The Cigarette Century and Beyond
We needed a truthful account of how cigarettes have become the highest selling addictive drug in the history of the human race, lawfully. Alan Brandt, Harvard Professor of History of Medicine and Science, and author of the recently published “The Cigarette Century – The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America” tells us the extra-ordinary story of the rise of the “modern cigarette” in the 20th century. Dr. Brandt is one of the U.S.’s leading expert witnesses for federal and state tobacco-related lawsuits, after spending nearly twenty years researching on this topic. In the 2004 U.S. vs. Philip Morris trial, Dr. Brandt was cross-examined for nearly two days, and for the first time in U.S. history, tobacco companies were found to have breached Federal statutes on racketeering. Dr. Brandt was quoted 200 times in the verdict, apparently.
The modern cigarette is a carefully merchandised cultural and business icon, very different from the rolled tobacco leaves that Native Americans smoked. The social branding has come through both Hollywood and women’s magazines, cleverly disguised through feminine or masculine idols. Cigarettes were used to portray various emotions in Hollywood films, way back in the 1930s and 40s, and soon became a method of self-expression. Dr. Brandt describes it as “fashioning” cigarette behavior.
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