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Society, before alluded to; but within the last year or two it has seriously occupied the attention of French physicians, the results being published by Dr. Jolly, one of the members of the Academy of Medicine, before which the facts were detailed.* It appears that diseases of the nervous centres have increased at a frightful rate among the French; that insanity, general and progressive paralysis, softening of the brain and spinal marrow, cancerous diseases of the lips and the tongue, appear to have increased hand-in-hand with the revenues derived from the tax on tobacco; in addition to these terrible announcements, it is even inferred that the decrease of the French population, among its other causes, is due to the increased consumption of tobacco by the population. We may observe, en passant, that precisely the same accusations were brought against tobacco by the earliest writers on the subject, some two hundred years ago. However, the investigations of modern times are more precise and comprehensive than those put forth in the old books on our shelves, and considering the authority with which the statements are made, we are bound to accept them at least as warnings from those who profess to be the sufferers from their consequences. According to the statistics of Dr. Rubio, the number of lunatics is much greater in northern countries, where the consumption of spirituous liquors and the use of tobacco are much greater than in southern countries, where the people are very sober, and small smokers; and M. Moreau says that not a single case of general paralysis is seen in Asia Minor, where there is no abuse of alcoholic liquors, and where they smoke a kind of tobacco which is almost free from nicotine, or the peculiar poison in tobacco. On the other hand insanity is frightfully increasing in Europe, just in proportion to the increase in the use of tobacco, as is stated.
To explain these facts, with respect to France we are told that the As reported in the Année Scientifique for 1866."
revenues on tobacco from 1830 to 1862 rose from 1,250,000l. to 8,333,333. With this increase in the consumption of tobacco in France there appears to have been an augmentation in the number of lunatics from 8000 to 44,000, or rather 60,000, if we take into account other lunatics besides those in the public asylums. Other diseases of the nervous system are referred to the same cause, which raise the sum total to 100,000 persons who in France alone suffer from the poisonous effects of tobacco.
Dr. Jolly states that he visited all the asylums, and consulted the case-books of private practice, in order to throw more light on this important subject; and he concludes that among the men it is muscular or narcotic paralysis which predominates and makes the excess of the normal number of lunatics, whereas the other forms of madness disclose but slight variations in their number; and among the antecedents of the cases, he always found that they could be traced to tobacco. It is positively stated that general paralysis preferentially attacks persons who smoke tobacco more or less saturated with nicotine. Soldiers, and sailors especially, who smoke more than others of the population, figure foremost in the number of paralytic lunatics. Of course the French freely indulge in their favourite absinthe and cognac, and other spirituous liquors; but Dr. Jolly, without denying the influence of these liquors, believes he has demonstrated that excessive smoking must be considered the chief cause of the general paralysis of the insane; for he found paralytic madmen who had been water-drinkers, but immoderate smokers; and among the very numerous cases of paralysis coming under his notice, Dr. Maillot states that there were many patients who were remarkable for their sobriety as to the use of spirituous liquors, but immoderate smokers of the pipe or cigar. Lastly, in those parts of France were enormous quantities of brandy are consumed, but where there is very little smoking, general paralysis is almost unknown.
Nothing can be more deliberate than the document resulting from this French investigation on the influence of tobacco on the community; and having read every treatise on the subject, from the earliest printed, the writer of this article is compelled to admit that it is the most conclusive, both as to facts and reasonings, of any yet put forth against the weed! Finally, there is a kind of blindness, which, although occurring in non-smokers, is specially ascribed to the practice of smoking, through one of its consequences-namely, the impairment of nutrition, inducing a state of debility. It is for the last reason that smoking is strictly forbidden to those who are under training for boat-racing or the 'ring.'
Unlike the opponents of tobacco in this country, and indeed of all times, Dr. Jolly seems anxious to commiserate this propensity of our nature, and suggests that we should endeavour to avoid the strong tobaccos of commerce, and adopt those of Turkey, Greece, Arabia, and Havannah. Merciful man, indeed! This reminds us of Lord Lytton's advice, in the mouth of one of the speakers in his novels, that poor men, in order to escape gout, should drink champagne instead of ale.
Dr. Jolly, apparently still convinced of the impossibility of extinguishing the practice of smoking, further suggests that we should get the nicotine extracted from our tobacco! Plausible idea doubtless! How is this to be effected without adding to its cost, and no doubt altering its flavour and savour altogether? No; we believe that the smoker will always say, as other infatuated mortals to their mistress
'I know not, I ask not, if guilt is in that heart; I but know that I love whatever thou art.'
There can be no doubt that in this, as in all other cases, the poison clings too closely to the 'sweet' to admit of a separation.
Another eminent French physician has recently investigated the effects of smoking on the young, having observed it in a great many subjects varying in age from twelve
to seventeen or eighteen; and he invariably discovered in such smokers a most serious alteration in the qualities of the blood, giving rise to specific diseases. It is indeed to the young that the evil of smoking is most likely to be disastrous. Whatever benefit may be derived from smoking in maturity and old age, it is obvious that the young cannot need the factitious aid of a narcotic. Parents should look to this, and prevent the most deplorable physical and moral consequences of the habit in their children. Many a youth may date the ruin of his health and character from the first whiff of tobacco which, by dint of nauseous practice, he was at length able to smoke, in the foolish imitation of manhood. That smoking must impair the digestion and derange the nervous system of the young, seems certain, and that it may lead to drunkenness or excess in drink is more than probable from the thirst which it necessarily occasions.
Such, then, is the present attestation to the woes of smoking; and it is doubtless sufficient to induce every smoker to 'consider his ways.' But if the argument induces our population to give up smoking, what will be the consequence to our revenue? Think of the fact, that it I would be the abstraction of more than six millions and a half sterling, hitherto annually increasing, from the grand sum that makes up our national income. The revenue from tobacco is one of the largest, if not the largest of the items, as we have shown.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer -the entire working of the machinery of government in this great country-the existence and efficiency of our army and fleet-largely depend upon the financial results of the consumption of tobacco by our truly patriotic smokers. Put a stop to smoking, and then the Chancellor of the Exchequer must 'go to pot'-if he knows where that is-to bring grist to his mill.' The smokers of England are the greatest supporters of constitutional government, paying literally seventy-five per cent. taxation on the commodity
they consume-far more than any other taxpayers-and should, therefore, be entitled to the franchise, contributing their six millions and a half at least to the working of our social and political machine; the smokers of France do the same, contributing some nine millions and a half; and all the peoples of the
world, where a tax is levied on tobacco, do the same more or less. Now, to call upon them to give up smoking-which unquestionably they ought to do for the sake of their health and well-being-would be to require the greatest national sacrifice ever recorded in history. That is the problem before us.
WHICH IS THE FAIREST?
WHICH is the fairest? Each fragrant exotic
Harmony sweet, combination erotic,
Which is the fairest? Their tints here are blending,
Which is the fairest where all are most fair?
Choice most embarrassing! hard the selection
All than too rashly the palm give to one.
Which is the fairest? Bewitching the rapture,
Which is the fairest? decision perplexing,
Faces, like flowers, have of beauty their kind.
T. H. S. E.