The latest online exhibition of The University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society examines smoking in the military and was released in November to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Dr. Alan Blum, the College’s Gerald Leon Wallace, MD, Endowed Chair in Family Medicine, also directs the center and was instrumental in the creation of the exhibition, “The Makin’s of a Nation: Tobacco & World War I,” along with Kevin Bailey, the center’s digital archivist.
The exhibition includes more than 30 original cigarette advertisements and other items and images of tobacco on the front lines of the First World War, which are part of the center’s collection, as well as collections of the Library of Congress, the National Archives and the New York Public Library. One advertisement refers to cigarettes as “Munitions of Peace.”
Smoking’s close association with the US Military started in World War I, when tobacco companies began to target military personnel through the distribution of cigarettes to servicemen and the eventual inclusion of cigarettes into rations.