Smokeless Tobacco in the Western World, 1550-1950

Smokeless Tobacco in the Western World, 1550-1950

Smokeless Tobacco in the Western World, 1550-1950

Smokeless Tobacco in the Western World, 1550-1950

Synopsis

This book provides the first comprehensive history of smokeless tobacco consumption from 1550 through the middle of the 20th century in Europe and North America. Focusing throughout on the individual consumer of tobacco, author Jan Rogonzinski presents and analyzes consumption data and summarizes the economic and other factors that have affected consumer choices. Of particular significance is a chapter on the governmental regulation of the marketing of tobacco that indicates an economic linkage between the new and the old worlds in the use of state-granted monopolies to market tobacco in Europe.

Excerpt

I have enjoyed writing this book. And I hope that I have been able to communicate some of the subject's inherent appeal to the reader. The ways in which men and women have consumed tobacco over the past five centuries is in itself an interesting topic. Moreover, since it has been used in virtually every region of the globe since about 1600 A.D., tobacco -- especially smokeless tobacco -- has been present in widely differing societies. Thus, the many different ways this product has been grown, manufactured, consumed, and regulated provides a kind of heuristic key (or touchstone) that is useful in understanding life in various societies.

Cane sugar is perhaps the only other substance of comparable importance in so many places over so long a span of time. And it would be interesting to compare the use of these two products during various eras. However, these two substances do differ in one crucial respect. During the nineteenth century, cane sugar began to decline in importance with the introduction first of beet sugar and then of substitutes such as saccharin. In contrast, there still is no substitute for tobacco, which thus remains unique in its market.

As the notes indicate, writing a history of smokeless tobacco consumption throughout the world and during more than four centuries is in large part a cooperative venture with earlier scholars in several fields. For assistance in gaining access to these sources, I owe thanks to the staffs of the Library of Congress and the Arents Collection at the New York Public Library. For their encouragement and assistance with technical matters, I am grateful to William Douwes, president of Dowes Communications, and Harry W. Peter III, senior vice president of UST Incorporated.

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