Today, everyone is convinced that cigarettes are harmful to our health. That used to be different in the old days. Who remembers still the advertisements on which men and women cheerfully blew out smoke? From 19 October, the exhibition ROOK (Smoke) brings those smelly days back to the Huis van Alijn in Ghent.
It is hard to believe, but not so long ago smoking a pipe or cigarette was tolerated in a pub, in a railway station and even on a plane. Those times surely have changed. The smoking ban means that you can hardly pick up a cigarette anywhere else.
Science is constantly reaffirming with data research and new revelations how harmful smoking is on a daily basis. It can cause lung cancer, emphysema, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, to name just a few complications that can result from inhaling the thousands of different chemicals cigarettes contain.
© Vlaams Instituut Gezond Leven © Stadsarchief Gent
Still, tobacco goes over the counter quickly and the attraction of it can not be denied. Behind the contemporary cigarette is a fascinating history.
The Huis van Alijn is the place where you can explore that history. The exhibition ROOK shows the change of mindset and how and why we have come to look at smoking differently. Numerous photographs, home movies and objects testify about the place that smoking occupies in the daily life of the past and present.
Would smokers throw away their tobacco after seeing this exhibition?