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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Smoking ban - I guess that includes Cigarette Week ?!


Effective immediately, smoking near sports fields where children are playing is against the law.

Even a couple of decades ago, it would have been hard to fathom just how far-ranging public smoking bans would become. I recall smoking at university, able to butt out on the ashtray located outside the classroom door. Just a few years earlier, the back four rows of classes were reserved for smokers !

When I was a teenager I volunteered at the HSC and smoking was allowed patient lounges and, in cases where patients were bedridden at "The Rehab" (Rehabilitation and Respiratory Hospital), INSIDE their hospital rooms !

July 13, 1944, Winnipeg Free Press

I came across an odd local event from the summer of 1944 called Cigarette Week !

It was part of the wartime effort to raise money for 'smokes for the boys' who were fighting or imprisoned overseas. Though 1944 was likely the biggest campaign seen in Winnipeg, cigarette drives for were not a new thing in the city.


Eaton's Ad 1944
The St. James Legion held tag days and other fundraisers as early as 1941. Eaton's Winnipeg store collected pennies at their tills, (a program which was soon rolled out across the country.) The Kinniciniks Chapter of the Order of Victory Boosters was created in 1941 to raise funds for cigarettes.


Winnipeg Tribune, July 1942 (source)

Internationally, the Overseas League Tobacco Fund, (part of the Royal Overseas League which still exists today), began as a World War I venture to send manufactured cigarettes and tobacco to troops serving in far flung reaches of the Commonwealth.

That first campaign ran from 1914 to 1918 and Canada was the leading contributor with an astonishing £54,000 in donations. That money, pooled with other countries, was enough to purchase 324,860,000 cigarettes and 4.75 million pouches of tobacco. (The Canadian Expeditionary Forces received 59,500,000 smokes and 1,026,000 packets of tobacco from that war chest.)


In World War II the Overseas League were back at it with Canada, again, a leading contributor. At the national level the fund sent 150 million cigarettes overseas by June 1944. The national chair, E. James Bennett, said in a press wire story that “Every Canadian who landed in France with the invading armies was given 100 cigarettes which were largely supplied by our fund.”


Card Enclosure (Source)

Sending cigarettes was seen as one's patriotic duty and a way to reach out to soldiers.

When you gave your donation you were asked to personalize a 'best wishes' card. The completed cards were inserted into the individual packages before being distributed. Grateful troops
often wrote back from the front or their hospital beds.

You just wouldn't see a headline like this today !
Jan 11, 1943 Winnipeg Tribune

In 1944 the Kinniciniks, who surely had the largest ongoing local cigarette drive, and the Canadian Chapter of the Overseas League teamed up for Cigarette Week in Winnipeg on July 10 - 15, 1944.

Collection booths were set up in a number of prominent locations across the city, including the Bay Department Store, Peppers Grill at Portage and Main and Gray's Drug Store at Main and Higgins.


The chair of the event was volunteer extraordinaire Mrs. Agnes Drummond. Aside from heading up the Kinniciniks, she was a driving force for decades on the boards of numerous  charitable and church groups.

Cigarette Week 1944 raised nearly $5,000 which is a lot of smokes, considering that a quarter bought four packs ! That didn't end the cigarette drives for 1944, (as Mrs. Drummond reminded people "Every week is a cigarette week".) The two groups teamed up again at Christmas and other special occasions.

Mmm...Turf !
July 4, 1940, Winnipeg Tribune

4 comments:

cherenkov said...

Great research, as always!

That headline is hilarious...

Blake Persson said...

I am happy that i moved to electronic cigarettes, such bans are really annoying for smoking people, i guess they should also consider switching to ecigs so that they can smoke freely.

Gavin Timothy said...

You should not smoke specially when kids are around, it is not only dangerous for their health but also can attract them to this thing, children can easily adopt such kind of things from their elders.

Tatiana Rodriguez said...

Second hand smoke is very dangerous, you can't imagine how badly it can damage your health, this is why the authorities are making smoking bans more strict so that people can stay away from this killing machine.