advertising, which in turn causes increased consumption of a specific new product. Is it really so simple to create a market for a commodity, the use of which necessitates a change in such culturally embedded practices as tobacco consumption? None of the business practices mentioned above can be overlooked in examining how it was that sales of Duke cigarettes -- and cigarettes in general -- rose so dramatically in the 1880s. Yet it is advertising methods and messages, not technologies, that expanded markets and spurred consumption.
Whether or not any individual advertisement is effective in convincing consumers to buy a particular product, advertising's more general contribution to culture -- creating associations between commodities and specific values or ideals -- is evident, and in no case is this clearer than in that of cigarettes. This chapter traces the cultural meanings cigarettes carried when they were initially introduced into American culture, and how these meanings, because they were inconsistent with building mass markets for the product, were changed in large part through advertising. In making this argument I have concentrated on the ways in which early cigarette advertisements drew from existing discourses of gender, modernity, and race to create particular associations between cigarettes and ideals of masculinity and femininity. However, it is also important to note that the ads themselves entered into, and became part of, these same discourses. Indeed, in order to comprehend the full impact of advertising in our lives, it is crucial to consider the ways in which cultural categories such as gender, race, and modernity are often refracted, in no small part through the lens of the commodity.