(Roughly) Daily

“A cigarette is a pinch of tobacco rolled in paper with fire at one end and a fool at the other”*…

Joe Camel’s late mannerist phase, when the writing was on the wall

Any number of social and culture issues that one might have thought resolved, have come unraveled over the last decade or so; issues thought resolved are again open. Max Read suggests (in a not altogether tongue-in-cheek way) that smoking might be next…

One way of thinking about this newsletter (Read Max) is as equities analysis for the discursive marketplace, answering important questions for the armchair take trader: What discourses have peaked? What concepts should you short? How are you balancing your take portfolio?

My longtime professional and personal experience as a poster has left me adept at seeing the hidden structures that lurk behind the peaks and valleys of “the discourse”; paid subscribers in particular are well-positioned to profit from the insight offered by Read Max’s sophisticated and proprietary models.

For a while now, Read Max analysts have been intrigued by what is often called on Twitter “smoking discourse,” as in “cigarettes.” Now, following certain recent events on Twitter, we’re prepared to advise clients that we believe strong “pro-smoking” positions grounded in socio-political identities are poised to have a “moment” soon. Our analysis indicates that certain structural factors are in place to encourage arguments like “smoking is good for society, actually” and “anti-smoking laws are bad science/policy” to move past “trolling” and be adopted as common sense by a loose confederation of IDW [“intellectual dark web”] Substackers, trad nutritionists, and downtown cool kids, building on the ties formed between these groups around the COVID-19 pandemic…

Read on for a too-plausible take on the future of public debate: “The coming pro-smoking discourse,” from @readmaxread.

* George Bernard Shaw


As we brush away the ashes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1962 that recently-appointed Surgeon General Luther L. Terry announced that he would convene a committee of experts to conduct a comprehensive review of the scientific literature on the smoking question. In June 1961, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the National Tuberculosis Association, and the American Public Health Association had addressed a letter to President John F. Kennedy, in which they called for a national commission on smoking, dedicated to “seeking a solution to this health problem that would interfere least with the freedom of industry or the happiness of individuals.” The Kennedy administration responded the following year (after prompting from a widely circulated critical study on cigarette smoking by the Royal College of Physicians of London).

Terry issued the commission’s report– highlighting the deleterious health consequences of tobacco use– on January 11, 1964, choosing a Saturday to minimize the effect on the stock market and to maximize coverage in the Sunday papers. As Terry remembered the event, two decades later, the report “hit the country like a bombshell. It was front page news and a lead story on every radio and television station in the United States and many abroad.”

U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry addressing press conference at the release of the 1964 Report on Smoking and Health (source)

Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 7, 2023 at 1:00 am

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