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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Cigarettes: 1965

Cigarettes: 1965

April 20, 1965. "Vending Machines, Cigarettes." 35mm negative by Marion S. Trikosko for U.S. News & World Report. View full size.


National 222

That machine was a National 222, one of the best / most reliable cigarette vending machines on the market. Totally mechanical, unfortunately with cigarettes costing so much they were hard pressed to handle so many coins to add up to several dollars. Plus the fact that many fewer people smoke. I myself gave up the habit over 15 years ago.

My dishwasher days

When I was a wee lad of 13, I was in the gainful employ of one Tony Lipari of Lipari's Family Restaurant.

As soon as you came through the front door, there lived the cigarette machine. Being the crafty little fart I was, I discovered that a butter knife combined with my skinny arm, could relieve the machine of 2 or 3 packs at a time.

Once word made it back to the kitchen, all the smokers coerced me to do the same for them, due to me being the only one with arms that skinny.

I too managed to kick the habit 6 June 2002.

The comments on this pic have been the best!

Cigarette machines in restaurants

I recall cigarette machine such as this circa early 1970s which was in my dad's restaurant near Gramercy Park. Sometimes minors would come in and say they're buying a pack for the father, which maybe they were and maybe they weren't. Around 1972 I remember when a man showed up to alter the machine so that the price was 60 cents, up from 55 cents. It's incredible that a pack of cigarettes in 2016 is now $12 and up in NYC.

Cigarettes and Vietnam era soldiers

My most vivid memory of cigarette machines is a little different. At age 14, like most kids, I wanted to try smoking, to see what my parents saw in it. This was 1968 and my dad was stationed with the Army at Fort Knox, KY, America's biggest Armor base. At that time, the Vietnam conflict and the draft were in full swing, and the post was filled with young men in uniform. They were everywhere, and there wasn't much for them to do with their free time. The cafeteria by the PX was a favorite hangout spot for GIs and teenaged military brats, a like. There was one cigarette machine, which usually had a line in front of it. Cigarettes were a quarter. My friends and I would watch until there was a lull in the activity in front of it and then one of us would run to the machine, quarter ready, and quickly get a pack of Salems.

My smoking career didn't last very long, but I've never forgotten the GIs. I knew that most of them would be in Vietnam,in the near future, and wondered which would come back with wounds, and which wouldn't come back at all.

Military in the 60's

A 3 count of smokes came in every C-Rat along with a mini-book of matches. 6 matches in the little pack. I can recall Winston, Lucky Strikes Pall Mall's and a menthol brand. Filtered smokes were in demand. Military got you hooked on cigarettes and alcohol.
Wisely gave up both.

Smoking Youth

Spent 3rd thru 8th grades near Winston-Salem, NC (guess what is made there!) and was a pack-a-day smoker when I was 12. A little dairy store beside the junior high would open a pack of Winstons and sell them to us for a penny apiece. Quit when I was 32-without question the hardest thing I've ever done...packs had just reached a dollar a pack in the machines.

26 will get you 20

The first cigarettes I ever bought from a machine cost me $0.26/pack. You fed the machine a quarter and a penny, puĺled the knob, and out came your cigs. This was c. 1971, and I've never seen it since.

We'll sell it to ya, BUT . . .

When I was in the 10th grade or so, living in Naples, there was a fellow working in a convenience store out on the East Trail who knew I was underage, but would sell me wine and ciggies.

Only catch was, he would only sell me the most horrible examples of each. He told me, "I know you'll find some place to buy this stuff. I'll sell them to you, but maybe you'll learn to hate it if I only sell you the worst examples of each."

So I could only buy Between the Acts little cigars and Bali Hai wine.

"They're for my father"

I remember buying my father a carton (1 carton = 10 packs = 200 cigarettes) of Kent cigarettes for Christmas 1967. $3.25 was a lot of money for an eight year old back then.

I answered the funny look from the sales clerk with : "They're for my father".

Try that today, kids.

Quit time

Used to smoke about three packs a day. Camel filters were my poison of choice, started when I was eleven. Quit at about the age of twenty five by promising my self I could have one in five minutes. At the end of five minutes would do it again. It took a year to work up to 10 minutes. I just kept working up the time. That was in 1977. I didn't actually say I quit until about 5 years ago. Yes the machines were nice, but the product was a horrible price to pay.

Merry Christmas

I'm old enough to remember when a perfectly appropriate and very welcome holiday gift for every adult on your list was a carton of cigarettes and/or a bottle of hootch. I can't remember anyone ever being offended by them either.

Student Center at College

Lots of nostalgia here on this pic! I remember there being two machines in the Student Center at College in Louisiana in the late '70s. Seems like smokes were about 90 cents at the time. I still remember the firm tug on the knob and the soft "thud" as the pack hit the stainless steel pan in the bottom of the machine. I put 'em down years ago, but I am really enjoying these comments today.

Kent cigarettes

My grandmother loved Kents! Once I started driving at 15 I would pick a carton at the A&P every week. For about $6.00 a carton. My dad knew the drawbacks of smoking and starting when I was 5 years old he would promise me every year growing up that if I didn't smoke at the age of 21 he would give me a diamond wristwatch. At 21 I was smoke free but dad reneged on the watch - he said my health was more important than the watch. Also knew he could afford it, but at 62 I'm still a non-smoker! Like someone said here also, riding in a closed car with 4 smoking adults in the winter was torture.

