ANTI-TOBACCO MOVEMENT 1893-1927
There have been many anti-tobacco campaigns just in my life time alone. Regardless of which side you are on, history shows it has been an ongoing move from the very beginning of tobacco use in America.
Our nation for decades did tolerate a spittoon in business offices and in the corridors of our Congress even. Our country presented 11,000 cigars to General Grant after one of his Civil War victories.
Then for the first time in our history,business men,clergymen,leaders and legislators joined forces against tobacco in America. They started the anti-tobacco campaign first mostly against cigarettes. As they chewed,used snuff,and smoked pipes and cigars, the evil was cigarettes. Why--the rumors were spread that cigarette tobacco included opium and the paper wrap had arsenic. WOW
Beginning in the 1880s banks and railroads prohibited cigarettes but not cigars or other forms of tobacco use. For the next three decades cigarette smoking was proclaimed to be a form of moral shame. Smoke a pipe or puff on a cigar showed your manhood,smoking a cigarette was for sissies or women of a bohemian persusaion. Plus smoking cigarettes could lead you into crime or other unpleasant desires or habits,and possibly give you "cigarette insanity".
A country that so loved tobacco and believed it had many pleasures and health benefits began to question as to why they had allowed cigarettes to gain a respectable foothold in their society. Cigarettes were attacked because they were inhaled,the opinion at the time was they were more harmful than other forms of tobacco use. Science later proved the harmful effects of tobacco were worst when used in other ways than the cigarette.
Those starting the war on cigarettes were small unorganized lots,most could be found in the ranks of temperaence and suffrage groups. Organizations like the Anti-Saloon League,founded in 1894, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union which opened lobbying offices in Washington,D.C. in 1895. They grew to exercise alot of political power. They stirred the national conscience and made demands to lawmakers for drastic social change. States passed laws prohibiting the barter,sale or giving away of cigarettes and papers. These restrictive ordinances found widespread approval at first as they were convinced rightly and wrongly all the problems with cigarette smoking. While scoring impressive triumphs legislatively,there was,in the end little to show for all the hard work. Enforcement was very poor and void in some areas,plus so many legal loopholes involved. The largest strike against all past and present reforms against tobacco;
Politicians Legislating Morals--Considered UnDemocratic--Citizens Rights
Following the passage of an anti-cigarette law in Indiana in 1905,the editor of Outlook Magazine wrote; "It is entirely legetimate for a democratic community to exercise whatever authority may be necessary over great organizations,whether of labor or capital,to prevent them from violating the rights of the individual. This is something different from exercising control over the rights of the individual which do not violate the rights of others,and from the injurious effects of which he is the chief if not the only sufferer. Such an act as this..does much more harm than it can possibly do good,for it tends to arouse the American spirit of independence against law, and so to promote the spirit of lawlessness."
With most states having anti-cigarette bans and laws,the public went underground so to speak,like what happenened in the prohibition of alcohol.
While the anti-cigarette movement caused a temporary falling of sales for national consumption from 1897 to 1901,the tobacco manufacturers recorded growing numbers of consumers with each passing year! The consumption of cigarettes in the United States alone in 1924 had increased fifty-fold since 1899.
What really killed this three decade long fight against tobacco (mostly cigarettes) was WW1. "Tobacco is as indespensable as the daily ration;we must have thousands of tons without delay." per a cable sent in 1918 by General John J. Pershing,commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in France,to officials in Washington. "Send us cigarettes and more cigarettes!" was the plea of soldiers in their letters home. Tobacco and the military have always been an alliance when it came to a battlefront. General George Washington was one of the first military leaders to observe that soldiers well supplied with tobacco actually fought better. Influence of tobacco on soldiers was given credit for crushing the French during the Franco-Prussian War.
During the war American Army doctors sent home glowing reports on cigarettes and their uplifting properties,helped to build morale,reliever and solace to pain and suffering,more so than any medicine could. Many of these soldiers came home after the war addicted to cigarettes,some paying the price with lung cancer. Plus our Government pushed and promoted tobacco with public drives for getting tobacco to our soldiers. They cryed out with promos such as "Just as Important to place a cigarette in a soldier's mouth as a rifle in his hands." "Buy tobacco as well as War Bonds." High school girls formed "sister clubs" whom made contact with our soldiers in Europe and mailed tobacco supplies. On and on it went and once again tobacco was loved and seen as patriotic.
During the 1930's despite the great depression,nationwide sales of cigarettes climbed steadily here and abroad. Tobacco was number three among all exports. Cigarettes had become our largest revenue producer and brought in three times as much revenue to tobacco manufacturers than all other forms of tobacco.