Cigarettes: Anatomy of an Industry from Seed to Smoke

by Tara Parker-Pope (Author)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
Observing that "the cigarette is the only consumer product that, when used as
the manufacturer has intended, can be deadly," Wall Street Journal reporter
Parker-Pope writes an absorbing and informative history of cigarettes,
addressing why we start smoking, why we continue and what it costs us, while
simultaneously charting the growth of an industry that boasts profit margins as
high as 40% to 50%. With its extraordinary profits, low-cost product and loyal
and expandable customer base, the cigarette industry, she claims, is the envy of
modern business, though not all industries can hope to manufacture a product
that is as addictive. Since nobody naturally craves nicotine, the industry has
had to persuade its customers to buy something they don't really need--a
conundrum that has been handily resolved with $5 billion worth of seductive
advertising that sells $53 billion worth of cigarettes per year in the U.S.
alone, according to Parker-Pope. Her up-to-date coverage of the recent tobacco
industry litigation is not only concise and accessible, but illuminating about
tobacco companies' ability to use the litigation to stay in business, reduce
their future liability and increase sales. While business may proceed as usual
in the cigarette industry and the ranks of smokers may grow worldwide,
Parker-Pope makes certain that her readers cannot ignore that once a person
becomes a regular smoker, nicotine becomes such a necessary part of the body's
chemistry that only 10% of smokers can successfully quit, that in 1999 smokers
spent $730 million on smoke cessation products such as patches and gum, that 3.5
million people worldwide die annually of smoking-related ailments and that
Americans spend $50 billion each year on smoking-related health care. Illus.
(Feb.) Forecast: Jacketed in an eye-catching cigarette pack design and less
intimidating in girth than other recent chronicles of the cigarette industry,
this slim and hard-hitting report--part everything-you-needed-to-know-about-cigarettes and part documentary
expose--could ride the wave of continuing public concern about cigarette
manufacturers and their advertising techniques.

From Library Journal
This book has great possibilities, as it draws together the history of tobacco
with the story of modern marketing efforts to get people hooked on smoking, the
emergence of health issues, and the legal battle over the massive costs of
tobacco-related death and disability. Unfortunately, journalist Parker-Pope
(Wall Street Journal) attempts all this in 200 pages of breezy prose filled with
extraordinarily simplified analysis. Her historical treatment is at best sketchy
and sometimes highly suspect. At one point, she comes very close to implying
that tobacco was a significant cause of the Revolutionary War. She relies almost
exclusively on "tobacco historians" rather than searching more broadly for
perspectives on the emergence of tobacco within the larger agricultural economy
and society. Cigarettes does have some useful points, including a nice summary
of the evolution of the health issue during the 20th century, but the book
generally proves to be disjointed and disorganized. Although it never attempts
to match Richard Kluger's massive Ashes to Ashes (LJ 6/15/96. o.p.), we still
await a brief alternative.

Product Details

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: NORTON & COMPANY; 1 edition (February 2001)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 156584503X



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