Research Project: Tobacco, History and Health Issues

Essay by maguirre2005College, Undergraduate April 2006

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Tobacco and the history of the USA

The role tobacco played in the history of the US must not be underestimated regardless of America's enthusiastic anti-tobacco campaign that entails an attempt to clear its past from any traces of tobacco whatsoever. On the one hand tobacco was and still is considered devilish, yet the initial stages of America's economy partly originate in tobacco planting. The columns of the Capitol represent tobacco plants and the first couple of America, John Rolfe and Pocahontas, supported themselves by tobacco planting and trading

Who smokes?

The highest recorded level of smoking among men was 82% in 1948. Among women, smoking popularity remained somewhat constant between 1948 and 1970 and peaked at 45% in 1966. Overall frequency among adults (aged 16 and over) fell steadily between the mid 1970s and the 1990s, faster among men than women, until there was no difference between the men and women.

Since the mid 1990s, smoking rates appear to have stabilized. However, the smoking prevalence in 2002 is estimated to have been 24% for women and 26% for men.

Cigarette Smoking and Socio Economic Groups

There is a strong connection between smoking and socio economic groups. In 2001 33% of men and 30% of women in blue-collar occupations smoked compared to 22% of men and 20% of women in white-collar occupations. There has been a slower decline in smoking among blue-collar groups, so that smoking has become increasingly concentrated in these groups. In 2001, a new socio-economic classification was introduced by the Office for National Statistics making comparisons with earlier years more problematic. However, as in previous years, smoking incidence remains significantly higher among people employed in blue-collar occupations compared to those in managerial and professional employment.

Smoking and Young People

Very few students are smokers when they start...