lucy was literally sponsored by Phillip Morris, a cigarette company. In fact, in the show’s earlier years, Phillip Morris was its only sponsor, and all of that smoking was product placement—and during commercial slots, outright advertisement from Lucy and Desi.

I Love Lucy aired in the 1950s, a time when the tide hadn’t quite shifted when it came to attitudes toward smoking. Smoking prevalence only began decreasing in 1964 (seven years after I Love Lucy stopped airing) as the health risks became more apparent to the public. In 1970, cigarette advertisements were banned from radio and television altogether.


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