Today nearly everyone you know
will warn you about the dangers of smoking.
然而 尽管政府 激进组织以及医疗机构尽了他们最大的努力
However, despite the best efforts of governments, activist groups, and the medical profession,
about 42 million Americans smoke regularly.
How is it that something so bad for you is still so popular?
Tobacco has a history going back thousands of years,
and the dangers of smoking were not always known.
The first use of tobacco is recorded as far back as 600 AD.
The plant is native to the Americas,
and was first cultivated by the natives for various uses.
Often they did not use tobacco recreational,
but for religious and social rituals.
In large doses, tobacco can be a hallucinogen,
used by mystics to induce visions.
今天 我们应该说 有些东西像香烟一样是美国的
Today, we should say something is as American as cigarettes.
Apple pie isn’t particularly American,
and the US is the world’s second largest producer of tobacco.
Some of the first English colonists in America came searching for gold.
When they quickly learned that Virginia doesn’t have any gold,
they turned to tobacco growing to make the profits.
And it worked too!
What’s better than a product that people get literally addicted to?
Tobacco is an odd crop.
It can grow only at a certain density
因此 种植越多的烟草 就需要更多的土地
and so more land would always be needed to grow more tobacco.
It also doesn’t mix well with other plants
and destroys the soil it grows upon
The whole growing process is very labour intensive,
and so Virginia plantation owners needed to either trick their fellow Britons,
or kidnap Africans as slaves in order to keep production up.
It makes sense then why the founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson
defined the American dream by owning land and working it with slaves.
tobacco didn’t enjoy unanimous love.
King James the First of England in particular despised Tobacco,
and published an entire treatise about how disgusting it was.
More recently, you might know about the anti-smoking campaigns of the Nazis.
The Germans were some of the first to figure out the link between cancer and smoking,
and the response from the authoritarian government was very strong.
With the intent of maintaining the reproductive health of the pure German people,
the Nazis banned smoking from many public places,
ran large education campaigns
and even limited tobacco rations to their soldiers.
Like anything associated with Nazi policy,
anti-smoking measures had a sour taste in the world’s mouth for a number of decades.
It is actually rather recently
that smoking was definitively labelled as unhealthy.
A study by the Medical Research Council of lung cancer patients in 1949
confirmed a decade of building evidence that smoking and lung cancer were highly correlated.
Between 1951 and 1954,
they surveyed almost 60,000 doctors from around the world.
By 1956, the science was incontrovertible.
This would not be the end of smoking however.
Anyone who has seen the first episode of Mad Men
will know that cigarette manufacturers went to long lengths
to get people smoking as long as possible.
This involved misinformation campaigns, advertising,
and lobbying of government agencies to meddle the information about the health hazards of smoking.
Despite overwhelming evidence,
for nearly a decade in the US,
there was no official word from the Surgeon General about this topic.
In 1964, the first Surgeon General’s warning on the dangers of smoking came out to the public,
and the last fifty years have not been good for the plant.
Around the world,
restrictions of smoking,
and true consensus building
have hurt smoking ’ s numbers in the west.
Many consider it one of the most successful campaigns to change behavior in a population.
This campaign has had a couple drawbacks we must contend with.
While smoking has decreased in the west,
the same companies that meddled with the information in the politics of tobacco restrictions here,
are at it again in the growing economies in Asia.
China and Indonesia have staggering smoking rates,
and they’re trying to keep it that way in those countries.
We also have turned to blaming the smoker for their addiction.
Smokers are addicts to a drug
that is notoriously hard to quit,
and need your love and support to get them to stop.
In the fight for research money,
this translates to depressingly low amounts of funding for research to treat lung cancer.
To bring it to today,
we need to be careful about scientific debates in political realms.
When different political parties are arguing over something in the realm of science,
it likely means that a lot of money,
and economic interests are playing a role.
Check out the information for yourself.
Does this make you think of tobacco or smoking differently?
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