Lyndon B. Johnson

LBJ Era Cellophane Wrapped Presidential Cigar Given to JFK Assassination Secret Service Agent

LBJ Era Cellophane Wrapped Presidential Cigar Given to JFK Assassination Secret Service Agent


Cigar in the original cellophane, 6.75" long, with the seal of the President of the Philippines. Provenance: From the estate of Secret Service Agent Warren W. (Woody) Taylor. On November 22, 1963, the day of President Kennedy's assassination, Taylor was on special assignment in Dallas working as a Special Agent on Vice Presidential detail to protect Lady Bird Johnson. Taylor was in the car immediately behind the Vice President's car in the Presidential motorcade.


President Lyndon Baines Johnson was the last known smoker while President. He smoked cigarettes heavily daily while in the Oval Office. Ironically the slow unveiling of the dangers of smoke inhalation was only in its infancy and in 1965, the Johnson administration was pressing to put warning labels on cigarettes. The tobacco industry wanted no labeling, or as weak a label as possible. The law, which Congress passed in 1965, provided that only packages of cigarettes carry labels saying, "Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health." That relatively weak admonition was not changed until 1970, and not again until 1984, as evidence of the dangers of smoking accumulated. Not until 1972 was the Federal Trade Commission able to extend the warning to cigarette advertising as well as packaging. Had the administration and Congress known what the tobacco industry knew, the warnings and the public health program of the U.S. government would have been much stronger.


In December 1966, when President Johnson was  discussing his State of the Union speech, it was suggested that he recommend legislation to require tobacco companies to reveal the tar and nicotine content of cigarettes in their packaging and advertising. The Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the Federal Trade Commission wanted the president to propose such legislation. Johnson had always been reluctant to move aggressively on cigarettes and often remarked how hard he found it to quit smoking after his heart attack. Perpetually at odds with the South because of desegregation, he didn't want to make his political life any more difficult in tobacco-growing states.


This Cigar from the Philippines most likely was obtained by President Johnson during his visit to Manila in 1966. Johnson visited Manila amid intensifying opposition in the U.S. and the Philippines to the Vietnam War. The visit was a big boost to newly elected president Ferdinand Marcos, whom LBJ called “my right arm in Asia.” The visit underscored the contradictory image of Johnson, who is respected for his role in many groundbreaking US civil rights laws and policies geared to helping the poor in the U.S., but is also reviled for escalating the conflict in Indochina.


Item: 65078

Price: $500.00
Lyndon B. JohnsonLyndon B. JohnsonLyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
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