The classic American struggle between the public interest and corporate interests is perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in the decades-long struggle between the tobacco industry and advocates for public health. The failure of the "global settlement" legislation is now viewed by many public health experts as an historic missed opportunity, and in this extraordinary book, Smoke in Their Eyes, Michael Pertschuk brilliantly describes the forces brought to bear.
A lifelong public health leader and tobacco control advocate, Pertschuk provides uncommon insight into the movement and its opposition. Questions that reveal themselves here can be applied to public advocacy as a whole: how can movement leaders gauge and best employ popular support? Who has legitimacy to speak on behalf of a particular public cause? And perhaps most crucially, how is it possible for those whose cause is a moral one to strike political compromise?
With a narrative as compelling as the issues it raises, Smoke in Their Eyes will be of great interest to everyone from students of public advocacy and political science to general readers.
"Nobody has a broader or clearer understanding of the worldwide antitobacco movement than Michael Pertschuk. His inside analysis of how its brightest hour suddenly turned into its darkest moment is an urgent object lesson, teaching that even those firmly on the side of the angels can be consumed by righteousness and self-importance. In this case, the good guys let themselves be blinded to the hard realities of the political process always lurking in the shadows. The U.S. public health community's failure to seriously blunt the perils of smoking--the nationís most destructive drug--when it had the tobacco industry reeling is a national tragedy that needed to be chronicled."--Richard Kluger, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ashes to Ashes