From Postmedia’s review of Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes:
“Women take up smoking because it does a lot for them. It’s empowering to women,” says historian Sharon Anne Cook, distinguished professor at the University of Ottawa and the author of Sex, Lies and Cigarettes, a new book that traces the relationship between Canadian women, tobacco and popular culture from 1880 to 2000.
The relationship is a complex one. It’s not a simple matter of advertisers luring women to become consumers of an addictive and potentially lethal product. For more than a century, women used that product to shape their own changing identities, says Cook, who has never been a smoker.
Women use cigarettes as social currency, borrowing them and lending them. There’s the posturing and the stance of the smoker. A smoker can use her hands to make dramatic gestures or hold the cigarette to her face in the provocative “flag position.”
Cigarettes allow women to express rebellion or to be one of the boys in the workplace. They have been used as an aid to suppress appetite and stay slim.
Read the full review
Photos excerpted from Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes: Canadian Women, Smoking, and Visual Culture, 1880-2000