Welcome to the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society

The Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society was established at the University of Alabama in 1998 when its director, Dr. Alan Blum was appointed to the endowed chair in the College of Community Health Sciences.  It is an outgrowth of the tobacco archive which Dr. Blum established in the 1970’s to preserve the materials held and to serve as an international resource on tobacco issues.

The primary purpose of the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society is to explore, investigate, compare and contrast the historical and contemporary aspects of the tobacco issue and the role and influence of tobacco in society through an interdisciplinary approach that involves research, professional education, and community outreach.

The Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society draws from a multi-disciplinary advisory committee served by representatives from a variety of colleges at The University of Alabama and by a group of ad hoc advisors from throughout the world—distinguished individuals from the fields of history, law, anthropology, museum studies, publishing, library science, public health, and medicine.

In establishing the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society, The University of Alabama brought together this interdisciplinary team in order to better understand the dynamics and complexities of this important issue, and to serve as an international model for training, education, and research in this area. The tobacco archive held by the Center is unique because it is the only socio-cultural resource which documents the tobacco issue from all vantage points, from public health and anti-smoking strategies to the social, agricultural, economic, and promotional aspects.

The archive’s collections include newspapers, magazines, business trade journals, annual reports, advertisements, point-of-sale displays, posters, signs, toys, video tapes, audio tapes, and more than 25,000 photographs and slides.  The archive also holds special collections, such as original press briefings donated by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop covering efforts on tobacco problems during his tenure as Surgeon General from 1981-1989.