The game of tobacco use began in Europe in 1560 when the first tobacco seeds were sent from Lisbon to the king of France, by Jean Nicot. From kings' and nobles' exclusive use, it gradually and progressively became popular among the public, as a new player. Eighty-eight years ago (1929), Fritz Linkint, an extraordinary researcher in Germany, while reviewing existing evidence regarding a wide range of cancers potentially caused by smoking, indicated that smoking was a cause of respiratory disease. Despite the overwhelming accumulated evidence of the negative effects of nicotine intake, the prevalence of tobacco use is not expected to decline in the near future. What have we missed thus far in the game that claims more than seven million deaths annually worldwide? Although tobacco use is recognized as a major health problem, the persistent habit creates a dissonance between public health initiatives to reduce tobacco consumption and the choices citizens are making. To understand this dissonance, consideration first must be given to the social meaning attributed to smoking. Second, the political dissonance between health imperatives and social agendas is discussed with regard to relevant theory. Third, health promotion strategies can make a strong contribution to win the game from a negentropic perspective, that is to say, a public health vision that is structured towards an overarching goal.
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health