Map pinpoints cigarette’s origin and expansion

Map pinpoints cigarette’s origin and expansion


US: Using web tools including Google Maps, Stanford anthropologist Matthew Kohrman has plotted the international whereabouts of more than 300 cigarette factories so far. Their names, addresses and some information about the plants can now easily be found, thanks to Kohrman’s Cigarette Citadels project.

The largest clusters of pinpoints are in Europe and Asia. But Africa, Australia and the Americas are home to major manufacturing facilities as well.

“This map allows us to have a good understanding of how the tobacco industry has grown, where it has set up shop, where it sees its growth potential and where the big players are,” said Kohrman, who is also a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. “The public has a right to know where cigarette factories are if, as the World Health Organization tells us, the cigarette is the single biggest cause of preventable death right now.”

One of the biggest surprises to Kohrman, who together with undergraduate Rachel Lee has been compiling mapping data from news stories, public documents and tobacco company reports, was found in the Netherlands. He clicked on the Cigarette Citadels map and called up information on a factory run by Philip Morris, not far from The Hague. He zoomed in on the map to show a complex of ordinary-looking buildings surrounded by a highway and tree-lined roads. “This one place has produced as many as 96 billion cigarettes a year since it opened in the mid-1980s,” he said.

The goal of the project is neither to agitate nor defend, he said. The point of the project is to share information that he hopes will motivate people to think in new ways.

Source: Stanford University