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Keywords:

  • tobacco;
  • gender;
  • will-power;
  • quitting

Abstract

Since the rise of concern about the relationship between smoking and health in the 1950s and 1960s, the tobacco industry has emphasised notions of individual choice to negate the arguments of the public health sector and legitimatise the industry’s presence in the marketplace. Central to this notion of individual choice has been the idea that the control of tobacco consumption (including quitting) is a function of will-power and that smokers can quit if they really want to. This article examines the way will-power developed as the centrepiece of debates about smoking consumption and cessation in the 1950s and 1960s.