At that price

You can't afford NOT to smoke! The bar I used to frequent (up until a few months ago) has a modern cigarette machine. It's really just a snack vending machine with packs of cigarettes in the little coils where chips normally would be. It only takes credit/debit cards and if I recall they were $6 and $7 per pack depending on the brand. I remember the ones in the picture too. As I recall, they would also drop a book of matches along with your smokes.

Sneaky Smoking

I was the youngest in our family by many years and after I reached my teens it was just me and my parents at home. Mom was a smoker and in the late 60s/early '70s I would sneak her cigs when I was around 14-15 and learned to like it. We would go on vacation and do the traditional car trip once or twice a year for a week or two, staying in motels. I would usually be given my own room so the parents could have privacy - sometimes with a connecting door, sometimes not.

When that happened, I would scout out the location of the cigarette machine and when the coast was clear, feed my quarters into it to buy a pack that I could secretly smoke in my (locked) room while watching TV. Secretly using the machine was a thrill and meant I got to try different brands. My first pack of Salem 100s came from a machine and resulted in me smoking those for many years. Have been quit for a long time now but if it was harmless I would still smoke. I loved everything about it except the consequences.

At the golf course

I remember them being 65 cents in the machine at my dad club, 1974-75 era.

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

Butts were a quarter from the machines in a Marine barracks back in 1965. A carton went for $1.90 at the PX. In Vietnam free smokes (I remember Luckies) came in your C-Rations.


If you are at least of a certain age, commercial songs or ad phrases instantly pop when you scan each slot's cigarette offering.

Mad Men cleaned up in tobacco times. Somehow they never nabbed me, probably due to the cloudy multi-pack habits of the four adults in our home. I have never touched one. By age 3 I was actively anti-smoking, to the point I never once saw one parent light up, while years later I learned my friends saw it endlessly. That still strikes me as odd. It's a kid who sneaks smokes.

But I liked some of the catchier ads.


I suppose my dad's history is pretty typical. Born 1916, started smoking as a teen, shot up to 2 packs a day during WWII in Pacific (free Lucy Strikes, as I recall). Varied his brands somewhat when I was a kid: L&M, Winston, Luckies, Pall Mall (pronounced "...and a pack o' Pellmells" in RI where I grew up), but mostly Camel non filters. Which eventually killed him in 1969 at the ripe old age of 53. It's strange to be 62 and know that I have outlived my father by nine years.

Glad I quit.

Back in '65 I was smoking Chesterfield Kings. At 2 packs a day I'm sure glad I quit shortly afterwords. If I didn't I'm sure I wouldn't be here today.

Advertising Blurbs !

Show Us Your Lark Pack !
I'd Rather Fight than Switch ! (Taryton)
One Silly Millimeter Longer ( Benson & Hedges ?)

Tons more...

27 years later I quit. Yeesh. /RZ

Big sellers

L&M, Philip Morris, Raleigh, and the legendary Luckies. Never a cigarette smoker, I nevertheless remember all these brands.

Legal in Vegas

Cigarette machines still exist in Sin City, but state law only allows them in places where minors are not allowed to loiter, i.e. casinos and brothels. The ones I've seen only accept folding money, since it would take a ton of nickels to buy a pack these days.

I remember those machines.

My mom would send my brother or I to the gas station to pick her up a pack of Raleigh 100s.

My wife and I had dinner at a retro themed restaurant a while back. They had one of them along with a few other old pop and candy machines that used tokens. I'd thought they'd been banned outright for selling cigarettes, but apparently, if the owner restricts access, they're legal.

Easier than 28 cents

Charging the nice & even amount of 30 cents made it a lot easier on the vending machine's owner. My father told me about buying cigarettes from machines when the price was 28 cents. You'd insert 30, and taped to the cigarette package were two pennies change.

Minors are forbidden

First time I saw one of these is when I came to the US for school. I was fifteen and, unfortunately, a smoker (folks did not know). My dad and I had just checked into a hotel in Honolulu after a 10+ hour flight and a couple of hours of getting thru customs\immigration. My dad, a non-smoker so I couldn't steal any smokes from him, went to take a nap.

Left to my own devices, I went wandering around wishing I had some smokes. Saw the machine... went up to it... had the proper US coins... saw the "Minors are forbidden..." and did not buy a pack.

Back home I would automatically ignore that kind of sign. But in a strange and foreign land, well, it took me awhile to rationalize that if no one is looking... who's to know? And if someone did see me... run!

Snuck back, bought the smokes. Twenty years later is when I finally quit.

Adaptive re-use

If it's lucky, this cigarette machine has been converted to an Art-O-Mat.

Two or three for price of one

While I no longer indulge, as a teen in the early '70s I always looked for this type of machine because if you pulled the knob just right you could trick the machine into give you an extra pack or two. 30 cents back in 1965 is about 2 bucks today but I think smokes are running closer to $6 a pack now. An unhealthy price for the body and the wallet.

Pick your poison

So many choices, so little time.

Off Brand

The only one I don't recognize is ALPINE.

[Nice. He looks like Martin Sheen]

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