Katie Mulcahey and New York’s Short-Lived Women’s Smoking Ban
Smoking cigarettes was a big thing in the early 1900s. Most men smoked and many women did. The problem was, no one looked twice if they saw a man smoking in public, but they were extremely uncomfortable if a woman smoked in public. This sort of double standard happened all the time. It was shocking, for example, for women to enter a store, restaurant, or hotel without a proper male escort. But the times, they were a-changing. By 1908, women were clamoring for their rights…to vote, to shop or dine alone in public and to light up a cigarette in public. That didn’t sit too well with some, especially an alderman in New York City.