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Tobacco

One product that is emblematic of the entire consumer culture is tobacco. Grown in the new world, its cultivation was crucial to the building of empires. Already an item of mass consumption in many European countries by the eighteenth century, its price inelasticity has placed it at the heart of the fiscal policies of modern states. Packaged and commodified as the cigarette, tobacco seemed to be at the forefront of the Second Industrial Revolution and all its associated features, including branding, advertising, and salesmanship. Long celebrated in fiction, film, and photography, by the latter half of the twentieth century tobacco's dangerous health effects helped secure the authority of new forms of scientific expertise (epidemiology) while for millions of addicts trying to give up smoking it ...

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