The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America
Brandt tracks down the history behind America
Nearly 60 years after a link between smoking and cancer was first established, more people worldwide smoke cigarettes than ever before. Though smoking in America has decreased in recent decades, says Harvard Medical School professor Alan Brandt, a century of cigarette sales had already exacted a terrible toll. In the late 1990s, more Americans died of tobacco-related illnesses than the combined total of those who died from alcohol, AIDS, road accidents, fire, murder, suicide, and illegal drugs. And the future looks bright only for tobacco sellers. The World Health Organization estimates that 10 times as many people will die from using tobacco products this century as died during the last.
Cigarettes achieved ubiquity only 80 years ago, said Bryan Burrough in The Washington Post. Though cheap, disposable smokes became possible with the 1881 invention of the automatic rolling machine, they didn