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Tobacco control advocates the world over will find a wonderful treasure trove in the Internet Archive, a valuable resource of historical films on smoking and tobacco, as well as old cigarette commercials. The archive is a project which aims to prevent internet pages and other digital materials from being irretrievably lost, by building a searchable digital library. Free access is provided to the site’s collections of archived web pages, moving images, texts, audio, and software, one of which is the Prelinger Archives. Founded in 1983 by Rick Prelinger, this collection, within the Moving Images section, consists of over 48 000 “ephemeral” films (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur), and aims to preserve and provide access to films of historic significance that have not previously been collated. Within the collection there are a number of early documentaries on tobacco, such as “Tobacco and the Human Body” (Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, 1954) which demonstrates how much was known about tobacco and its health effects in the 1950s, as well as a variety of television commercials for cigarette brands such as Lucky Strike, Newport, Montclair, and Hit Parade, and a short film from Lucky Strike, “Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco” on how the makers selected their tobacco, featuring Frank Sinatra. Another gem is a tobacco industry film, “The Sixth Sense”, describing how the American Tobacco Company’s research laboratory was tirelessly researching new ways of improving the company’s cigarettes with its “Sense of Science”—a partnership with the University of Virginia’s medical school to ensure that research “never stops”. The Internet Archive is at http://www.archive.org/.
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