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Through three wars, The News Smokes Fund

Through at least three wars across half a century, The Buffalo Evening News had an unusual way to support the troops: sending them cigarettes.

The Buffalo Evening News Smokes-for-Soldiers Fund appears to have debuted for the Spanish-American War in 1898, continued during World War I and reached its zenith during World War II, when more than $260,000 (in 1940s dollars) was collected to buy tobacco for soldiers. A photo from 1944 shows boxes with more than 16,000 pounds of tobacco being prepared for shipment overseas.

The News ran photos during World War II of cigarettes and lighters being presented to hospitalized soldiers.

“It’s the first Christmas present I’ve had in four years,” a soldier at Rhoads General Hospital in Utica was quoted saying in December 1945.

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