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In 2008 it was closed and dismantled the spectacular Duke Gar­dens near Princeton University. They were created by the famous heiress Doris Duke, in honor of her father, James Buchanan Duke. This last gentleman caused 100-million deaths during the 20th century. The gardens mentioned demonstrated, perhaps trivially, what was stated by philosopher Walter Benjamin: There has never been a document of culture, which is not simultaneously one of barbarism”.

“Buck” Duke was the inventor of the modern cigarette. By the end of the 20th century, this astute manufacturer entered the instantly ready-to-smoke tobacco market (without having to roll in small pieces of paper or cut off the cigarette tips) with the automated production of cigarettes. Without a cigarette maker like Carmen from opera by Bizet who rolled a maximum of 200 cigarettes per day, the machine he perfected with a mechanic named Bonsack produced 120,000 “cigarettes” during the same time. Thereby, rea­ching a oversupply that had to be sold – creating a demand for it.

The solution was cigarette marketing and advertising. These were placed in restaurants, bars, and cigar stores; thus, making them an important part of the worker’s period of rest and dining. Although, in principle, they were associated to women of free morals (“Smo­king is a great sensual pleasure. While smoking, I a wait for the man I love …” sang Sarita Montiel in the 1950s) in a stroke of clever advertising these were transformed into symbols of women’s libe­ration. Toward the late 1920s, young women were seen marching and brandishing their freedom torches, the cigarettes. During the two world wars, cigarettes were distributed to hundreds of thou­sands of soldiers as part of their daily nutritional ration. During the immediate post-war, packs of Camel and Lucky Strike were the most used Exchange currency in Europe. With all these publi­city maneuvers, Mr. Duke and his partners have caused, as we al­ready stated, over 100-million deaths throughout the world; more than Hitler and Stalin together.

Pedro Rovetto, Universidad del Valle

Departamento de Patología
Rovetto, P. (2012). The tobacco gardens. Colombia Medica, 43(4), 312.


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Received 2012-12-27
Accepted 2012-12-27
Published 2012-12-29