Nicht rauchen

“No smoking.”

The only sign I saw 20th-century Germans disobey.

The post-W.W.II history of how cigarettes were marketed to Germans might contain some answers. 20th-century German cigarette ads were a bit of a puzzle to this nonsmoking foreigner. I never grokked the feelings of rebellion and addiction that might be being felt by German smokers. After trying to understand their tobacco brands’ ubiquitous billboards for years, I decided the ads seemed to say somehow that smoking was the social equivalent of smiling and making friends, that it signified you were socially approachable. An extreme was the Gauloises ads, showing relaxed, bien-dans-sa-peau Frenchmen smoking outdoors in a tree-shaded piazza in good weather, while wearing pyjamas in public.

(Nichh t   r-r-r OW! chh en.)

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