My grandparents were schooled but not educated all that much more than most of the population and for these average people, just past the turn of the century and in Eastern Europe, it was common knowledge that smoking was bad for you.
To back up that little anecdotal evidence I also offer the term: coffin nails. This is thought to originate from 1885-1890. So this term was circulating through the population and it spread because it was descriptive.
Given that, how is it that lawsuits are still put forth on the basis that someone reasonably thought that their smoking would not expose them to any risks?