Abstract of the Dissertation"The Taste of the Great, Wide World": The Cigarette, Public Health and Consumer Culture From the Third Reich to the Federal RepublicbyKraig Thomas LarkinDoctor of PhilosophyinHistoryStony Brook University2010<“>The Taste of the Great, Wide World<”> contends that the history of the cigarette question in twentieth-century Germany holds tremendous insight into the political values and nature of governance in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). In spite of Germany's reputation for placing the needs of the community ahead of personal liberty, the FRG constructed a permissive culture of cigarette smoking characterized by the state's reluctance to forcibly interfere with an individual's right to smoke. Rather than adopt a strict prohibitionist model of prevention, the West German response to the smoking and health debates in the latter half of the twentieth century relied upon notions of self-regulation and rational consumption on the part of individual consumer citizens. This reluctance underscores the sensitive nature of regulation within a liberal, democratic state. Even though a growing body of medical literature suggested cigarette use posed a significant threat to individual smokers and those in their presence, the West German government repeatedly refused to introduce and enforce strong tobacco control measures. This dissertation highlights the mutually interdependent relationship between public health and consumer culture, as the smoking and health debate necessitated that the state find an acceptable balance between these two worlds. Within a Cold War context that identified consumption as a hallmark of democratic rights and following numerous instances of tobacco shortages in the first half of the century, the FRG made voluntarism the cornerstone of its resolution to the cigarette question. The origins of this approach can be found in the experiences of scarcity and constrained consumption during the Second World War and immediate postwar period, when the cigarette emerged as an ersatz currency on the black market and a symbol of democracy.