|Welcome to the book The Burning Shame of America: An Outline Against Nicotine (1924), by Richard J. Walsh. To go to the "Table of Contents" immediately, click here.
Tobacco pushers and their accessories conceal the breadth of tobacco effects, the enormity of the tobacco holocaust, and the long record of documentation.
The concealment process is called the "tobacco taboo." Other pertinent words are "censorship" and "disinformation."
The "No-Nicotine Alliance" sponsored this book against tobacco hazards.
The text is by NNA President Richard J. Walsh. It is an early exposé (1924) of tobacco dangers. It cites facts you don't normally ever see, due to the "tobacco taboo."
The phrase "tobacco taboo" is the term for the pro-tobacco censorship policy—to not report most facts about tobacco.
This 1924 item was written as "a handbook of easy reference for platform use by speakers and organizers against the evils of tobacco."
As you will see, information about the tobacco danger was already being circulated in 1924, 40 years before the famous 1964 Surgeon General Report. Be prepared.
The Burning Shame of America:
An Outline Against Nicotine
by Richard J. Walsh
(Mt. Vernon, NY: William Rudge Pub, 1924)
"Tobacco is a filthy weed,
The Devil he doth sow the seed."
THIS LITTLE BOOK is the labor of love of a devoted band of women and men (in all chivalry we name the women first, and indeed it must be confessed that they have given of their time and energies more generously than our male brethren) who have declared war to the death upon that hideous poison commonly known as tobacco, or more scientifically, nicotine.
This little book is only a bare beginning. The files of our little
organization are redundant with data at the disposal of any and every convert to our cause.
It was at Illyria, Illinois, on a lovely spring day of the present year, that this great movement had its foundation, and is bound to rapidly grow until it encompasses every civilized land and nation. The No-Nicotine Alliance shall never die. Already we have lodges, or chapters, in twenty-three communities, each of whom account themselves most fortunate to be one of the pioneers. These chapters are scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and each is a nuclei from which will spread, like pebbles flung into a pure pond, scores, yea, hundreds and thousands of other devoted little bands, intent upon stomping out the vicious fire of cigarette, pipe, snuff and cigar which is raging across the
"To keep our glorious Nation clean,
Stamp out the viper, Nicotine."
lovely face of our fair land—to say nothing of chewing cut plug.
For such as them this little book is offered. It does not presume to be exhausting. Only the surface is scratched, as it were. But it is arranged in the form of a lawyers brief, as it were, so that any speaker, organizer or other zealous spreader of the doctrine can fill in the arguments to suit himself, or herself, as the case may be.
If it inspire but one soul here and there, all our effort will have been worth all it has cost us in time and strength.
PERMISSION TO QUOTE
Friends of our cause of anti-nicotine will be
given permission to freely quote from this
little book, upon application to the publisher.
Table of Contents
|The Evil Spirit of Nicotine|| 2|
|I. A Bad "Stunt"|| 8|
|Effect of Tobacco On A Lily|| 9|
|II. Money Talks||10|
|The Modest Girl||11|
|III. Primrose Pathfinders||12|
|A Rich Man's Club||13|
|Map Showing Area Wasted in Growing Tobacco||14|
|IV. Arson Galore||16|
|Conflagration Caused By A Smoker||17|
|V. The Brutal Parent||18|
|How A Father Harms His Child||19|
|VI. Bad Citizens||20|
|Unfortunate Street Encounter||21|
|VII. Facilis Descensus ||22|
|One "On" Sir Walter Raleigh||23|
|VIII. Erring Sisters||24|
|A Fast New York Cafe||25|
|IX. Amend the Constitution!||26|
I. A Bad "Stunt"
Or: Stunting the Growth of the Nation
WHEN SPEAKING against vicious nicotine, be sure to always remember that many among your audience are users of the weed.
Hence catch their attention with a jest. It is a peculiar fact that smokers are notoriously good-natured and can readily be made to laugh. As one of our witty members says, we want them to laugh with us, and not laugh at us. Therefore start your oration with a witticism.
For example, a play on the word "stunt." Tell them that every red-blooded 100% American knows what a "stunt" is. There are good "stunts" like playing healthful games, if not too boisterous. There are bad "stunts," like flirting or swearing.
Then add—"But one of the worst of all stunts is using tobacco or nicotine. Do I hear some one ask me why?" (Possibly some interested onlooker in the audience will cry out "Why?" But that is not necessary to the success of the jest.) Using an impressive gesture, exclaim "Tobacco-using is a bad "stunt" because it "stunts" the growth."
This will always get a loud laugh.
You can then go on to rapidly develop the idea that it stunts the growth not only of the individual, but also of the nation.
Cite the fact that the average height of nations which do not use tobacco is three inches taller than that of Americans.
Also that women, who do not (except for a few depraved sisters) use tobacco in any form, that women average to weigh five pounds more than men who use tobacco in any form.
