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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 an Object of Exchange between Islanders and Foreigners

Tobacco as an Object of Exchange between Islanders and Foreigners

(p.79) Chapter 5 Tobacco as an Object of Exchange between Islanders and Foreigners
Drinking Smoke

Mac Marshall

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explains why tobacco is the “perfect” exchange commodity between Islanders and Foreigners. As a drug food, tobacco served as both an inducer and an enhancer of trade. Tobacco encouraged Islanders to give traders goods or labor in return for a nicotine supply. It also helped to increase Islanders' efficiency, intensity, and duration of work effort. Tobacco served as a “powerful inducement” to help lure migrant Melanesian workers into the Queensland labor trade. Moreover, it was listed as “the most important item” among the articles Malaitans included in their baggage upon returning home to the Solomon Islands from working in Queensland, along with parcels of pipes and a gross or two of matches as accompaniments.

Keywords:   exchange commodity, tobacco, Melanesian workers, Queensland labor trade, pipes, Malaitans

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