"Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition"

Jul 20, 2012

How many cigarettes are sold each year, worldwide? Believe it or not, six trillion. Our guest, who calls the cigarette "the deadliest artifact in the history of human civilization," was the first-ever historian, several years ago, to testify in court against Big Tobacco. On this installment of our show, we speak by phone with Robert N. Proctor, Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University. His new book, just out from the University of California Press, is called "Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition." It's, quite obviously, a book that takes a stance --- a certain and unwavering point of view --- regarding its subject, but it's also, at more than 750 pages, very deeply researched and methodically articulated. Indeed, "Golden Holocaust" employs scores of formerly-secret tobacco-industry documents to carefully explain how the cigarette came to be the most widely-used drug on the planet. You can learn more about this vast and thorough work of scholarship here.