Smoking used to be something people did, like sleeping or breathing or fightin' Germans. But then, in 1952, Reader's Digest published an article titled "Cancer By The Carton." The cigarette companies, unsurprisingly, freaked right the hell out. Different companies came up with different approaches to assure the public that their cigarette was the safest way to protractedly kill yourself. Some went the straight-up bullshit route -- like the infamous "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette" marketing campaign -- but at least one company set out to actually make their cigarettes safer.
... and ran infamous ad campaigns about it.
Lorillard Tobacco introduced their Kent brand, a filtered cigarette in a time where filtering cigarettes was basically unconstitutional. Kent's patented Micronite filter was touted as the healthiest way to smoke, and smokers snapped that shit right up, burning their way through 13 billion Kents between 1952 and 1956. Unfortunately, all those billions of filters that America had so enthusiastically sucked on were made out of "Bolivian blue" asbestos -- a type of asbestos that hates your lungs with a passion even fiercer than the most unfiltered, untamed tobacco.
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