Since tobacco found its way into Europe in the sixteenth century, smoking has been a controversial issue. Fifty years ago, almost everyone smoked, and fifty years before that, smokers were in the doghouse; up until the early twentieth century, cigarettes were illegal in a number of U.S. states.
Needless to say, smoking has always been a ready source of revenue. It has also been a source of health concerns, both real and imagined.
This mixture of pleasure, money and risk that comes with the act of smoking means that it's rarely treated fairly by politicians, health professionals or the public. Nowadays, tough anti-smoking laws are to be obeyed in most corners of the globe.
The misinformation about, and unreasoning hostility directed at, smoking and smokers is one of the major concerns of this book. After all, smoking has no public cost. Isn't it just the individual smokers who are at risk?
Prompted by this burgeoning fascination, Staddon looks further into the facts. And the more he looks, the weaker the case against smoking as a public health issue becomes.
Is ETS really dangerous to children? And if so, how can science prove it? And if smoking has no public cost and the medical case for third-party harm is weak, why are smokers still being victimised?
In this provocative, thought-provoking book, Staddon is determined to uncover the truth about smoking. But the truth's not always pretty.