And Then There Were None

The nation's druggists, grocers, confectioners and tobacconists had turned amiable liars. There was hardly a U.S. store anywhere last week without the sign: NO CIGARETS. Yet under the counters, at least part of the time, the cigarets were there, saved for the old customers.

A New York Daily News reporter, assigned to investigate the famine, wrote: "The shortage will grow progressively worse until October 1947, when there won't be any [cigarets] at all." This was not mere cheerful exaggeration, for the U.S. was rapidly depleting its stocks of cured tobacco.

Yet, aside from the shortage itself, the overwhelming fact of the...

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