White and black text inside a red and white rectangle on a white background with black speckles.
© 1992 EPHEMERA, INC.
The original phrase, "Where there's smoke, there's fire," has been modified as an anti-smoking message to those who smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking became popular after World War II, and it would be decades before people truly understood the dangers of tobacco. Studies conducted in the 1940s and 50s showed links between smoking and cancer; however, physicians still debated it.
In 1961, the American Cancer Society urged President Kennedy to investigate the health hazards of smoking. The result was the 1964 Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service. During the 1970s, the Surgeon General warned about the dangers of smoking while pregnant. In the 1980s, concerns grew over second-hand smoke effects on children.
The 1990s saw a rise in anti-smoking groups fighting back against big tobacco. Activists held boycotts, produced extensive media campaigns, and made it uncool to smoke using buttons like this. The average smoking rate fell 40% in the 1970s to 32% in the 1980s and down to 26% in the 1990s.
Yale University Library. (2020). Selling smoke: Tobacco advertising and anti-smoking campaigns. https://onlineexhibits.library.yale.edu/s/sellingsmoke/page/antismoking