Smoking Then and Now

Apologies for a longer than usual absence – if anyone has noticed! I was chatting with a friend earlier today and our conversation prompted this post. Sue referred to the fact that when we were children, in the 1950s, the majority of adults smoked. It was so normal and accepted that as small children we just thought that was what adults did, even if we didn’t like it. People smoked indoors and out, on trains, buses and in cars, in cinemas and theatres, in restaurants and in their homes and other people’s.  Even if you were a non-smoker, it was the norm and something you just had to live with. My parents didn’t smoke but they had ashtrays handy when friends visited and a box with cigarettes in which they could offer round at gatherings. Although our house had no regular smokers in it, when people visited the house would often have been full of smoke and I don’t remember thinking this was at all odd. In fact, since smoking was what adults did (most of them) children used to role-play as grown ups by pretending to smoke.

Kids with sweet cigs

  50s children with sweet cigarettes. I can remember being able to buy sweet cigarettes and sometimes at Christmas we would be bought a smoking set – not sure what it was called – which was like a selection box but full of smoking related objects. There would be pipes, cigars, cigarettes, matches, loose tobacco etc all made out of sugar, flavouring and colouring.

sweet cigs

When I was in secondary school I can remember that if ever I had to take a message to the staff room I would knock on the door and when it was opened I would struggle to see across the room as the fug was so dense. When you got your exercise books back after they had been marked they always smelled really strongly of the staff room smoke. Looking back now I think it must have been awful to be in those staff rooms if you were one of the few who didn’t smoke.   Now in our smoke free era all of this is hard to imagine. Yes, loads of people still smoke, and many deaths are caused every year by it. But, here in the UK and many other countries, there is no smoking allowed in any public place. Nobody now has to sit in a smoke-filled room or vehicle.


20 thoughts on “Smoking Then and Now

  1. As a child use to like the sweet tobacco,as an adult used to smoke “Cambridge “cigarettes which came with “Green Shield “ stamps in them, any one else remember them ?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We had a large philodendron above the old fireplace..which was supported by..a ‘winnowing tray’ dads younger sister brought home..from the firestorm in Hawaii..pearl harbor. That went right up..over the fireplace..and the plant there..was then used to hold extra ciggies..for those, traveling, who had none. Travelers and soldiers..on quick leaves. Our family did not smoke. For those who had been without their smokes..for ..TOO long..they simply dug through the branching plants leaves,,and generations of find/consume..their decandent joy. I think we finally removed that tray and plant..about the 1990s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t know you could still get them! Does the lack of a red tip render them more socially acceptable, I wonder? I’d forgotten about smoking in doctor’s surgeries. It’s completely unimaginable now – and since well before the smoking ban. I’m exactly the same as you and have no problem with people smoking. It’s just nice to come home after being out somewhere socialising and not to have all your clothes reeking of smoke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I think they removed the red tip to make them more socially acceptable. I often found dad’s smoking in the surgery quite appalling even when I was a smoker, myself! But as you say in your post, smoking was so widely accepted and we didn’t think anything of it in most places in those days. And yes, brilliant not to have that acrid smell on clothing and everything, now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never did address the ‘candy ciggies’..but yes..we had them here also. Think I might have been in 5th grade then? With the global situations..happening to all of us now..maybe we could look into areas that meryl would have a good view the kids/students..things to do..when schools were not avail. Perhaps..the finding scraps of..whatever..around our living places..and Herb foods from times of privation? I don’t know how to address meryl directly..but..if anyone is going to be UP..for this next phase of digging/delving and creative gonna be the one. Go girl..and we await your new posts. ina

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ina. Great suggestions! Make do and mend, as people used to say! Recycling it’s called now. Rationing was just about finished when I was born (1951) but such mrecent history. The memory of that hardship lingered on and nothing was ever wasted and oh, what a crime it was to leave food on your plate! Meryl


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s