Italy's Love Affair with the Cigarette
Carl Ipsen


Contents and Abstracts
Introduction: First Puff
chapter abstract

The introduction reviews briefly the history of tobacco in the West and engages with the historiography on tobacco generally and in various national settings, most notably the US and UK. It addresses the psychological, economic, social and cultural roles played by tobacco in history and introduces some of the main areas to be covered in the book: smoking and gender, smoking and poverty/wealth, smoking in literature and film. It traces a trajectory of smoking common to multiple national contexts from an elite male activity to a mass behavior that crosses the gender divide to an activity eventually rejected by the elite but maintaining its hold on lower-income segments and continuing to exercise a fascination for youth.

1 Toscano: Smoking in Italy before World War I
chapter abstract

Chapter 1 traces the establishment of the Italian Monopolio dello Stato that produced, distributed and sold tobacco products in Italy following Italian unification (1870) and through to the first World War. It devotes a section to Italy's best known literary smoker, namely Zeno Cosini in Italo Svevo's novel The Conscience of Zeno and traces changing tastes as Italians began to switch from cigars to cigarettes. It includes consideration of health claims made regarding smoking in the period and also the significant role that cigarette smoking played in the life of the soldiers of the Great War. Finally it reviews the presence and meaning of depictions of smoking in the popular press, other authors (D'Annunzio, Pirandello, Serao et al.) and in silent cinema.

2 Macedonia: Smoking between the Wars
chapter abstract

Chapter 2 explores Fascist management of the Italian tobacco industry including the introduction of new brands and tobacco production in the colonies. Fascist attitudes about smoking are compared with those of Hitler and Germany. The chapter looks at how smoking in interwar cinema and literature serves multiple purposes: signaling romantic passion, moderating moments of tensions, and marking class and gender roles. Film directors discussed include Mario Camerini and Alessandro Blasetti while significant literary figures include Alberto Moravia and Liala.

3 Eva: Women and Smoking before World War II
chapter abstract

This chapter examines attitudes about women smoking from the 1860s to 1940s as revealed in depictions of female smokers in the fine arts, in magazines, and in etiquette manuals and other publications that discuss female behavior. The Fascist period saw particular concern expressed about so-called "crisis women" who were inevitably smokers. Fascist-era cinema reveals indeed an association of smoking and loose women, but also at times depicts smoking as modern and empowering.

4 Nazionali: Smoking and Poverty in Postwar Italy
chapter abstract

This chapter tracks increased cigarette production and consumption after the war in the context of Christian Democratic administrations and rapid economic growth. Smoking figures in important anthropological work on Naples from the period, while cinematic and literary examples of the link between poverty/wealth and smoking are taken from Pasolini, Germi, Fellini and others.

5 Camel: Women, Sex, and Americane in the Postwar Decades
chapter abstract

This chapter opens with consideration of the way that (self-reported) male and female smoking prevalence changed over time. It looks at the postwar Italian fascination with all things American, including cigarettes. Female smoking increased dramatically in the postwar decades, and the chapter looks at that development and the relevant changing attitudes expressed by the smokers themselves, other observers, and in contemporary films. It concludes with a section on smoking and sex in postwar Italian literature and film (including for example, Visconti's Ossessione and Bassani's The Garden of the Finzi-Contini ).

6 Me ne frego: Smoking and Risk
chapter abstract

This chapter traces the debate in Italy over the health risks of smoking from the 1950s to the 1970s. In particular it looks at the introduction of filtered cigarettes as a strategy to reduce the alarm about smoking and lung cancer and discusses the introduction of laws banning tobacco advertising and imposing some restrictions on where smoking was permitted. It concludes with a discussion of Italian attitudes about risk in this period and the role they might have played in the tendency to ignore the health risks of smoking.

7 MS: Men, Women, and Smoking in the Era of Collective Action
chapter abstract

This chapter reviews the 1970s smoking landscape in Italy and in particular the increase in female smoking. It explores the intersection between smoking and important political/social movements of the era, namely the New Left and feminism. Finally it looks at the international literature on female smoking and considers what motivated so many women to take up the habit.

8 Marlboro Light: the Antismoking Era in Italy
chapter abstract

The main focus of this chapter is the growing antismoking movement in Italy that included a plethora of local regulations and eventually a national ban on smoking in public places (in 2005). It also looks at the misinformation campaigns of the tobacco industry and the marketing of low tar and nicotine cigarettes. It concludes with a look at youth and smoking (and again industry maneuvering to maintain market share among this crucial demographic).

9 Pall Mall: Contraband and Privatization
chapter abstract

The first half of this chapter traces the history of cigarette smuggling in Italy and the efforts of the authorities to combat that trade. The second half explores the process leading to the sale and privatization of the Italian State Tobacco Monopoly (completed in 2004). It also looks at tobacco litigation in Italy.