Life After Cigarettes One Year Out: A Few Updates

Now that Life After Cigarettes has been out for a year and some change, I thought it might be an opportune moment to sift through my follow-up file and provide a few updates: In Chapter 4, I mentioned evidence that in addition to increasing physical activity, it’s important to reduce sedentary time.  A new study by Em­man­u­el Sta­matakis and colleagues in the American Journal of...
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Selling Cigarettes by Selling Thinness

You might think the tobacco industry was in serious trouble. Public health campaigns to reduce smoking have resulted in cutting smoking rates in the U.S. from a peak over 60% in men and 40% in women to the current rate of around 20% (where, incidentally, it’s been stalled for several years). Government intervention has resulted in exposing deceitful practices designed to produce a more...
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Still Smoking After All These Years

Today’s New York Times ran a story by reporter Lizette Alvarez on “The Holdouts” – professionals who, in defiance of increasingly menacing health warnings, spend their breaks dashing to an elevator, descending to the concrete canyon below, trudging to an area that meets the minimum requirement of being at least 25 feet from the skyscraper where they work, however inclement the weather, in...
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Dr. Jean Kilbourne: An Appreciation

Today’s blog post honors Dr. Jean Kilbourne and her work in publicizing the effects of advertising on women and girls.  Over the course of her long career as an author, public speaker, media critic, and documentary filmmaker, she has helped us all see what was hidden in plain sight – that Madison Avenue not only sells us consumer goods but, in her words, “changes the way we think and...
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Smoking and Weight: What Big Tobacco Doesn’t Tell You

Some years ago, after I had given a talk to a group of psychologists on weight concerns as a barrier to quitting smoking, an attractive young woman from the audience approached me to say that in the South American country where she had grown up (I can’t remember which one it was), she had never heard that smoking suppresses weight.  Indeed, she hadn’t even put two and two together when she...
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“Torches of Liberty”

My diatribes about tobacco advertising often focus on its role in promoting nicotine’s weight-suppressing effects (and probably in encouraging our strong preference for slimness as well).  Like all successful seducers, however, the tobacco industry has more than one arrow in its quiver.  In this post I’d like to talk about smoking as a symbol of women’s rights and the way in which the...
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The End of Overeating: A Review

I have read many explanations for the so-called “obesity epidemic” in the U.S. The phenomenon is undoubtedly multifactorial, with the success of anti-smoking public health campaigns and consequent postcessation weight gain numbering among the culprits.  Other possible contributors include the aging population and ethnic shifts that increase the representation of groups that place...
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