In 1952, in response to growing concerns about the safety of cigarettes, the Lorillard Tobacco Company introduced Kent cigarettes, boasting that they contained a "Micronite filter" developed by "researchers in atomic energy plants".
Turned out that the key ingredient in the Micronite filter was asbestos. From wikipedia:
Kent widely touted its "famous micronite filter" and promised consumers the "greatest health protection in history". Sales of Kent skyrocketed, and it has been estimated that in Kent's first four years on the market, Lorillard sold some 13 billion Kent cigarettes. From March 1952 until at least May 1956, however, the Micronite filter in Kent cigarettes contained compressed carcinogenic blue asbestos within the crimped crepe paper. It has been suspected that many cases of mesothelioma have been caused specifically by smoking the original Kent cigarettes.
The model looks slightly out-of-it as the "Accu-Ray" machine deposits an endless supply of cigarettes into her hand. Perhaps, like James Bond, she had a 70-cigarette-a-day habit that had to be constantly fed.
The Cornell Drug Corporation came out with Trim Cigarettes in 1958, claiming that smoking three of them a day would reduce appetite and thereby help with weight loss:
Smoke a TRIM reducing aid cigarette and you'll be amazed to find yourself shaking your head as the food is passed around. There'll be no argument, you won't have to close your eyes and grit your teeth, you just won't want!
The FDA promptly banned them. More info: wikipedia
According to Ian Fleming's books, James Bond was a heavy smoker, consuming 60-70 cigarettes a day. By my quick calculations, that means Bond smoked a new cigarette about every 15 minutes.
Bond was also loyal to a specific brand: Morland cigarettes. These were custom cigarettes created specifically for him by Morland & Co. of Grosvenor Street from a blend of Balkan and Turkish tobacco. They had three gold rings around the butt.
These were real cigarettes which one could buy, and which Fleming himself smoked. They were sold as the "James Bond Special No. 1". However, you can't buy them anymore since the company went out of business soon after Fleming's death.
The Capitol Records release claimed to help listeners kick the smoking habit by hypnotizing them. The hypnotist was said to be a doctor, but for reasons of professional ethics he didn't reveal his identity, instead using the pseudonym Scott Gordon.
Discogs.com notes, "The title has one exclamation point on the back of the jacket and spine, no exclamation point on the label, and 6 on the front of the jacket."
Although I couldn't find any audio clips from the record online, I did come across this video posted by a British dance company in which they perform to a brief excerpt of Scott Gordon hypnotizing listeners.
Hot on the heels of surgeon general Luther Terry's 1964 finding on the dangers of smoking came this, the most absurd of the Living Strings' "music to do something by" series. Of course, what instrumental songs like "Clair de lune" and "Yellow Bird" have to do with staving off lung cancer is inconsequential -- it's the liner notes that make the persuasive pitch: "Only will power will make you stop smoking. But this music may help your will power." The fact that this music is supposed to "relax you, make you feel good and keep your hand from groping a pack of cigarettes" may lead some more mischievous or bored listeners to grope for something else. Oops! Sorry. Wrong surgeon general.
The Living Strings were a studio orchestra founded in 1959 by RCA Victor for a series of easy listening recordings issued on the RCA Camden budget label... RCA Victor record producer Ethel Gabriel created the "Living Strings" series of albums, which were easy-listening instrumental string versions of popular tunes, the type of music that came to be known pejoratively as elevator music.
There was no actual orchestra known as the Living Strings. The orchestra for most of the recordings was made up of musicians from various British orchestras assembled for the purpose of making the records.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.