Many of the most successful fundraising efforts during WWI aimed to supply soldiers with tobacco. Cigarettes were considered a luxury product at the time, but many believed that they helped to uphold morale and camaraderie in the trenches. While the shipping of luxury goods to Britain was generally reduced, the stream of imported tobacco increased throughout the war. In 1915 alone, British soldiers and sailors smoked 700 tons of pipe tobacco and 1,000 tons of cigarettes. In the United States the percentage of adult smokers in the first half of the 20th century went from less than 1% in the beginning of the century, to 50% around 1950. This increase is mostly due to how available free or cheap cigarettes were to soldiers during WWI and WWII, and to the increase in women smokers. Before the 20th century, it was generally not socially acceptable for women to smoke, but soon smoking became a symbol for the emancipated woman.
Post by Petra Hjartardottir