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Karl Erik Lund first puffed on a cigarette at a party not long after smoking rates peaked in Norway. In the mid 1970s, almost half of adults in the country smoked. Lund, who is now 60, was young and would never take to smoking in a big way. But in 1986, as a graduate in Oslo, he spotted an advert for a research role at the government agency that collated tobacco statistics. He needed the money, but he soon became addicted to the data. “I wanted to ask the question: why do people keep going with a behaviour that breaks society’s rules?” he says.