Learning to Smoke
Tobacco Use in the West
Hughes traces the transformations of tobacco and its use over time, from its role as a hallucinogen in Native American shamanistic ritual to its use as a prophylactic against the plague and a cure for cancer by early Europeans, and finally to the current view of smoking as a global pandemic. He then analyzes tobacco from the perspective of the individual user, exploring how its consumption relates to issues of identity and life changes. Comparing sociocultural and personal experiences, Hughes ultimately asks what the patterns of tobacco use mean for the clinical treatment of smokers and for public policy on smoking. Pointing the way, then, to a more learned and sophisticated understanding of tobacco use, this study will prove to be essential reading for anyone interested in the history of smoking and the sociology of addiction.
Norbert Elias Foundation: Norbert Elias Prize
“Hughes makes an excellent effort simultaneously to fill an embarrassing gap in the sociological literature regarding tobacco use and to demonstrate that tobacco use cannot be adequately addressed solely from a clinical perspective.”
Introduction: Why People Smoke: A Question for Sociologists?
1. Tobacco Use among Native American Peoples
2. Tobacco Use and Humoral Bodies: The Introduction of Tobacco into Britain and Other Parts of Europe
3. Tobacco Use and Clinical Bodies: Tobacco Usw in the Twentieth-Century West
4. Becoming a Smoker