The use of tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Since the mid-1970s, a formidable social movement has emerged in response to this vital public health problem. How has the tobacco control movement become such a significant force in shaping contemporary public policy, social norms, and the habits of millions of Americans? This text develops two central arguments to answer this question. First, the movement was able to grow rapidly by building upon a rich "infrastructure" of health organizations and networks of health professionals. Second, the movement has an integral relationship with government, one that Wolfson categorizes as state-movement "inter-penetration". While these factors have contributed to the rapid growth of the tobacco control movement, and to its influence, they have also constrained the strategies and tactics available to movement activists. Wolfson uses survey data, extensive interviews, and archival sources to chart the early emergence and widespread growth of the movement in Minnesota, a state that has led the nation in tobacco control activism and policy.
He also draws upon secondary data and sources to place the Minnesota experience within a broader national context. As the claims against tobacco manufacturers and the defenses of industry lobbyists and corporate communications offices have often collided, this study lends itself to the social constructionist approach adopted here.
Publisher: Transaction Publishers