Vast amounts of money were spent in the 50s and 60s on cigarette advertising. But the product itself had a quality of cool, of sophistication, yet at the same time, of rebelliousness, of hipness, such that it appealed to the mature and the tender alike. There was no way that it could lose, market-wise. The addictive nature of the things, both physiological and psychological was so strong, that it trumped the massive medical evidence of its poisonous, destructive nature.
No matter what happened, the damn things just couldn't lose.
Courtesy of Hoodoo That Voodoo