On forum.silentphotoplay.com, we were talking about cigarette ads in old magazines and how they would advertise them as if doctors recommended smoking. This article is an addition to that conversation, and proof that they always knew smoking was bad for you, and to say that they didn’t know ‘to what extent’ that smoking was detrimental is another feeble excuse for why they did things they way they did back then.
This article came out of the 1883 version of Chatterbox, but, interestingly, this was not the official Chatterbox magazine book that was so hugely popular for so many years. Because of the popularity of these children’s magazines, there were many imitators, and my copy is one of them. It was published by Belford, Clarke & Co., and was edited by a mysterious “Elmo”. You can imagine how frustrating it was to sift through the results that came up about Sesame Street! It took some digging to find that Elmo was the pseudonym of Thomas W. Hanford. This is typed just as it is printed.
It’s interesting that the biggest arguing point used by the author here is that smoking is a waste of money. Oh, and by the way, the ‘incorrect’ use of the word ‘literally’ is obviously not a new thing.
18,250 Reasons Why Boys Should Not Smoke
Boys let me give you a word of good advice, DON’T SMOKE! There is no good sound reason why you should, there are hundreds of reasons why you should not. No man was ever healthier, wealthier or wiser because he smoked. The world owes but little gratitude to the man who introduced tobacco into common use. Now listen to what four very wise men have said on the subject: Sir Benjamin Brodie, M. D., F. R. S. says “Boys, even at the best schools, get the habit of smoking, because they think it manly and fashionable to do so: not unfrequently because they have the example set them by their tutors: and partly because there is no friendly voice to warn them as to the special ill consequences to which it may give rise, where the process of growth is not yet completed, and the organs are not yet fully developed.”
Professor Parkes, M. D., F. R. S. says “When a boy takes to smoking he frequently becomes pale, and he has an unhealthy skin. Moreover, boys who smoke much are less disposed to bodily exertion. Smoking interferes with appetite, impairs bodily activity, and in some way must damage the circulation or the composition of the blood.”
Dr. B. W. Richardson, F. R. S., says: “Smoking tobacco, and the use of tobacco in every form, is a habit better not acquired, and when acquired, is better abandoned. The young should specially avoid the habit. It gives a doubtful pleasure for a certain penalty.”
Mr. John Ruskin says: “It is not easy to estimate the demoralizing effect on the youth of Europe of the cigar, in enabling them to pass their time happily in idleness.”
But I said there were hundreds of reasons why boys should not smoke, and I am going to give you a few. For one thing boys hardly ever know what they are smoking. I don’t mean merely that what they smoke is dreadfully adulterated, though that is always the case unless they pay a very high price for their tobacco, or cigars, or cigarettes; and very often the case when they do. What I mean is that the money spent on smoking might be spent to much greater advantage. The truth is, boys you are blowing money or what money would buy through your lips every time you smoke pipe, or cigarette or cigar. If I were to ask a group of boys what they were smoking, one would say “a pipe,” another “a cigar,” and another “a cigarette.” How these boys would stare if they were told they were smoking horses and buggies, and pianos and organs and libraries of books! And yet such is the case. Smokers are literally blowing these things into the air. Now to make this plain let us suppose that a boy smokes only a cigar a day, and that that cigar only costs five cents. These very moderate expenditures amount to the sum of $18.25 in the year. Now think how many really useful things might be bought for that sum. Every cent so smoked becomes a reason why boy should not smoke. The boy who smokes five cents a day smokes away $91.25 in five years and that amount would buy him a splendid library of books. In ten years he smokes $182.50 and that would buy him a horse and buggy. And as we have said every cent so squandered is a reason against smoking; here are 18,250 reasons against the use of the weed. Boys, think on these things and dont smoke. — Elmo