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Old May 9, 2005, 09:07 PM   #76
4V50 Gary
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Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 16,222
Early anti-tobacco movement (and you thought you had it hard)

I'm not a smoker and I don't like it. However, the following is taken from Conner Prairie's publication, Closer Look, and has the historical perspective on tobacco.

"From chewing tobacco (commonly called 'the chaw') to snuffing to smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, tobacco has been prevalent in American society for centuries. While tobacco use is still a strong cause for many, the impetus behind today's anti-smoking campagins differs greatly from that of the late 18th and early 19th century.

One of the first Americans to publish a work warning about the use of tobacco was Dr. Benjamin Rush. However, it was the moral flag that Rush was waving, not health. After the Revolutionary War, anti-tobacco sentiment began to grow in the United States on the basis of morality issues. Tobacco and alcohol were often paired as evil equals - precursors to gambling, prostitution and other social impurities.

By the 1830s, anti-tobacco activists were starting to emerge in Indiana. However, it wasn't until the mid-19th century that health concerns associated with tobacco surfaced. The effects of tobacco on the body and its strong addictive properties became widely discussed. These remain core issues in today's anti-tobacco campaign."


Gee, I didn't know that tobacco use led to gambling and prostitution. The following sidebar is also of interest. It is taken from Deborah Gage's and Madeline Marsh's, Tobacco Containers & Accessories

"In many countries, harsh punishments were imposed on those who indulged in tobacco. In Russia, Tsar Michael executed those caught smoking more than once and cut off the noses of snuff takers. In Turkey, smokers had their pipes driven through their cheeks and noses and were paraded on donkeys through the streets of Constantinople; and in Berne tobacco was officially added to the Ten Commandments - curiously included as 'Thou shalt not commit adultery, or take tobacco' - and smokers were liable to public prosecution."

Pretty harsh penalties even by our modern standards.
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