Around the turn of the twentieth
century, nearly every household had at least one smoker. The health dangers we are aware of were then
unknown. Tobacco companies were eager to promote their products to increase sales, and they advertised
heavily. They also inserted souvenirs or 'premiums' into their packages, using several themes and
issuing them in series. Collegiate and sports imagery were popular themes.
Around 1908 the trading cards which had been included since the 1880s gave way to leathers. Shortly
after that small silk pictures began to be included. The quality of these "silkies" varied from brand
to brand. As the silks were phased out, trading cards returned. Murad's 1914 collegiate athletics series
was so popular it was re-issued in 1925.
The practice of giving away souvenirs to promote sales diminished with the advent of World War I,
along with the popularity of Turkish and Egyptian cigarettes. By 1920 cigarette smoking had become
quite common, even women indulged in public, and the newer 'American Blend' cigarette grew in
popularity. Cigarette manufacturers didn't totally give up on their expensive upscale (10-20 cents a
pack) Turkish and Egyptian brands until after the stock market crash of 1929.