The Great Tobacco Controversy: Is smoking bad for you?

by Instant Noodle

(The Answers of a few Ladies to the above Question.)

MRS. BROWN (of Bloomsbury Square).
” Most decidedly! Doesn’t it injure the curtains!”

MRS. JONES (Sea-Shell Cottage Brighton).
“There can’t be a question about it, and I am only surprised how persons can be so foolish as to put one! Doesn’t it stick in the gentleman’s hair? and get embedded in their whiskers ? and hang about their clothes for hours and hours, and sometimes days afterwards ? So much so, that anyone can tell a mile off whet her the nasty things have been smoking or not. I’m sure it is downright terrible to be shut up in a railway carriage with a party of confirmed smokers for though they may not be smoking at the time, still the unpleasant smell of their garments is such as to make one regret that LORD PALMERSTON will not bring in an Act of Parliament to make every filthy smoker consume his own smoke.”

MRS. ROBINSON (1002, Old Gower Street).
“It not only injures the complexions, but the carpets also. Why. you have only to look at the carpet of a room, in which the gentlemen have been smoking overnight, and your own eyes will tell you whether it is injurious or not ? I have seen carpets (beautiful carpets, that must have cost 5s. 2d. a yard, if they cost a penny,) in such a disgraceful state that a blackbeetle, I’m sure, would eat himself rather than walk over them!”

MRS. BLUE STOCKEN (Minerva Hall, Bath).
“If it is not injurious, perhaps you would have the kindness to inform me the reason why we ladies are not allowed to smoke?”

Miss TWENTYMAN (Willow Lodge, Brixton).
“It’s all fuss and non sense, and I quite lose my temper when persons question me about the injuriousness of tobacco. Of course, it is injurious! Doesn’t it kill spiders? Doesn’t it stifle gnats, and flies, and even earwigs? Isn’t it used in noblemen’s and gentlemen’s gardens to fumigate the plants? Are not our hothouses and summerhouses smoked, when we want to get rid of the vermin? and really I half wish sometimes that it would have the same effect on the gentlemen, when they will persist in injuring themselves (and annoying us) by smoking hours alter hours to the the abominable extent they do! If I was called upon to say what I should answer it by giving this definition: “Man is the only animal that smokes.”

MRS. BLOOMER (Lecturer on the Rights of Women, &c.).
“It is indisputably of injurious effect, for that which has the unnatural power of separating for so many consecutive hours the husband from the partner of his joys, cannot well be beneficial in its results, any more than it is humanising in its relations. It, is my firm conviction that it brutalises all those who partake of it, for it has been a source of sorrow to me to notice that a husband, when he has been smoking to a late hour at his club, invariably returns to his home in a much worse temper than when he left it in the morning. He leaves happy and smiling – he returns spiritless and discontented!”

(7th March, 1857)