historical review of smoking


Like many other social phenomena, the use of
tobacco has created a tapestry of themes, motivations,
and social forces, woven together with a complexity
that has begun to capture the interest of social historians (Brandt 1990; Burnham 1993; Klein 1993; Tate
1999). Tobacco has economic, social, and political
reverberations and is intimately tied to collective images and attitudes. Nonetheless, some simplification
is possible: the history of tobacco use can be thought
of as the conflict between tobacco as an agent of economic gain and tobacco as an agent of human harm.
An exhaustive history would not be content with such
a simple contrast, but it serves the purpose of this chapter. The chief barrier to reducing tobacco use—the path
of most resistance—is a powerful industry whose
efforts to promote tobacco have continued to shape
public opinion and social norms. Against this background, the chapter considers the underlying forces
Early Events
that have motivated the movement to reduce smoking. Many recent events that are of critical historical
importance for nonsmoking are considered in other
segments of the report (e.g., social advocacy actions 

; taxation-based initiatives in states [Chapter 7]; Food and Drug Administration regulations regarding minors as the target of tobacco advertising
[Chapter 5]; and proposed national legislation, settlement and attempted settlement of various lawsuits
against the tobacco companies, and criminal proceedings against tobacco companies [Chapter 5]). As noted
in Chapter 1, some of the most dynamic changes in the
history of smoking control efforts are currently taking
place, and we are not sufficiently distanced from these
events to evaluate them fully. This chapter will consider, rather, the changing thematic content—religious,
hygienic, medical, and social—of the movement to
reduce smoking that has presaged the current event 

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