The Cigarette Century
March 23, 2009
The Cigarette Century Book Review
The Cigarette Century, the undisputed rise and dramatic decline of cigarette consumption in the United States. There are powerful cultural values that account for the resilience of the cigarette and the all the drama that comes along with it. The once ever popular and more noticeable behavior smoking had as we have seen it progress and sometimes decline has eventually become a marginalized and often stigmatized practice. The modern cigarette, was born in the late 19th century in the U.S, but for the longest time remained the industry's neglected and undersold user placing 2nd under chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco. The rise of the cigarette simply changed the American Culture, burning through the nations industry, government, and obviously the science and health organizations as well. Cigarettes has more than fifty illnesses and twenty causes of death associated with it. It’s absolutely insane to think at one point America saw smoking as glamorous or even a symbol of elegance, devastating millions of people with the effects of smoking and the cancers it holds as well. During World War I and World War II, cigarettes were rationed to soldiers. In some countries as well as the U.S, made cigarettes a state monopoly, which the Unites states determines certain cigarette taxes and where tobacco for the cigarette is considered an essential product which tends to get the least taxed. In this case, the government says that tobacco for the cigarette is a necessity because so many people buy them and essentially helps America grow stronger and in a lot of cases weaker along with the cigarette. Giant pieces of culture, science, politics, law and global spread of the cigarette doesn’t even pause to analyze the paradox of smoking that ultimately turns into your death. Smokers in America are ambushed with a wide variety of overwhelming tobacco advertising; cultural aesthetics, peer pressure, the ever addicting nicotine, and turning to the youth urging for rebellion against the normality’s of society. The boom in smoking after World War I was recognized as well seen as a relaxant in order to combat the scalding stress of trench warfare. The cigarette dawned with the age and support from substantial manufacturing advances in technology and marketing strategies, which was further moved along by dramatic shifts in American culture and social norms following the end of World War I. The cigarette and tobacco industry engulfed the entire nation in a single heartbeat. In the early 1900’s, cigs accounted an astonishing 5% of all domestic tobacco that is until the near midcentury and the outbreak of the second World War nearly half of all adults smoked and even more for the enlisted men and women of the armed forces. All of a sudden cigarettes were everywhere with ashtrays littering every room: offices, clubs, and practically every American home as well. As Brandt describes that the tobacco companies were the rotten eggs from the start, they began to exploit and expand their product to the waiting hands of Americans. No health hazards of smoking were ever proven so it just seemed to add to the fact that smoking was ok and were readily available to all who wished to purchase them. However the cigarette and its mothering tobacco companies took a devastating blow after World War II when the connection was made between smoking and lung cancer. Being faced with crushing news the tobacco industry constructed a formidable defense not denying the health risks of smoking, but illustrated another side to the story stating pleasurable affects and other broad statements that people were skeptical about. Brandt also writes that his book, “The Cigarette Century” breaks out into a meticulous record of numerous courtroom clashes that basically defined the life of a cigarette and its place in American society. However these infamous trials have yet to...
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