Pietrusza presents a competent and balanced treatment of a controversial subject. The introduction reveals that "more than forty-five million Americans smoke tobacco." The first chapter provides an overview of the history and economic impact of tobacco and is followed by a reasoned discussion of smoking and disease. The author devotes an entire chapter to the debate over the addictive properties of nicotine and marshals an impressive array of facts. Entertaining stories of public and private conflict between smokers and nonsmokers enliven the chapter titled "Secondhand smoke and smokers' rights." The chapter on teenagers and smoking emphasizes the marketing of cigarettes directed toward youth, with such advertising ploys as the "Joe Camel" character and tobacco companies' sponsorship of certain sporting events. A section on court attacks on tobacco companies and demands for compensation for tobacco-related injuries and deaths is as current as today's headlines. The author provides a list of organizations, both for and against tobacco products, to contact for further information, including their e-mail addresses and Web sites. "Suggestions for Further Reading," listing only four books ranging from 1986 to 1994, seems unnecessary, since the author includes an extensive bibliography of works consulted. An attractive typeface and spacious white margins make the volume visually pleasing. Blocks of text are interspersed with many illustrations, graphs, cartoons, and photographs. Although the black-and-white photos are sometimes grainy or murky, they have a documentary-like immediacy that is appealing. This volume will be an essential resource for school and public libraries serving middle school and high school students. Index. Illus. Photos. Further Reading. VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M J S (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Gr 7 UpA fairly subjective treatment of the topic, this book subtly conveys the message that smoking is not in anyone's best interest. The writing is clear and concise, albeit somewhat dry at times. The text is honest in its presentation of the pressures put on people to try tobacco and the ongoing debates about its effects. Pietrusza documents the government's ambivalence toward tobacco, noting the attempts to regulate sales on the one hand, and the subsidies paid to farmers on the other. Another anomaly the author points out is that even though sales of tobacco to teens is illegal, marketing campaigns targeted toward this age group are not. The book is loaded with black-and-white photos, charts, diagrams, and cartoons. Organizations to contact include both pro and con tobacco groups. Suggestions for further reading list only four titles including Margaret Hyde's Know About Smoking (Walker, 1990) and Brian Ward's Smoking and Health (Watts, 1986). This book has some new material and will be a solid addition to previously published titles.Marilyn Fairbanks, East Junior High School, Brockton, MA