Tobacco Filth

WE have a list of no less than eighty-seven diseases caused by tobacco. We are to infer also that when a greater degree of attention shall have been given the subject, the number will be found still greater. Medical men, too often themselves slaves of the tobacco-habit, have not, as a class, hitherto been sufficiently observant concerning the effects of this narcotic. These diseases, it will be seen, are many of them among the most dangerous and most painful to which the human body is subject. No other narcotic or stimulant - probably not even alcohol itself, destructive as it is to life and health - is capable of producing such varied effects. The writer has been thus particular in this department of the subject, under the impression that it has not generally been sufficiently considered in essays of this kind. 


The effects of tobacco upon man's mental and moral nature have been, in part, anticipated in the foregoing remarks. Any narcotic, the use of which is capable of causing hypochondriasis, hysteria, epilepsy, mental imbecility, and insanity, must of necessity, if employed habitually, become detrimental to the intellect and the morals in proportion to the extent of the abuse. Besides, it is a recognized principle in nature, that whatever enfeebles the body must, in the end, and in the same degree, enfeeble the mind. "A sound mind in a sound body," is the physiological law. This every tobacco-user violates.   

The moral reasons why tobacco should not be used as a luxury by any human being, are numerous, some of the more important of which will now be stated. In the first place, a man has no moral right to destroy his health. Health is "the poor man's riches, the rich man's bliss." It is the most precious of all earthly gifts. What greater blessing can there be than a state of perfect bodily and mental health? Almost every tobacco-user is convinced that the habit is detrimental to his physiological wellbeing, and yet he goes on, good or bad as he may be by profession, unremittingly in his downward course. Nor has a man a right to enslave himself. The tobacco-habit is proverbially stronger than any natural appetite - stronger even than that for food. So enslaved does the tobacco-user become to the narcotic, he prefers it to the society of his best friends. 


The filthiness necessarily consequent on tobaccousing is of itself a great moral evil. "Cleanliness," says Jeremy Taylor, "is next to godliness." But it is impossible for a tobacco-user to be a cleanly person. His mouth, which, more than all other parts of his system, should be cleanly, is a very sink of nastiness. That which, he ejects from it is more loathsome than the dog's vomit or the sow's mire. Men have plainly no moral right thus to defile themselves, or to inconvenience those about them by their defilement, as in a thousand ways tobacco-users must. 

Nor is it by filthiness alone that the slave of tobacco does injustice to others. It is a most flagrant wrong for him to pollute and poison the atmosphere, which his fellows are compelled to breathe. This is done everywhere, and almost perpetually, by the votaries of the weed. What hater of tobacco who has ever traveled, but for a single day, from his own domicile, has not been outraged in this way? 

What right has a tobacco-user to contaminate his own household even with the effluvium of tobacco? What right to hold in his lap his own darling child, giving off into its innocent face the pestiferous poison at every breath? What right to sleep even with an other person, his skin and lungs exhaling at every moment their noisome filth? 


The magnitude of the moral evils connected with the use of tobacco will become still more apparent when it is remembered that there are at least two million tons of the article raised annually in the world, and about one twentieth part of this enormous quantity in the United States alone. The duty levied upon Great Britain, in 1852, was L4,560,741, (Pounds Sterling) equal to a poll-tax of about two dollars per head. Poor men in the city of New York, (where tobacco is very cheap,) expend five, ten, or twenty dollars annually, for this article. Some who are better off, lay out eighty or one hundred dollars in the year. In New York city more money is expended daily for cigars alone, it has been estimated, than for bread. The United States and Great Britain alone, it is estimated, spend enough

annually on tobacco to support one hundred thousand ministers of the gospel at average rates. More money is wasted annually in this way, in Christian countries alone, than would be necessary to place a Bible in the hands of every family in the world. Civilized countries spend more for tobacco than would be required for establishing free schools throughout every habitable land.   

It were well, likewise, for the slaves of tobacco to inquire what class or classes of persons are most addicted to its use. We are compelled to admit that the abominable thing does too often find its way into the pulpit, and perhaps still oftener into the deacon's pew, or upon the judge's bench. In general, however, it is a different sort of persons who are most addicted to the habit. "I find," says an extensive observer of human nature, "that the most wicked and abandoned individuals in the community use tobacco; that boys and young men who are becoming more and more depraved; that low, dissolute, profane men, idlers, engaged in amusements alone, night-walkers, theatre-goers, gamblers, and licentious persons, are almost invariably chewers or smokers." 

Dr. Shew on Tobacco Diseases.   

February 18, 1858 UrSe, 

ARSH  114, 115