‘My mother smoked like a beagle in a laboratory to get the coupons she needed for a toaster’: tobacco companies and the working-class in postwar Britain
Bio: Frances Thirlway is a Research Fellow at the University of York, Department of Sociology. She holds research grants from Cancer Research UK on health inequalities and electronic cigarettes and from the York Centre for Future Health on health inequalities and cannabis/cannabidiol self-medication for pain relief.
Abstract: I will argue that public health understandings of the threat of tobacco to children and young people are based on a middle class imaginary which draws on historical advertising associating smoking with glamour and consequently fails to understand the nature of tobacco’s continued appeal in working class communities. Taking Embassy Regal as a case study and using oral history interviews and tobacco industry documents, I will show that working class smoking is associated with class and family loyalties, creating ambivalence towards cessation, which may be negatively correlated with social aspiration and pretension. Policy implications will be discussed.