My thanks go to Kin_free in the comments for much of this.
Edward Bernays (November 22, 1891 – March 9, 1995) was one of the pioneers of ‘public relations’ or ‘spin’. His uncle was Sigmund Freud. He wrote several influential books, among them Propaganda (which is freely available online), in which he wrote:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.
From History is a weapon:
The propaganda system of the first World War and this commission that he was part of showed, he says, it is possible to “regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies.” These new techniques of regimentation of minds, he said, had to be used by the intelligent minorities in order to make sure that the slobs stay on the right course. We can do it now because we have these new techniques.
There is, however, a striking paradox in the relationship between the two. Uncle Sigmund’s “talking cure” was designed to unearth his patients’ unconscious drives and hidden motives, in the belief that bringing them into conscious discourse would help people lead healthier lives. Bernays, by contrast, used psychological techniques to mask the motives of his clients, as part of a deliberate strategy aimed at keeping the public unconscious of the forces that were working to mold their minds.
Characteristically (and again paradoxically), Bernays was remarkably candid about his manipulative intent. “If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it,” he argued in Propaganda, one of his first books. In a later book, he coined the term “engineering of consent” to describe his technique for controlling the masses.
From Wikipedia (my emphases added):
Bernays refined and popularized the use of the press release, following its invention by PR man Ivy Lee, who had issued a press release after the 1906 Atlantic City train wreck. One of the most famous campaigns of Bernays was the women’s cigarette smoking campaign in 1920s. Bernays helped the smoking industry overcome one of the biggest social taboos of the time: women smoking in public. Women were only allowed to smoke in designated areas, or not at all. If caught violating this rule, women would have been arrested. Bernays staged the 1929 Easter parade in New York City, showing models holding lit Lucky Strike cigarettes, or “Torches of Freedom”. After the historical public event, women started lighting up more than ever before. It was through Bernays that women’s smoking habits started to become socially acceptable. Bernays created this event as news, which, of course, it wasn’t. Bernays convinced industries that the news, not advertising, was the best medium to carry their message to an unsuspecting public….
One of Bernays’ favorite techniques for manipulating public opinion was the indirect use of “third party authorities” to plead his clients’ causes. “If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway”, he said. In order to promote sales of bacon, for example, he conducted a survey of physicians and reported their recommendation that people eat heavy breakfasts. He sent the results of the survey to 5,000 physicians, along with publicity touting bacon and eggs as a heavy breakfast.
Joseph Goebbels studied him. In his 1965 autobiography, Bernays recalls a dinner at his home in 1933 where
Karl von Wiegand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Wiegand his propaganda library, the best Wiegand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Wiegand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany. This shocked me. … Obviously the attack on the Jews of Germany was no emotional outburst of the Nazis, but a deliberate, planned campaign.
Oh, and he also helped overthrow the government of Guatemala in the 1950s.
So, although he’d helped get women to smoke in 1929, guess who he ended up working for towards the end of his long life? From Wikipedia:
After his semi-retirement in the 1960s he worked with anti-smoker lawyer John Banzhaf’s group, ASH and supported other anti-smoking campaigns.
Yup, ASH. Action on Smoking and Health.
And seeing from his photo that he was still in pretty good shape in 1990, it looks like he worked for them for some 30 years – far longer than for anyone else.
So us smokers have been up against Joseph Goebbels’ mentor in his War on Jews. And it shows, doesn’t it? We’ve been pretty thoroughly demonised.
Here’s more evidence (provided by Kin_free) that he worked for ASH.