"Yes, social friend, I love thee well, In learned doctor's spite; Thy clouds all other clouds dispel, And lap me in delight."
American poet Charles Sprague was so inspired by the pleasures of a good smoke that he managed to capture the beauty of it in just a few lines.
The feeling was indeed mutual for millions of people around the world who found (and continue to find) equal enjoyment in the art of smoking. In spite of the significant health risks, relaxing with a good cigarette is still a daily ritual for countless numbers of people.
Of course, there was another "art" related to smoking, and that was the art of the cigarette pack itself. Slides, shells, boxes and tins acted not only as containers, but as powerful advertising tools. Retrieving a pack from your pocket or purse allowed others to see exactly which brand you preferred, and the more eye-catching the design, the more likely others might be to remember and seek out that particular brand.
Over at the amazing Burnt Offerings site, Jim Shaw has assembled an unrivaled collection of these beautiful works of art, including many posters, trade cards and other forms of cigarette advertising. There are examples from all over the world, and most are accompanied with informative commentary from Mr. Shaw himself.
Whether you are a smoker or not, there is much to be delighted by here, and I heartily recommend you stop by for a look-see. It will be well worth your time!
Oh, and smoke 'em if you've got 'em!
Many thanks to Jim Shaw for allowing me to post these images from his site!