Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tobacco "Habits" Through History, Part II

As promised, here is the second part of the "Great American Smokeout" celebration; newspaper clippings about societal perspectives on the health effects of tobacco use in Victorian KY! And, as mentioned in "Part I," you can find exceedingly more newspaper clippings about tobacco farming, economic impacts, and other societal impacts by searching KDL newspapers with the keyword "tobacco" (and/or with other associated keywords).

In "Part II," we're covering the same ideas as in "Part I," just the more creative expressions.

Beginning backwards, so to speak, there's always some sort of "folk remedy" or "cure" for ailments, illnesses, and addictions - some more "reliable" than others, perhaps. In the case of this one (published in February 22, 1907 Hickman Courier), one must wonder if the author was even serious at all! I had to read it more than once before I realized this "one dose;" this "laying on of the hands" to resolve cigarette smoking in "one dose" was not "new" at all, but simply a good ol' traditional whooping!

Of course, other solutions are perhaps a bit more serious and, in many cases for the purposes of either persuasion or profit. In a time when cigars and cigarettes were replacing pipes in popularity, this clipping from the November 13, 1907 Springfield Sun ensures that, though seemingly difficult, packing and smoking a pipe is, indeed, an "art form." It even walks the read through the many steps and aspects, specifically arguing against "the minor delights of cigar and cigarette smoking." Quite obviously, the Prince Albert crimp cut tobacco ad (from the June 8, 1916 News-Leader) seeks profit for the company. Another convenience, manufactured and packaged tobacco allowed easier packing of pipes or rolling of cigarettes, rather cutting plug tobacco or from a "twist." It also allowed (if from white burley tobacco) the addition of sweeteners or flavoring.

Still others, whether "experts" or not, sought to express themselves in verse. This included concerns of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, perhaps seeking social purity ("Nicotine." Earlington Bee. 26 May 1902, p. 7); an anonymous poet presenting the "joys" of tobacco use, while sternly warning against the health hazards alike ("To a Twist of the 'Weed.'" Springfield Sun. 26 January 1910, p. 2); and a reprint of N.A. Jennings's take on Kentuckian stereotypical identity - a common literary perspective of the time ("Geographic Morality." Frankfort Weekly News and Roundabout. 25 July 1908, p. 4).

So whether you're a smoker, reformed, or never touched tobacco in your life, this is just a slight taste of Kentucky's tobacco history (at least different societal POVs, via newspaper clippings) to inhale during the Great American Smokeout!

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