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TOBACCO AND THE DISEASES IT PRODUCES.

The following letter is of interest to smokers : — (To the Editor of The Times.) Sir, — Tho enormous consumption of tobacco m nil European States, makes it, m my opinion, very important to examine whether it, m any form, is sanctioned by medicul experience. In. the forms of Hie raw and the manufactured article we probably pay some £15,000,000 a year m this country for tobacco — i.e., the male population does. In Holland, more money is said to be spent on tobacco than on bread. In my opinion all this consumption is far worse than waste ; it is a real viee — i.e. a practice deleterious to health and vitality, and has, m little more than three centures, invaded the whole of civilisation. Tha alkaloids contained m tobacco, whether chewed, snuffed, or smoked, are extiemely poisonous. Chewers absorb a small quantity of an alkaloid nicotine, so poisonous that the amount of it contained m the infusion of one cigar would suffice to kill two men ; and smokers absorb m the saliva and by the mucous membranes of the mouth small quantities of a variety of poisonous alkalies not much less latal to life than nicotine. The smoker or chawer who uses tobacco for the first time exhibits symptoms of acute poisoning m the form of nausea, vomiting, vertigo, and prostration, which have been known m s->me racorded cases to produce death. Custom makes tho system tolerate the poison just as it tolerates opium or arsenic. Smoking accelerates the pulse from tho paralysing effect of the nicotine 011 the nerves, which affect the Citllibre of tho small arteries. It will raise the pulso from 74 to 112 beats per minute, and accelerate the number of respirations. Dr Blatin gave small doses of tobacco to dogs m their food daily ; and this caused the poor aninmils to lose appetite, to have diarrhoea, swelling of the gums, and loosening of the teeth, which was followed by palsy of the bind l^gs, blindness, deafness, and death from asthenia. Smokers and chewers of tobacco, m my experience, have many of such symptoms. They are subject to most annoying palpitations of the heart, to hoarseness, to blackening of the tenth and swelling of the gmns, to weakness A sight, going on to blindness (amaurosls), and to various forms of dyspepsia, with or without diarrhoea. I have *e*i\ several well marked cases of nicotic blmdness m young men under thirty who had chewed, for chewing is, of course, as it affords nicotine to the blood, much more rapidly poisonous than smoking ; liut the long-continued smoking of sting tobacco, or, above all, of Cavendish tobacco, m quantities of from half an ounce daily, very frequently causes blindness m men of forty. The irritation of tobacco on the tongue, and of pipes on the lips, causes a form of cancer. ■There are miny diseases noticed among tho factory workers m the Royal Factory n«ar Vienna. Dr. Kostial observed a certain number of deaths among the boys and girls m that establishment, which were due to nicotism. Of 100 boys, from 12 to 16 years, 72 fell .sick m the first six months uf theirstnyinthefiictory. Thefactory women aborted frequently, and their infants were frequently poisoned l>y tha nicotine iv their mothers' milk. Of 606 births occurring m three years, there were eleven still births, and 206 of the infants died shortly ; 101 of them from diseases of the brain with convulsions. And it was a notab'e fact that the great majority of these deaths occurred when the mothers recommenced to work m the factory. English and French people smoke much stronger and more poisonous tobaccoes than tht) Germans or Turks. LotetGaronne tobacco contains 8 per cent, of nicotine ; shag contains about 7 per cent. Need we wonder that many persons_ m this country and m France are irretrievably injured m health by such poisonous tobaccoes ? Bevtillon found that the youths m tho Polytechnic Schools m Paris who smoked were much leas likely to obtain certificates for proficiency than the non-smokers. Sir Benjamin Brodie S^r W. Jenner, Mr G. Cri 4 chett, and a perfect host of leading European medical men have inveighed against tobacco. My own experience makes me put down the causation of quite a host of ailments to the use of tobacco m some form. In conclusion, I think that the use of tobacco is one of the most evident of all the retrograde influences of our tini6. It invades all classes, destroys social life, and is turning, to use the words of Mantegazza, the whole of Europe into a cigar divan. I am, &c. , CHARLEB R. DRYSDALE, M.D., M.R.C.P., London, F.R.C.S. England, Senior Physician to the Metropolitan Free Hospital. 17, Woburn Place, W.C.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/THD18781129.2.15

Bibliographic details

TOBACCO AND THE DISEASES IT PRODUCES., Timaru Herald, Volume XXIX, Issue 1309, 29 November 1878

Word Count
790

TOBACCO AND THE DISEASES IT PRODUCES. Timaru Herald, Volume XXIX, Issue 1309, 29 November 1878

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