The story of tobacco’s fortunes seems simple: science triumphed over addiction and profit. Yet the reality is more complicated—and more political. Historically it was not just bad habits but also the state that lifted the tobacco industry. What brought about change was not medical advice but organized pressure: a movement for nonsmoker’s rights.
Cigarettes Are Sublime
Richard Klein Duke University Press, 1993 Library of Congress PN56.S58K54 1993 | Dewey Decimal 809.93355
Cigarettes are bad for you; that is why they are so good. With its origins in the author’s urgent desire to stop smoking, Cigarettes Are Sublime offers a provocative look at the literary, philosophical, and cultural history of smoking. Richard Klein focuses on the dark beauty, negative pleasures, and exacting benefits attached to tobacco use and to cigarettes in particular. His appreciation of paradox and playful use of hyperbole lead the way on this aptly ambivalent romp through the cigarette in war, movies (the "Humphrey Bogart cigarette"), literature, poetry, and the reflections of Sartre to show that cigarettes are a mixed blessing, precisely sublime.
Combating Teen Smoking: Research and Policy Strategies
Peter D. Jacobson, Paula M. Lantz, Kenneth E. Warner, Jeffrey Wasserman, HaroldA. Pollack, and Alexis K. Ahlstrom University of Michigan Press, 2001 Library of Congress HV5745.C66 2001 | Dewey Decimal 362.296708350973
Every year, more than 400,000 Americans die prematurely because of tobacco use. Most began smoking during their teen years. Adolescent tobacco use remains our nation's most preventable threat to life and health. This public health crisis has generated widespread debate over how best to prevent young people from initiating smoking or using other tobacco products. Combating Teen Smoking is an invaluable guide for policymakers and communities on the front lines of this prevention effort.
Synthesizing recent research regarding the prevention and control of adolescent smoking, this book offers the reader a convenient compendium of what is known about adolescents and tobacco use; it also highlights areas where additional research is needed. Based on their assessment of the considerable amount of information presented, the authors recommend various ways to help slow--or even reverse--the recent rise in teenage smoking. A comprehensive antitobacco program might include, for example, antismoking media campaigns based on social marketing strategies, clean indoor air laws, and the increase of cigarette prices.
Combating Teen Smoking will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers concerned about the problem of adolescent tobacco use, including policymakers who are actively seeking ways to help reduce teen smoking.
Peter D. Jacobson is Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Public Health. Paula Lantz is Assistant Professor, University of Michigan School of Public Health. Kenneth Warner is Richard D. Remington Collegiate Professor of Public Health and Director, University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network. Jeffrey Wasserman is Consultant, the RAND Corporation and Senior Project Director, The MEDSTAT Group. Harold Pollack is Assistant Professor, University of Michigan School of Public Health. Alexis Ahlstrom is Research Associate, University of Michigan School of Public Health.
Why do people smoke? Taking a unique approach to this question, Jason Hughes moves beyond the usual focus on biological addiction that dominates news coverage and public health studies and invites us to reconsider how social and personal understandings of smoking crucially affect the way people experience it. Learning to Smoke examines the diverse sociological and cultural processes that have compelled people to smoke since the practice was first introduced to the West during the sixteenth century.
Hughes traces the transformations of tobacco and its use over time, from its role as a hallucinogen in Native American shamanistic ritual to its use as a prophylactic against the plague and a cure for cancer by early Europeans, and finally to the current view of smoking as a global pandemic. He then analyzes tobacco from the perspective of the individual user, exploring how its consumption relates to issues of identity and life changes. Comparing sociocultural and personal experiences, Hughes ultimately asks what the patterns of tobacco use mean for the clinical treatment of smokers and for public policy on smoking. Pointing the way, then, to a more learned and sophisticated understanding of tobacco use, this study will prove to be essential reading for anyone interested in the history of smoking and the sociology of addiction.
"Fox News Watch" host Eric Burns, who chronicled the social history of alcohol in The Spirits of America turns to tobacco in The Smoke of the Gods. Ranging from ancient times to the present day, The Smoke of the Gods is a lively history of tobacco, especially in the United States. Although tobacco use is controversial in the U.S. today, Burns reminds us that this was not always the case. For centuries tobacco was generally thought to have medicinal and even spiritual value. Most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were tobacco users or growers, or both. According to Burns, tobacco changed the very course of U.S. history, because its discovery caused the British to support Jamestown, its struggling New World colony. An entertaining and informative look at a subject that makes daily news headlines, The Smoke of the Gods is a history that is, well, quite addictive.
The 1998 out-of-court settlements of litigation by the states against the cigarette industry totaled $243 billion, making it the largest payoff ever in our civil justice system. Two key questions drove the lawsuits and the attendant settlement: Do smokers understand the risks of smoking? And does smoking impose net financial costs on the states?
With Smoke-Filled Rooms,W. Kip Viscusi provides unexpected answers to these questions, drawing on an impressive range of data on several topics central to the smoking policy debate. Based on surveys of smokers in the United States and Spain, for instance, he demonstrates that smokers actually overestimate the dangers of smoking, indicating that they are well aware of the risks involved in their choice to smoke. And while smoking does increase medical costs to the states, Viscusi finds that these costs are more than financially balanced by the premature mortality of smokers, which reduces their demands on state pension and health programs, so that, on average, smoking either pays for itself or generates revenues for the states.
