The Changing Wheat and Tobacco Industries

While listening to a favorite podcast of mine, I learned that Bill O’Reilly recently gave up eating wheat and discovered a number of signficant health benefits, including increased energy and weight loss. This of course is a main tenet of the paleo diet/lifestyle that I subscribe to, so I wasn’t surprised by what happened so much as who was saying it. O’Reilly went on to suggest that the U.S. government engage in an anti-wheat eating campaign, like its anti-tobacco campaign in the 1990s. As you might expect, he was roundly critized for it by the wheat industry, who naturally feared the economic impact it may have on them.

I thought I’d see what has happened to the tobacco industry in the past 200 years, in terms of its importance to the U.S. economy.

Measured in terms of exports, 1772 to 2005 (data from here, here, and here):

Measured in terms of consumption, 1950 to 2003 (via the the Library of Congress):

Change hurts sometimes.

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