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Book and Media Reviews
December 1, 2010

Tobacco or Health? Physiological and Social Damages Caused by Tobacco Smoking

JAMA. 2010;304(21):2419. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1746

What books and treatises can only tell, the popular Home Box Office television series Mad Men vividly portrays. Whereas the former are limited by the challenge of making the printed word spark the imagination, Mad Men is given to artistic and fictional license as it portrays the challenges advertising agencies faced in trying to further the counterfactual agenda of one of the world's most successful consumer product industries, the tobacco companies. The development of the fund of scientific knowledge about tobacco use, and the public relations campaign to deny that science, have long been parallel agendas, always dueling, rarely with a clear-cut winner. Ultimately, this duel has many losers, ie, those who have used tobacco and experienced the consequences—consequences still occurring today, despite a massive body of scientific evidence that should discourage any rational being from using tobacco products. Why this occurs is perhaps the reason for the tantalizing question that Knut-Olaf Haustein and David Groneberg have placed in the title of this book.

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