Anthropologists have long studied tobacco, what is today the world's greatest cause of preventable death. Their publications have garnered modest attention, however, even as the academy is increasingly interested in global health, transnational commoditization, pharmaceuticals, and the politics of life and death. We take stock of anthropology's tobacco literature and our discipline's broader appetites. We review how colleagues have studied health issues related to tobacco and engaged with theory and policy pertaining to the production, consumption, and regulation of drugs. We assess ways scholars working at the interface of anthropology and cigarettes have analyzed gender and ethnicity, corporate predation and industry-related harm, governmental management of disease, and the semiotics of misinformation. We discuss why anthropology has not more broadly and ardently engaged the study of tobacco. And we identify areas for further research capable of illuminating more fully tobacco's analytical potential and toxic effects.


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