Alcohol, Tobacco and Obesity:
Morality, Mortality and the New Public Health
Although drinking, smoking and obesity have attracted social and moral condemnation to varying degrees for more than two hundred years, over the past few decades they have come under intense attack from the field of public health as an ‘unholy trinity’ of lifestyle behaviours with apparently devastating medical, social and economic consequences. Indeed, we appear to be in the midst of an important historical moment in which policies and practices that would have been unthinkable a decade ago (e.g., outdoor smoking bans, incarcerating pregnant women for drinking alcohol, and prohibiting restaurants from serving food to fat people), have become acceptable responses to the ‘risks’ that alcohol, tobacco and obesity are perceived to pose.
Hailing from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA, and drawing on examples from all four countries, contributors interrogate the ways in which alcohol, tobacco and fat have come to be constructed as ‘problems’ requiring intervention and expose the social, cultural and political roots of the current public health obsession with lifestyle.
No prior collection has set out to provide an in-depth examination of alcohol, tobacco and obesity through the comparative approach taken in this volume. This book therefore represents an invaluable and timely contribution to critical studies of public health, health inequities, health policy, and the sociology of risk more broadly.