In the late 19th century, cigarettes were seen as lower-status than cigars, which –crucially– were proving altogether harder to mechanize but the secret to increase its production –and therefore, sales– was in advertising. The idea originated in Virginia by James Bonsack, an inventor who needed to boost its economy (and actually did). By 1923, cigarettes had become the most popular way for Americans to consume tobacco.
Many early advertising campaigns now raise eyebrows. Lucky Strikes, for instance, were pitched as an aid to slimming. “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet,” ran the tagline.