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Unlucky Strike: Private Health and the Science, Law and Politics of Smoking

David Hockney, John Staddon


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Smoking has been controversial ever since tobacco came to Europe in the sixteenth century. Fifty years ago, almost everyone smoked. Fifty years before that, smokers were in the doghouse; cigarettes were illegal in several U.S. states early in the twentieth century. Smoking has always been a ready source of revenue. It has also been a source of health problems, real and imagined. The mixture of pleasure, money and health risk means that smoking is rarely treated fairly by politicians, health professionals or the public. Now, tough anti-smoking laws are almost universal. The misinformation about, and unreasoning hostility directed at, smoking and smokers and the sight of smokers, usually poor, puffing desperately outside in winter weather, is one reason for this book. Smoking has no public cost. It puts individual smokers at risk. It does not put the public purse at risk. Prompted by this surprising discovery, Staddon looked further into the facts. The more he looked, the weaker the case against smoking as a public health issue became. Is ETS really dangerous to children? How do they know? Does it really cause sudden infant death? How do they know that? Proving that smoking can cause an ever-growing list of ailments requires a scientific case that is often impossible to make, for logical, ethical and practical reasons. The case against ETS, in particular, is exceedingly weak. So, if smoking has no public cost and the medical case for third-party harm is weak, why are smokers victimised in so many ways? This book tries to find out and the answer is not pretty.


Legend Press






2.69 MB

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