Tobacco kills 5 million people every year and that number is expected to double by the year 2020. Despite its enormous toll on human health, tobacco has been largely neglected by anthropologists. Drinking Smoke combines an exhaustive search of historical materials on the introduction and spread of tobacco in the Pacific with extensive anthropological accounts of the ways Islanders have incorporated this substance into their lives. In Drinking Smoke, the idea of a syndemic is applied to the current health crisis in the Pacific, where the number of deaths from coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease continues to rise, and the case is made that smoking tobacco in the form of industrially manufactured cigarettes is the keystone of the contemporary syndemic in Oceania.
Drinking Smoke is the first book-length examination of the damaging tobacco syndemic in a specific world region. It is a must-read for scholars and students of anthropology, Pacific studies, history, and economic globalization, as well as for public health practitioners and those working in allied health fields. More broadly the book will appeal to anyone concerned with disease interaction, the social context of disease production, and the full health consequences of the global promotional efforts of Big Tobacco.
2013, 312 pages, 21 illustrations, 4 maps; ISBN: 978-0-8248-3685-6, Cloth $54.00