Viscusi's eye-opening assessment of the tobacco lawsuits also includes policy recommendations that could frame these debates in a more productive way, such as his suggestion that the FDA should develop a rating system for cigarettes and other tobacco products based on their relative safety, thus providing an incentive for tobacco manufacturers to compete among themselves to produce safer cigarettes. Viscusi's hard look at the facts of smoking and its costs runs against conventional thinking. But it is also necessary for an informed and realistic debate about the legal, financial, and social consequences of the tobacco lawsuits.
People making $50,000 or more pay .08 percent of their income in cigarette taxes, but people with incomes of less than $10,000 pay 1.62 percenttwenty times as much. The maintenance crew at the Capitol will bear more of the "sin tax" levied on cigarettes than will members of Congress who voted to boost it.
Cigarettes are not a financial drain to the U.S. In fact, they are self-financing, as a consequence of smokers' premature mortality.
The general public estimates that 47 out of 100 smokers will die from lung cancer because they smoke. Smokers believe that 40 out of 100 will die of the disease. Scientists estimate the actual number of 100 smokers who will die from lung cancer to be between 7 and 13.
Smoking has played an important role in the cultures of North America since ancient times. Because of the ceremonial and ritual aspects of the practice in Native American societies, smoking pipes are important cultural artifacts. The essays in The Culture of Smoking constitute the first sustained interpretive study of smoking pipes, focusing on the cultural significance of smoking both before and after European contact.
Pipes lend themselves to anthropological as well as archaeological analysis in part because they are more ceremonial than utilitarian. Thus, while their styles and provenance can reveal something about trade relationships, cultural transfer, and aesthetic influences, they also provide important information about the nature of ritual in a particular society. As the contributors demonstrate, pipes offer a window through which to view the symbolic, ideological, and political roles that smoking has played in North American societies from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century.
The eleven essays included range widely over time and region, beginning with a case study of pipes and mortuary practices in the Ohio Valley during the Early Woodland Period. Subsequent chapters examine stone pipes from coastal North Carolina during the Late Woodland Period and the role pipes played in interregional interaction among protohistoric Native American groups in the Midwest and Northeast. Other essays explore the variety of cultural and political uses of pipes during the period of European contact. The final section of the book focuses on smoking in Euro-American contexts of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries.
The innovative interpretive approaches taken by the contributors and the broad historical perspective will make The Culture of Smoking a model for examining other categories of material culture, and the volume will be welcomed by anthropologists and historians as well as archaeologists.
Sean M. Rafferty is associate professor of anthropology at the University at Albany, State University of New York.
Rob Mann is the southeast regional archaeologist for Louisiana and is based in the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University.
The 1966 edition of the leading medical textbook states that pregnant women can safely smoke half a pack of cigarettes a day. Yet today, women who smoke during pregnancy are among the most vilified figures in public health campaigns. Laury Oaks argues this shift is not due solely to medical findings indicating that cigarette smoking may harm the fetus. Also responsible are a variety of social factors that converged more than a decade ago to construct the demonized category of the “pregnant smoker.”
This book charts the emergence of smoking during pregnancy as a public health concern and social problem. Oaks looks at the emphasis public health educators place on individual responsibility, the current legal and social assertion of fetal personhood, the changing expectations of pregnant and prepregnant women, and the advent of antismoking campaigns. She explores how public health educators discuss “the problem” with one another, how they communicate with pregnant smokers, and how these women themselves understand the “risk” of fetal harm. Finally, Oaks discusses the various meanings of “objective” statistics on the effects of smoking on the fetus, exploring the significance of cultural context in assessing the relative importance of those numbers. She argues that rather than bombarding pregnant women with statistics, health educators should consider the daily lives of these women and their socioeconomic status to understand why some women choose to smoke during pregnancy. Without downplaying the seriousness of the health risks that smoking poses to women and their babies, the book supports new efforts that challenge the moral policing of pregnant smokers.
The Smoking Book
Lesley Stern University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress PR9619.3.S796S64 1999 | Dewey Decimal 823
The Smoking Book is a dreamlike structure built on the solid foundation of two questions: how does it feel to smoke, and what does smoking mean? Lesley Stern, in an innovative, hybrid form of writing, muses on these questions through intersecting stories and essays that connect, expand, and contract like smoke rings floating through the air.
Stern writes of addictions and passionate attachments, of the body and bodily pleasure, of autobiography and cultural history. Smoking is Stern's seductive pretext, her way of entering unknown and mysterious regions. The Smoking Book begins with intimate and vivid accounts of growing up on a tobacco farm in colonial Rhodesia, reminiscences that permeate subsequent excursions into precolonial tobacco production and postcolonial life in Zimbabwe, as well as dramatic vignettes set in Australia, the United States, Scotland, Italy, Japan, and South America. Stern has written a book, at once intensely personal and kaleidoscopically international, that weaves the intimate act of a solitary person smoking a cigarette into a broad cultural picture of desire, exchange, fulfillment, and the acts that bind people together, either in lasting ways or through ephemeral encounters.
The Smoking Book is for anyone who has ever smoked or loved a smoker (against their better judgment); it is for those who have never smoked or for those who mourn the loss of cigarettes as they would grieve for a lost friend. But mostly, The Smoking Book is for all those who are smoldering still.