1. Dougherty, Molly C. RN, PhD, Editor

Article Content

Tobacco was a New World cultivar introduced to early Europeans by American Indians who smoked it ritually in clay pipes. European explorers imported tobacco to Europe where it was taken up enthusiastically. After New World settlement by Europeans and the cultivation of tobacco on farms, tobacco became a cash crop. Over time its commercial value was enhanced by advertising and regular use by men, particularly (CNN, 2000).


In a commercial environment that linked business interests and government, policy favored tobacco use. I recall my surprise in learning that my father-in-law, a United States foot soldier who served in France during World War I, was issued packages of cigarettes with his food rations. He was true to the brand he was issued until he quit smoking half a century later after a myocardial infarction. National and local policy favored a good business environment for tobacco interests. Nearly a century later, much has changed. In some states, law prohibits tobacco use in buildings used by the public.


The evolution of tobacco use followed an upward arc of a curve as increasing numbers of people became regular users. Eventually, tobacco was advertised to attract women and the very young. The downward arc of the curve in tobacco use was led by such groups as physicians who were influenced by the burgeoning volume of research demonstrating the destructive qualities of tobacco. The downward arc of tobacco use has been supported by increasingly strong policy making tobacco use less available, less attractive, and more expensive.


With this issue of Nursing Research, we are happy to be a part of this evolution, that is, the downward arc of tobacco use and the upward arc of policy restricting it. This supplement to Nursing Research edited by Drs Linda Sarna and Stella Aguinaga Bialous contains a wide range of articles related to tobacco cessation and the role of nurses and of nursing in advancing the cause of tobacco cessation. The articles-all related to tobacco cessation-feature an analysis of future directions for nursing research, an examination of the state of the science, an extensive annotated bibliography, an analysis of cessation interventions in special populations, and historical perspectives on nursing involvement in tobacco cessation. Other articles address intervention studies and the role of evidence-based practice in tobacco cessation. The concluding article is an analysis of the relationship between policy and nursing research. This supplement buttresses policy supporting tobacco cessation because dissemination of knowledge is essential to policy development and implementation. In these articles, the link between the evolution of tobacco use and policy is evident.


Molly C. Dougherty, RN, PhD






Cable News Network. (2000). Focus: Tobacco under attack. A brief history of tobacco. Retrieved June 12, 2006, from[Context Link]