The History Of Smoking In America

1290 words - 5 pages

Smoking is a prevalent sub-culture within American society. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention it is estimated that 18% of American adults smoke. Now 18% may not sound like a startling number but this small percentage is actually about 42 million people. (29-34) They may not be one of the largest sub-cultures in the country but this is a sub-group that millions have chosen to be a part of. With this many Americans a part of this sub-culture it is important to analyze the culture both present and past. Smoking and America has a long history that still has new twists and turns to this day. Using these evaluations of both past and present there is a possibility one can predict the next big event within the sub-culture of smokers.
Millions are smoking every day in America and while they are not great in number compared to the overall population they do pack a punch on the health system of the nation. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the nation that accounts for almost 500,000 deaths a year. Those who haven’t passed away from this deadly habit may be one of the 16 million citizens who suffer from a smoking related disease such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. (29-34) As an additional cost to this health-risking lifestyle “for every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, about 30 more people suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking.” This fact comes for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services who also state that smokers tend to live 10 years less than their counter-part. (2014) This is the present state of smoking and its medical impact on the sub-group, now it is time to look into the history of the sub-culture.
The history of smoking in America can be traced back to the birth of the nation when Native Americans smoked tobacco and shared it with the new colonists. From that point on the cigarette began to take shape. The crude form of cigarettes was pipe smoking, then cigars, then finally, in the late 1800’s; the cigarette known today came to fruition. Sales skyrocketed and smoking became a norm in the nation. Meanwhile, scientific journals were beginning to print reports of the connection between smoking and diseases. Unfortunately, this information seldom reached the public knowledge and went unknown until 1952 when Reader’s Digest published “Cancer by the Carton.” Reader’s Digest was one of the most popular magazines at the time and thus made quite a wave by exposing the truth about the deadly habit. (CNN) Cigarette sales immediately declined and continued to do so for the next 20 years. Tobacco companies tried to combat these new facts by making “healthier” cigarettes with filters and reduced tar and while these campaigns helped them keep their head above water it did not help the declining sales. (Christensen)
The biggest historical blow to the tobacco companies was in the early 1960s when the first...

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