The Great Tobacco War
September 27, 2012
“According to the New England Journal of Medicine, deaths from coronary heart disease in adults ages 25-84 living in the U.S., dropped from 542.9-266.8 per 100,000 from 1980-2000. Smoking, among other factors, contributes to coronary heart disease. According to the American Cancer Society, there was a sixteen percent decrease in lung cancer deaths among men from 1991-2003. There was a ten percent cancer rise in women simply because rates of women who smoked dropped more recently than those of men.” — smokingstatistics.org
Glenn Morgan would be pleased. Back in 1988, Glenn and his friends, all creations of author Arthur L. Hoffman, engaged in what could only be called a conspiracy — a conspiracy to commit a healthier world.
They lived in a country and a culture where certain behavior was considered illegal. They were convinced that the particular behaviors in which they engaged would save or at least prolong the lives of people. Their convictions led them to commit acts that their society deemed illegal.
Morgan et al, moved by a significant emotional event, enthusiastically crossed the line and never looked back.
Glen Morgan and Company took on “Big Tobacco” and in this emotional fantasy, unlike the tragedy of Preston Tucker, they won. Morgan’s dominoes fell just right and in the end, saved millions of lives.
Hoffman grabs the reader by the throat, shakes them awake, and makes us hope that what we are reading is not fiction. In what has been described as the “world’s first anti-smoking novel,” we experience the emotions of Hoffman’s characters, come to understand their motivations, and hope for an impossible outcome with the turn of every page.
Hoffman has created interesting characters for whom we quickly come to care — or dislike — but nonetheless have empathy. Twenty-four years later, we can still be challenged and motivated to action while yearning for a sequel.