In NPR’s health news Shots, Alix Spiegel discusses the secret funding funnelled by the tobacco industry into the earliest studies of the impacts of stress on the mind and body. Tobacco companies “were interested in promoting the concept of stress because it allowed them to argue that it was stress — not cigarettes — that was to blame for heart disease and cancer,” writes Spiegel. He also looks at the role of people like Hans Selye, “a scientist absolutely determined to make the concept of stress an international sensation.”
Spiegel notes that these early and mid-twentieth century studies profoundly influenced how popular culture regards the effects of stress even today, despite the lack of corroborating studies since that time.
The Secret History Behind The Science Of Stress (July 7, 2014, National Public Radio)