Smoking has been controversial ever since tobacco came to Europe in the 16th century. Fifty years ago almost everyone smoked, 50 years before that, cigarettes were illegal in several U.S. states. Smoking has always been a ready source of revenue and 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 and the misinformation about, and unreasoning hostility directed at, smoking and smokers is one reason for this book. Smoking has no public cost—it puts individual smokers at risk but does not put the public purse at risk. Prompted by this surprising discovery, psychology professor Staddon looked further into the facts. The more he looked, the weaker the case against smoking as a public health issue became. So, if smoking has no public cost and the medical case for third-party harm is weak, why are smokers victimized in so many ways? This book tries to find out—and the answer is not pretty.
Prize-winning landscape painter David Hockney, a prominent smokers' rights activist who Staddon met during a visit to Britain, illustrates the book which was featured on Book TV.