Ask your doctor: the construction of smoking in advertising posters produced in 1946 and 2004 Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper examines two full-page A3 poster advertisements in mass magazines produced at two time points over a 60-year period depicting smoking and its effects, with particular relation to lung cancer. Each poster represents the social and cultural milieu of its time. The writings of Foucault are used to explore the disciplinary technologies of sign systems as depicted in the two posters. The relationships between government, tobacco companies and drug companies and the technologies of production are examined with regard to the development of smoking cessation strategies. The technologies of power are associated with the constructions of risk and lifestyles. The technologies of the self locate smokers as culpable subjects responsible for their individual health. Finally, the meshing of these technologies places the doctor in the frame as "authoritative knower" and representative of expert systems.

publication date

  • December 2004

has subject area