|Up In Smoke|
|Curing the Nervous Troubles and General Debility of Smokers|
|When we think of tobacco we normally equate it with smoking and smoking with cigarettes, but until about the 1870's, most tobacco consumed in Canada was chewed. To the early Voyageurs or men working in the backwoods, it was almost a food group, but considering the wide array of decorative spittoons or cuspidors that had their place of honour in every parlour; the habit was enjoyed by all levels of society.|
|The use of tobacco in Canada is almost as old as the country itself. Most experts believe that the tobacco plant was growing in the Americas as early as 6000 BCE and by the early Common Era, it was being used not only for smoking, but also as an enema.
In 1497, Robert Pane, who accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage, gave the first written report of tobacco use in the New World and in 1535, Jacques Cartier writes of encountering natives on the Island of Montreal, also using tobacco.
|"They dry it in the sun, and wear it around their necks in a little animal's skin forming a bag, with a small horn of stone or wood. Then, at any time, they crumble the herb and put it into one of the two ends of the horn; next they put a burning ember to this and suck at the other end until they fill their bodies with smoke and it comes out through the mouth and nostrils as if it were pouring from a chimney." Cartier tried out the "horn" and it seemed to him "to have ground pepper in it".|
|About 1565, it was introduced by Sir John Hawkins and his crew to England, though for the next twenty years or so it was used mainly by sailors, including those employed by Sir Francis Drake. In 1566, Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, was given snuff by her physician to treat migraine headaches and she later decreed that tobacco be termed Herba Regina.|
|Even Virginia, 'the colony founded on smoke' owes it's humble beginnings to the discovery of the plant. When Sir Walter Raleigh was ready to attempt the first permanent English colony in the New World, he sent the 25-year-old Hariot along as a historian and surveyor. In an abstract from his report:
"There is an herbe which is sowed a part by it selfe & is called by the inhabitants uppówoc. The Spaniardes generally call it Tobacco. . . We ourselves during the time we were there used to suck it after their maner, as also since our returne . . ."
|There is also a wonderful Huron legend that ..."in ancient times, when the land was barren and the people
were starving, the Great Spirit sent forth a woman to save humanity. As she traveled over the world, everywhere her right hand touched the soil, there grew potatoes. And everywhere her left hand touched the soil, there grew corn. And when the world was rich and fertile, she sat down and rested. When she arose, there grew tobacco.."
So for those who still credit (or blame) the Europeans with introducing tobacco to the New World, I'm afraid it was here long before they ever set foot on Canadian or American soil.
|In 1604, King James I of England, issued a Counter-Blaste to Tobacco calling it "loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain" and "dangerous to the lungs" Could he have been a maverick in the health risks attributed to the weed? But, whether based on actual science or just his disgust of the habit, the report did little to stop it's widespread use, though not for lack of trying.|
|The first general letter (April 17,1629) from an official of the New England Company to the Massachusetts Bay settlers prohibited the planting of tobacco except in small quantities for medicinal purposes. However, in Connecticut, the colonists planted it with a vengeance and in 1641, the General Court at New Haven, promulgated that: "No persons within this jurisdiction shall use any other Tobacco but such as is or shall be planted within these districts, except they have license from the Courte"|
|In Canada at the time, not only the natives enjoyed a smoke break, but they had turned the immigrants; visiting merchants; trappers and fishermen; onto the habit. Acadian men and women enjoyed a puff from the old clay pipes when sitting around in the evenings, and in the field often lit up to ward off mosquitos.
After the Crimean War, the soldiers came home addicted to Turkish cigarettes, and sales of the pre-rolled items in North America, hit the roof, as even women found smoking them fashionable.
But whatever the motivation, by the Victorian Era it was clear that tobacco was a definite health hazard, and a variety of pre-patch, nicotine kickers, were available to the yellow fingered population. One product, the Sure Cure for the Tobacco Habit made this claim:
|"WE CURE YOU This is nature's own remedy, entirely harmless. It cures because it builds up and
fortifies. rejuvenates the weak and unstrung nerves caused by over indulgence in this poisonous weed. It stops the craving for tobacco by supplying instead a healthy nerve tonic and strengthener; it does more. it eradicates the poisonous nicotine from the system which has accumulated from long continued use of tobacco".
"Nicotine is a virulent poison and the chief ingredient of tobacco. It is the cause of all the nervous troubles and general debility of smokers. Our sure cure will destroy the effects of this nicotine, chase it from the system and make weak men strong again and impotent men gain weight and vigor, make the old feel young again. It satisfies the craving for tobacco, and it's use brings great health, increasing the appetite for food, strengthens the stomach, enriches and purifies the blood, giving good general health. It is not a drug. 1t can be chewed the same as tobacco, or taken dissoved in coffee or hot water. It is not only a sure cure for the tobacco habit but also one of the best tonics for sexual weakness ever made." So before Viagra, you could get Sure Cure at 40 cents for a small box and 75 cents for the large. What a bargain!
However, many of the cigarettes of the day contained things other than nicotine, and often became the drug of choice. In 1871, Egerton Ryerson, published his First Lessons in Agriculture for Canadian Farmers and Their Families; in which he makes this statement; following his instructions for the growing of hemp:
|"I have, from design, not mentioned tobacco, because I have not only never used it in any form, but hope that no reader of this little boolr will ever use or cultivate it. I have lived nearly scventy years, and after revolving my recollections on the subject again and again, I am unable to call to mind a single instance, within my own varied observatiou, of a youth who habitually either chewed or smoked tobacco, having, in subseqnent years, attained to any respectable, much less distinguished, position in any profession or pursuit of life. I have known many estimable and able men use tobacco, though seldom, if ever, advance in intellectual or moral power, or professional or social position, after resorting to the habitual use of this pernicious weed - the general precursor, if not parent, of intemperance and many other vices.
Whenever I see a youth, or young man, with a quid of tobacco, a pipe, or a cigar in his mouth, a feeling of sadness comes over me, and I set him down, from my past experience and observation, as destined, at best to mediocrity in whatever profession or employment he pursues, if not to intemperance, failure and ruin. I believe the demoralization of great numbers of otherwise promising young men in our land, is largely attributabl to the use of tobacco."
|The Destructive Effects of Cigarette Smoking
Light on Dark Corners 1894
|Cigarettes have been analyzed, and most physicians and chemists were surprised to find how much opium is put into them. A tobacconist himself says that "the extent to which drugs are used in cigarettes is appalling." "Havana flavoring" for this same purpose is sold everywhere by the thousand barrels. This flavoring is made from the tonkabean, which contains a deadly poison. The wrappers, warranted to be rice paper, are sometimes made of common paper, and sometimes of the filthy scrapings of ragpickers hleached white with arsenic. What a thing for human lungs.
The habit burns up good health, good resolutions, good manners, good memories, good faculties, and often honesty and truthfulness as well. Cases of epilepsy, insanity and death are frequently reported as the result of smoking cigarettes, while such physicians as Dr. Lewis Sayre, Dr. Hammond, and Sir Morell Mackenzie of England, name heart trouble, blindness, cancer and other diseases as occasioned by it.
|Leading physicians unanimously condemn cigarette smoking as "one of the vilest and most destructive evils that ever befell the youth of any country," declaring that "its direct tendency is a deterioration of the race."
Look at the pale, wilted complexion of a boy who indulges in excessive cigarette smoking. It takes no physician to diagnose his case, and death will surely mark for his own, every boy and young man who will follow up the habit. It is no longer a matter of guess. It is a scientific fact which the microscope in every case verifies.
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