How corporations sell leisure commodities that are bad for you

Chris Rojek


This article examines how leisure commodities are repositioned globally in a context in which medical knowledge and pressure group activity identifies specific leisure forms as harmful. Examples of re-positioning wide-ranging and include the consumption of alcohol and the use of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV’s) and their effect on the environment. The case considered at length here is tobacco. Historically, smoking was not confined to the sphere of leisure. It occurred in the workplace and public transport. However, since the US Surgeon General’s Report in 1964 which identified a link between tobacco and preventable illness and premature death, the trend has been for smoking to be concentrated not merely in the sphere of leisure, but in the private sphere of leisure to boot. The wave of metropolitan and national bans on smoking in the workplace and public transport and leisure spaces has grown stronger since medical investigation of the links between secondary smoking, health and illness. In the West, tobacco is increasingly a peripheral activity confined to the home, private automobiles or licensed spaces.


Leisure; Alcohol; Tobacco.

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