Filthy habit

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

19 October 2013

A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless…..Herein is not only a great vanity, but a great contempt of God’s good gifts, that the sweetness of man’s breath, being a good gift of God, should be wilfully corrupted by this stinking smoke.

From “A Counterblast to Tobacco”, a treatise written by King James I of England (who was also King James VI of Scotland) in 1604.

The habit of smoking tobacco was noted by the Genoese admiral Columbus among the native populations of the West Indies, the existence of which he discovered in 1492. The Spaniards subsequently introduced tobacco to Spain about 1520. Around 1560 Jean Nicot, French Ambassador to Portugal, sent tobacco samples to France. Nicotine, the active ingredient of tobacco, was named after him. Shortly after this, around 1565, the English pirate and slave trader, Sir John Hawkins, introduced tobacco to Elizabethan England.

According to Wikipedia, Nazi Germany saw the first modern anti-smoking campaign with the National Socialist government taxing tobacco and funding anti-smoking research. In 1941 tobacco was banned in various public places as a health hazard. The anti-tobacco campaign was also – surprise, surprise – associated with racism and anti-Semitism, Jews being blamed for its initial importation. Opposition to smoking stemmed from the need to keep the “master race” healthy.

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 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Capitalism in practice  (4 July 2012) 

5.Ladder  (21 June 2012)

 6. A tale of two cities (1)  (6 June 2012)

 7. A tale of two cities (2)  (7 June 2012)

 8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.

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This entry was posted in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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