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Robert Jackler
Sewall Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
Professor, by courtesy, of Neurosurgery and Surgery, School of Medicine
Professor, Otolaryngology
Clayman Institute Faculty Research Fellow 2011-12

Robert Jackler, a Stanford School of Medicine faculty member, has been studying the impact tobacco advertising, marketing, and promotion for the last five years. Although Jackler’s interest began when his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, it has now become his primary scholarly endeavor. Over the last five years, Robert Jackler and his wife, Laurie, have amassed a collection of over 10,000 original tobacco ads they call the “Not a Cough in a Carload: Images from the campaign by the tobacco industry to hide the hazards of smoking.” This year they donated the originals to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution where they will be available to scholars in perpetuity. The collection spans from the 1890s through the present day. A central theme is that today’s tobacco advertising and marketing is cut from the same cloth as that from what we call the “era of overt hucksterism” when campaigns such as “More Doctors Smoke Camels” predominated. Today’s tobacco industry advertising is focused upon enticing young people to start smoking to replace the ever dwindling number of older smokers. To tell the story of tobacco advertising, Robert and Laurie created a museum exhibit which has travelled to the New York Public Library, Harvard, Vanderbilt, Washington University, and about a dozen other locations including 3 in Brazil. Over the last few years, the exhibit website has had nearly 4 million page views (

In a major, multiyear project Robert and Laurie are working to create a comprehensive digital resource for scholars which includes extensive metadata including detailed descriptions and analysis of each image in historical context. They recently began to evaluate the role of social media in tobacco promotion and have started a project “Behind the Smoke” to help teens recognize tobacco industry manipulation. Their current research has a strong focus on analyzing how the tobacco industry targeted women beginning in the 1920s and continues to do so, with vigor, today. They have assembled hundreds of newspaper articles regarding attitudes towards women smoking in the era spanning 1880-1940.

During the year as Clayman fellow, Robert and Laurie Jackler are undertaking a project titled: “How Miss Virginia became known as “Slim” – Tobacco ads that promise smoking will make women slender.” Almost all current “women’s” cigarette brands are titled either slim, slender, or thin. This project will show how the promise embodied in the 1920’s slogan as “Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet” has continued unabated over the last 90 years.

Further information is available from his website