Taylor-Scott Hardin parades down New York's Fifth Avenue with
her husband while smoking "torches of freedom,"a gesture
of protest for absolute equality with men.
sales would soar if [they] could entice women to smoke in public.
the mid-1920s smoking had become commonplace in the United States
and cigarette tobacco was the most popular form of tobacco consumption.
At the same time women had just won the right to vote, widows were
succeeding their husbands as governors of such states as Texas and
Wyoming, and more were attending college and entering the workforce.
While women seemed to be making great strides in certain areas,
socially they still were not able to achieve the same equality as
their male counterparts. Women were only permitted to smoke in the
privacy of their own homes. Public opinion and certain legislation
at the time did not permit women to smoke in public, and in 1922
a woman from New York City was arrested for lighting a cigarette
on the street.
Washington Hill, president of the American Tobacco Company and an
eccentric businessman, recognized that an important part of his
market was not being tapped into. Hill believed that cigarette sales
would soar if he could entice more women to smoke in public.
1928 Hill hired Bernays to expand the sales of his Lucky Strike
cigarettes. Recognizing that women were still riding high on the
suffrage movement, Bernays used this as the basis for his new campaign.
He consulted Dr. A.A. Brill, a psychoanalyst, to find the psychological
basis for womens smoking. Dr. Brill determined that cigarettes which
were usually equated with men, represented torches of freedom for
women. The event caused a national stir and stories appeared in
newspapers throughout the country. Though not doing away with the
taboo completely, Bernays's efforts had a lasting effect on women