Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What Was the Official Cigarette of Your Diploma Nursing School?

There were so many diploma schools of nursing in the 1960s that each class adopted their own unique motto, school colors, and slogans. There was no formal mention of the fact that each class had their own preferred brand of cigarette. Brand loyalty was the byword and everyone wanted to feel part of the same "club," so there was minimal deviation from the standard brand of smokes.

I dug out my old nursing yearbook from my basement  junkpile archives and refreshed my memory. Our class colors were light blue and navy blue, class flower was a white rose, class moto was A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and the class philosophy was "I have no yesterdays ,tomorrow may not be--but I have today." Last, but not least the class cigarette was KENT. Student nurses tended to mark their territory and Kent cigarette butts were virtually everywhere. Favorite ashtrays included the orthopedic beds with big gaping holes for attaching traction bars and even unused suction bottles on the Gomcos used for demonstration.

Cook County School of Nursing students lived up to their hardcore image by smoking disgusting unfiltered Phillip Morris Commanders. You could always identify a Cook County Nurse by her nicotine stained brown fingers.

Ravenswood hospital was bicultural when it came to cigarette usage. Both Kools and Winstons were in vogue here. I guess the nurses could not come up with a consensus which was a frequent problem in nursing when critical decision making was required.

When I relocated to Pittsburgh the official cigatrette custom was in full force. At Montefiore Hospital all the nurses smoked Salem Light 100s. I think the 100mm length was a thoughtful choice because it served as a break extender.
I betcha Nurse Bonnies classmates were Red
Apple Smokers. An apple a day keeps the Dr. Away??


  1. Thank you for the great big belly laugh!!! We were a mixed bunch ~ Winston, Marlboro and...

  2. Marlboro. In the box, not in that sissy paper pack. Marine Corps, not Nursing School.

  3. Bobbie we were a hybrid group initially but around about capping Kents seemed to take over. Officer Cynical I just live that wild, wild west feeling that Marlboros communicate.

  4. "Despite the hysteria from the political class and media, smoking doesn't kill." Mike Pence

  5. Marlboro. I was a rebel and went with Larks

  6. Ah, yes, Lark with the activated carbon filter just like the "I'd rather fight than switch," brand Tareyton.

    Inhaling surgical smoke generated by Bovies was enough for me. I sometimes wondered if the tobacco companies could make a Bovie smoke flavored cigarette to market to nurses. While waiting on call I sometimes craved Bovie smoke. Pleura was my favorite scent/flavor.

  7. I'm quite certain the vaping world would be very interested in your proposals for new flavors, brining new meaning to "Burning Man"

  8. Virginia Slims, not a diploma grad, so probably can’t add much to the cool nurse diploma mystique of cancer sticks of choice. Still, the days of being a baby nurse and walking down to the employee smoking pit off the hospital lobby after tracheal suctioning of a COPD’er, brings back fond memories. Youth, perceived immortality, those were the days.

    1. Ah..yes the infinite wisdom and immortality of youth. My favorite delusion was about being called in during the middle of the night or working nights. Defying Circadian rhythms had no impact on one's health or well being. A great thought until a chronic illness dropped you in your tracks!