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Smoke Damage

Smoke Damage

by Michael Schwalbe

"These moving portraits provide powerful and intimate evidence of the tragic harms of smoking. Michael Schwalbe captures in both photographs and personal testimony the human costs of the tobacco pandemic, as well as the courageous men and women fighting the good fight in the tobacco wars." – Allan Brandt, Harvard University, author of The Cigarette Century

Tobacco use causes over 440,000 premature deaths every year in the United States, or about 20 percent of all annual mortality in the nation. Such statistics remind us of the enormity of the problem, yet offer no insight into how tobacco-related disease is experienced by individuals and their families.

Smoke Damage fills this gap by putting a human face on America's most profitable and most preventable epidemic. Through interviews and photographs, sociologist Michael Schwalbe takes readers beyond the usual statistics and shows the real people—disease survivors, "tobacco widows," educators, activists, legislators, lawyers, researchers, and farmers—on the front lines of America's ongoing tobacco wars. The result is a poignant study of how tobacco-related disease is experienced not only by its victims but also by those who are dedicated to fighting it.

In his introductory essay, Schwalbe examines the scope of the tobacco problem, discusses its economic roots, and writes of his own experience of tobacco's costs. In his afterword, he explores patterns in the lives of disease survivors, offers policy recommendations, and invites readers to take action. Smoke Damage is for anyone whose life has been touched by tobacco-related disease and who wants to understand why the epidemic persists and what can be done to end it.

Michael Schwalbe is professor of sociology at North Carolina State University. He is author of Unlocking the Iron Cage: The Men's Movement, Gender Politics, and American Culture, The Sociologically Examined Life, and Rigging the Game: How Inequality Is Reproduced in Everyday Life.

"Schwalbe's book is original, important, moving, and strangely beautiful. His masterful black-and white portraits are keen sociological observations of people in their natural environments. Smoke Damage will be a lasting statement about the complex world of people who have experienced and resisted the collateral damage caused by tobacco." – Doug Harper, Duquesne University, author of Working Knowledge

"Michael Schwalbe has made a handsome and fascinating book out of the ugly subject of tobacco smoking. The photographs and testimony of victims of tobacco, and of people who have spent the better part of their lives fighting the economic and political interests that keep tobacco so easily available, tell an important story that could not be told any other way." – Howard S. Becker, author of Outsiders

"Smoke Damage is elegant and simple, presenting black-and-white pictures and diverse stories of the atrocities our government has allowed to occur for decades, despite overwhelming and irrefutable scientific information about the health hazards of tobacco use. The book is a testament to those who have suffered and those who have valiantly fought the tobacco wars." – Dr. Richard Carmona, University of Arizona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States

128 pp. 10 x 10 inches

45 black and white photographs

$19.95 Paper

ISBN: 978-0-9815620-8-7

2011