In 1946, the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co advertised that "More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette."1 Such a message conveyed that it was medically safe to smoke, and the tobacco companies targeted adults to receive that message. In 1991, tobacco companies don't use medical spokespersons to sell their products. Few physicians would attest to the safety of smoking, and tobacco companies are not as interested in adults anymore.
In today's cigarette advertisements, physicians in white coats have been replaced by cartoon animals in bright, preschool colors. With straight faces, RJ Reynolds and its industry colleagues report that they've chosen figures like Old Joe Camel because they believe that such figures will appeal to adult smokers and encourage them to change brands. With the same straight faces, they will likely express shock that children respond to this campaign by taking up smoking.
Waxman RH. Tobacco MarketingProfiteering From Children. JAMA. 1991;266(22):3185-3186. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470220101037