- "Sam fiddled with the rabbit ears of the new set, finally managing to bring in a rather muddy image of a cigarette commercial. / Marty watched, fascinated, as a surgeon stepped out of an operating room, lit up a cigarette, and began speaking to the audience. "After facing the tension of doing three lung operations in a row, I like to relax by lighting up a Sir Walter Randolph. I know its fine tobacco taste will soothe my nerves and improve my circulation..." / "That's incredible!" Marty said, in spite of himself. He had never seen a television commercial advertising cigarettes and couldn't quite comprehend the brazenness of it."
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 106)
- "The rest of the family, except those too young to comprehend, stared at Marty incredulously. To say that one day American television would be without cigarette commercials was like saying one day Christmas would be devoid of Santa Claus."
- —From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, page 107)
- Marty: "Jesus, you smoke too?!"
- Lorraine: "Marty, you're beginning to sound just like my mother."
- — Marty McFly and Lorraine Baines
Smoking was a form of stimulant release performed by many people over the centuries. Around the end of the 20th century, doctors began to see the health risks associated with smoking and anti-smoking campaigns popped up.
Smoking was known to many residents of Hill Valley:
- Lorraine Baines McFly smoked cigarettes in 1955 and 1985 (before Marty altered events).
- A large red NO SMOKING warning sign could be seen outside at the Texaco service station in 1955.
- Marty McFly was surprised to see a television commercial featuring a surgeon who, having worked on three lung operations in a row, then advertised Sir Walter Randolph cigarettes (see first Quote above). He later tried to point out the Surgeon General's warning on the cigarette packet to Lorraine, only to discover it was not there. Instead, there was a line written by the cigarette manufacturer, which Marty read aloud: "This fine blend of Turkish and domestic tobaccos calms the nerves, improves the circulation, gives you a sense of well-being."
- Marvin Berry and the Starlighters smoked reefers in Reginald's Cadillac during their break between sets at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance at Hill Valley High School.
- Biff Tannen smoked cigars in 1985A. Furthermore, the Biff Tannen Museum required smoking for entry, according to a sign at the main entrance that read Smoking Required.
- Customers at the Palace Saloon in 1885 occasionally smoked.