People Can't Quite Believe McDonald's Used to Have Branded Ashtrays for Smoking Indoors

McDonald's is a staple of the American way of life, with fond childhood memories featuring the golden arches, Happy Meals and Ronald McDonald.

While some things haven't changed, including hamburgers being the star of the menu, the restaurant décor, logo and ingredients have all undergone changes over the past few years.

But one notable shift was the ban of smoking in their restaurants, and with that the end of McDonald's-themed ashtrays.

Only those above a certain age will remember smoking inside at all, but a few decades ago almost all public buildings were filled with a haze of smoke.

The fast-food chain was no different, and as such had branded ashtrays, both foil and glass, in their eateries.

Now they're merely a relic from a different time, just like ashtrays on airplanes, although they're harder to rip out.

A snap of one of the amber glass receptacles, emblazoned with the name and logo on three sides, was shared to Twitter by a woman called Amy.

She posted the snap to her account @lolenniu, saying: "This is what they took from you."

Since being tweeted on Sunday, the photo has been liked more than 135,000 times, as people shared their own smoky memories of McDonald's.

Some also revealed rivals' ashtrays, including those from Burger King and Del Taco.

Commenting on the thread, Spaceship Gary reminisced: "A quarter-pounder, fries, shake, and a few cigarettes is probably the best last meal you could order."

Krabby Koder remarked: "I only remember the tin ash trays. What is this luxury here?"

Remembering the same ashtray, Flother commented: "I've never seen those. When I was a kid in the '80s they just had those semi-disposable aluminum ones where I lived."

Auroraline admitted: "Holy sh this just unlocked a memory I had no idea that I had."

"I've never smoked in my life. But for some reason (possibly nostalgia) I love ashtrays like these," Nerdy J. Shark said.

While VegGameHead added: "Even so, it's a beautiful little piece of history. Evocative of a certain era, when McD's had more of a real restaurant feel."

Although Candace Niemeyer asked: "Just to be clear: You are mourning the loss of cigarettes, filthy ashtrays and McDonald's advertising? Both the food and ciggies are known carcinogens? Maybe we got smart and rejected them? Or perhaps I misunderstand the message."

And showing just how things have changed, Vituperativeerb wrote: "I asked a younger cousin what she thought this was and the best guess was "nice coaster"."

The vintage ashtrays are for sale on various sites, with one silver design selling for as much as $155.99, plus tax, on eBay, and a glass version priced at $175.

It's not clear exactly when ashtrays were discontinued, but the smoking ban came into force in 1994.

The fast food giant banned smoking in all of the sites it wholly owned, which equated to 1,400 locations.

Some 2,200 franchise restaurants were already smoke-free, and the remainder of the franchises couldn't be forced to change the rules.

But Ed Rensi, then-president and chief executive of McDonald's U.S.A., was quoted saying the company would "actively encourage" the rest of its branches to follow suit.

The article stated: "McDonald's is the nation's largest fast-food chain, and today's announcement brings to about 3,600 the number of its restaurants that prohibit smoking, said Rebecca Caruso, a spokeswoman. That is about 40 percent of the 9,100 McDonald's restaurants."

Newsweek has reached out to Amy and McDonald's for comment.

File photo of a Big Mac.
File photo of a Big Mac. Fast food fans are reminiscing about the time McDonald's had branded ashtrays. PAUL J. RICHARDS/Getty Images