Victorian London - Disease - disease caused by smoking


NOTHING can be done in these days without a Society, and sometimes it happens that nothing can be done with the Society itself when it is formed. We have Associations for every object-good, bad, and indifferent, for a company may be got up complete, with deal table for the Board, and a set of six easy or uneasy chairs for the Directors, at a trifle under or over a pound. The air of Bloomsbury is particularly favourable to Societies, for rents are moderate, rooms are to be had singly, and there is a good margin of door-posts for the display of brass- plates, and a long series of bells. We have just heard of a company which has started up in this rather faded vicinity, under the title of the "British Anti-Tobacco Society," which fumes away vigorously in opposition to smoke.  The name of the Society leaves us some reason to doubt whether its antagonism is to Tobacco in general or British Tobacco in particular. The Society seems to he so flourishing that it has published a "Prize Essay by Miss M. A. W. aged seventeen, Showing Why the Young Should Not Smoke." We dare say the fair combatant against Tobacco, who has come forward with the intention of putting the public pipe out., has made an excellent case against smoking, and we have no doubt that to a pretty girl of seventeen the habit of smoking indulged in by the young of the other sex must be objectionable in the extreme. We shall not be so ungallant as to criticise the production of the young lady, whose intentions we feel convinced are extremely honourable, hut we cannot help feeling that Tobacco is an article which, by delicate hands, had much better be let alone.
    We have as strong an antipathy as the fair essayist can feel against those smoking nuisances who perambulate the streets with their apocryphal Havannahs; hut we do not go the length of regarding every smoker as, of necessity, under a cloud. It seems to threaten rather an - uncalled for interference with the liberty of the subject, when a Society is formed to prevent the smoking of our pipes as well as of our chimnies, and we should not he surprised at an act being passed to compel any one who indulges in an occasional smoke to consume his own. We hope the experiment will not be tried, for we are sure every pipe would be ready to burst with indignation, and if it would not it could be made of no common clay.

Punch, Jan.-Jun. 1855

An Italian confectioner, agent forty eight, has died from excessive smoking which, according to his medical adviser "had unquestionably produced disease or nervous paralysis of the heart".

Illustrated London News, Apr. 11th 1863