The Nazis' Anti-Smoking Campaign

An interview with Chris Snowdon, author of Velvet Glove Iron Fist,

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ECD: One of the greatest anti-smokers identified in your book was the German Nazi party and Hitler, who called smoking the enemy of world peace. It was also one of the chapters I enjoyed most, actually. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Chris: Well, everybody likes to read about the Nazis, don't they? Well, the thing with the Nazis on smoking was that is was primarily a bee in Hitler's bonnet really, it wasn't something that was particularly an issue for the German people prior to 1933, it wasn't even a big issue with the rank and file of the German Nazi party.

It was one of these passions that Hitler had, something that he felt very strongly about from the moment he himself gave up smoking. And it became quite an important part of the Nazi approach to health, a whole clean living campaign which was very prevalent under the Nazis, involving organic food, vegetarianism, naturism all this kind of stuff... and Hitler poured a lot of money, for the time a huge amount of money, into smoking research, into anti-smoking advertising and he began to bring in various laws, many of which would be very familiar to anyone who has seen the laws which have come in the last 20 or 30 years.

Advertising restrictions, smoking bans, increasing the tax of cigarettes to deter purchase - all of these policies were originally tied in Germany in the thirties sand forties.


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