Misinformation about smoking
Other Names: Tobacco myths
Nature: The effects of smoking tobacco on human health are becoming startlingly clear. The reason for the long delay in recognising these health effects is in part due to the delay between starting smoking and the advent of health effects. The tobacco industry has been aware of these adverse health effects and has played them down over the years, even going to ellaborate lengths, providing counter-arguement scientific data, disputing prevailing scientific thinking, criticising anti-smoking lobbies and, through advertising and public media, presenting confusing and distorted informations on the health effects of smoking.
Counter Claim: Industry double-talk notwithstanding, warnings about the health risks of smoking go back hundreds of years. James I, in his 1604 Counterblaste to Tobacco, called smoking "a custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs." In every generation, tobacco's opponents have echoed him, attributing a long list of maladies to smoking. Persuasive scientific evidence of tobacco's hazards, which began to emerge in the early 1930s, has received widespread attention since the '50s. Likewise, the difficulty of giving up the tobacco habit has been common knowledge for centuries. James I's lord chancellor, Sir Francis Bacon, observed, "In our times the use of tobacco is growing greatly and conquers men with a certain secret pleasure, so that those who have once become accustomed thereto can later hardly be restrained therefrom." The 17th-century polemicist Johann Michael Moscherosch called smokers "thralls to the tobacco fiend," while Cotton Mather dubbed them "Slaves to the pipe." Fagon, Louis XIV's court physician, described the tobacco habit as "a fatal, insatiable necessity - a permanent epilepsy."
Problem Type: J: Problems Under Consideration
Date of last update 22.05.2003 – 00:00 CEST