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Drinking SmokeThe Tobacco Syndemic in Oceania$
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Mac Marshall

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836856

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836856.001.0001

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Tobacco as a Comestible

Tobacco as a Comestible

Chapter:
(p.22) Chapter 2 Tobacco as a Comestible
Source:
Drinking Smoke
Author(s):

Mac Marshall

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824836856.003.0002

This chapter demonstrates how tobacco is treated as a comestible, through the expression, “tobacco is my mother's milk.” The saying reveals several important truths about the place of and the uses for tobacco, not just for a few old women, but also for men and women of all ages in much of Oceania: tobacco is something essential to life; tobacco is something one obtains from those with whom one has or wishes to have a close relationship; and tobacco is something that one ingests orally and takes into one's body. Like mother's milk, one “drinks smoke.” In a literal sense tobacco is not essential to life, but for a regular smoker in withdrawal from a lack of nicotine it may seem so.

Keywords:   tobacco, Oceania, smoking, comestible, smoker, nicotine

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