The Story of Hitler’s Forgotten Anti-Smoking Campaign

Most of the people are not aware of this, but Hitler hated smoking. The infamous Nazi leader used to be a smoker but gave up the habit early in his life. In fact, he considered it a weakness and used to describe it as “the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man, vengeance for having been given hard liquor.”

With that being said, it’s no surprise that Nazi Germany launched the first ever anti-smoking campaign.

Here’s the story. (the article continues after the ad)

In 1939, German scientists were the first to identify the link between smoking and lung cancer. Four years later, a second paper by German scientists confirmed the study and convincingly established the fact that smoking is indeed, a direct cause of lung cancer. 

Because this was against Hitler’s vision of Aryan race, he immediately ordered for the first anti-smoking campaign. The campaign proclaimed cigarettes as “enemy of the people” and included posters, lectures, psychological counselling, nicotine gums as well as methods to make cigarettes distasteful. One of the methods, was by injecting chemicals into the cigarettes.

Photo: Wikimedia
A Nazi anti-smoking ad titled “The chain-smoker” saying “He does not devour it [the cigarette], it devours him”
Hitler himself was also pushing those in his inner circle to quit smoking. In an effort to convince them, he frequently pointed out that he had quit smoking in 1919, and that friends Mussolini and Franco were also non-smokers, unlike German enemies Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt who were smokers. He was even offering a gold watch to any of his close associates who would quit.

Photo: Wikimedia
Reine Luft, the main journal of the anti-tobacco movement, used puns and cartoons in its propaganda, such as suggesting smoking was promoted by the devil.

Despite all that, tobacco was not outlawed in Nazi Germany, as it was a great source of revenue. In 1941, tobacco taxes were accounting up to a whopping one-twelfth of the government’s income!

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Nazi Germany’s Insanely Funny Law About… Monkeys And Apes  

Photo: WikimediaWikimedia
Source: The Nazis’ Forgotten Anti-Smoking Campaign | The Nazi War on Cancer by Robert N. Proctor (1999-05-09)

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