Cover of Poisonous Pandas by Edited by Matthew Kohrman, Gan Quan, Liu Wennan, and Robert N. Proctor
Poisonous Pandas
Chinese Cigarette Manufacturing in Critical Historical Perspectives
Edited by Matthew Kohrman, Gan Quan, Liu Wennan, and Robert N. Proctor


February 2018
312 pages.
from $25.95

Cloth ISBN: 9781503602069
Paper ISBN: 9781503604476



Marketers have long mined popular affection for national symbols. A favorite icon for cigarette manufacturers across China since the mid-twentieth century has been the panda. Over the last fifty years, the rise of panda-branded cigarettes has coincided with global cigarette sales nearly tripling and China emerging as the undisputed cigarette superpower, manufacturing forty percent of sticks sold worldwide. How has the Chinese cigarette industry flourished amidst domestic political upheavals and growing public health condemnation of smoking?

In Poisonous Pandas, an interdisciplinary group of scholars comes together to tell that story. They offer novel portraits of people within the Chinese polity—government leaders, scientists, tax officials, artists, museum curators, and soldiers—experimentally revamping the country's pre-Communist cigarette supply chain and fitfully expanding its political, economic, and cultural influence. These portraits cut against the grain of what contemporary tobacco-control experts typically study, opening a vital new window on tobacco, the single largest cause of preventable death worldwide.

About the authors

Matthew Kohrman is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University.

Gan Quan is the Director of Tobacco Control of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

Liu Wennan is Editor for the Institute of Modern History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Robert N. Proctor is Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University.