First off, I am not a smoker. I have smoked cigarettes before, and enjoy the occasional cigar, but don't consider myself a smoker. However I was intrigued when I saw this book in Barnes and Noble this afternoon (I thought the box was very clever) and ended up sitting down and reading pretty much the entire book.
You don't have to be a smoker to appreciate the effort put into this collection of art, including old advertisements, photos, paintings, and quotes from an array of influential people from the past two centuries. This is not a glorification of smoking; neither is it an indictment. Rather, it asks the reader to forget for awhile their beliefs about smoking and realize what a large part smoking played in American culture as well as European culture.
Yes, smoking can kill you. But to immeadiatly dismiss this book as a nostalgic collection for the fiendish smoker is juvenile, and frankly, disrespectful; like it or not, tobacco has played an enormous part in this country's history. This book does a very good job of taking the reader beyond their beliefs to see a whole world of art, life, and culture that revolved around smoking.