The United States Army statistics showed during the late War [World War I] that tobacco had stunted the entire young manhood of our
It is true [worse] that cigarettes were widely furnished to our
gallant soldiers in France. A high authority, however,—none
|Ed. Note: For verification, see this historical summary of the extent of the "stunting young manhood": “roughly one man in four was accepted for military service; another one in four was found defective but fit for partial military service. The remaining 50 percent were not strong enough, tall enough or bright enough for the army to do anything with them,” says Geoffrey Perret, A Country Made by War (New York: Random House, 1989), p 316.
For more background data citing the pattern of such tobacco-caused debilities, 1898-1912, see the Austin v Tennessee case, and related military unfitness examples.
other than Lucius Cooper, chief military expert of the No-Nicotine Alliance,—says “I am convinced that the war would have ended a year sooner if our troops had not used tobacco. Only the fact that the Germans were also tobacco-drugged, it being well-known that they smoke huge pipes with china bowls, prevented them from victory over us.”
“Fumes that will so destroy a lily,
Must serve our inner organs illy.”
II. Money Talks
Or: If You Won't Be Moral, Be Thrifty
IN USING the word "you" above, we do not intend to reflect upon the morals of our own members. We are merely trying to suggest a slogan, or epigram, to be hurled from the platform at the smoker.
Recently a man gave an endowment of $100,000 to Columbia University to endow a chair of chemistry. He had saved every cent of that $100,000 by not smoking! The vast amount of tobacco consumed by smokers is vast. A man who died in Ath, Belgium, in 1860, is said to have consumed in his disreputable life-time upwards of four tons of tobacco.
A man who smokes ten cigars a day can become a millionaire in his old age by giving up those cigars.
A cigarette fiend can become comfortably rich and retire at the
age of forty, with say $2000 a year to live on, if he stops.
Chewing tobacco is cheaper, and we are informed that a five-cent plug if chewed slowly will last a long time. But at least the chewer can by breaking the habit give his family little luxuries that they now have to go without because of his indulgence.
Pipe smokers burn up huge quantities of matches. It is estimated that the matches used by smokers, if conserved, would furnish enough lumber to furnish 5000 homes with furniture.
Smokers burn holes in table-cloths and carpets. Often a good suit of clothes is ruined by dropping a spark. Pockets are burned by hot pipes, and sometimes money is lost through the holes in the pockets. Tobacco juice stains shirts and makes it hard for the housewife when she does the washing, often making it necessary to send them to the "wet wash," thus increasing the household expense.
The man who would touch a match to a five-dollar bill and let
it burn would be laughed at. Laugh down the thriftless smoker.
"I would be yours, aye, until death,
Were nicotine not on your breath."
III. Primerose Pathfinders
Or: One Bad Habit Leads to Others
EVERY MORALIST KNOWS full well that you must not let the camel's nose inside the tent. Let a boy smoke and his
moral resistance breaks out and he soon gets other evil habits. A popular way of putting this is "Give him an inch and he'll take a mile." (One speaker convulsed his audience by: "Give him an inch and he'll walk a mile for the camel.")
Immediately after starting to wantonly smoke, the next bad habit is spitting. Charles Dickens wrote in his "American Notes" about the "headquarters of tobacco-tinctured saliva." He goes on thus: "In the courts of law the judge has his spittoon, the crier his, the warder his, and the prisoner his, while the jurymen and spectators are provided for as so many men who, in the course of nature, must desire to spit incessantly."
Next comes swearing. The braggadocio of smoking causes one to feel that he must also indulge in profanity.
Then, alas!! follows rum! In nice homes smoking is not allowed to be done. So the smoker has to go where he can find his boon companions. So he wends to the saloon (now the speak-easy) or to the club. There, while smoking, he is often urged to take his first sip of liquor. A sip leads to a swallow, a swallow to a bottoms-up, and soon he becomes a guzzler and ends in the gutters. Even in the luxuriant clubs of the rich, where one would expect to find good taste, these pitfalls lie in wait for the young man of breeding and fine family.
After that, all the horrors of the primrose path stare him in the face. Gambling and race-track touting, sleeping late in the morning like a sluggard, gadding about with wild women and other features of night life, marital quarreling and often hideous crimes of larceny, pilfering, embezzling and assault and battery, may be the outcome.
"In rich men's clubs, the youth begins
To smoke, and soon learns other sins."
"The 'black blots' on this map show how
tobacco-growing ravages our agriculture. these
are the infested districts where the rich soil is
wasted on the weed. Why not use them for
something that can be ett?"
"Gaze at the map and see what useful foods
grow where tobacco isn't. Millions of acres
of onions, asparagus, squash, spinach and other
diets do not appear. The curse of our agriculture is nicotine."
IV. Arson Galore
Or: Burning Up Our Beautiful Forests
WHO CAN LOOK upon a lovely tree or upon a magnificent forest growth without a lump arising in his, her, or their throat? These great leafy monsters, so beautiful and yet so dumb, appeal to all our instincts of protection. They guard our reservoirs and water-supplies, they furnish pulp for our printing presses, they offer cool shade and picnic spots, they turn lovely colors with autumn leaves, gladdening the sight, and in spring they put forth leafy buds which turn our tender thoughts to romance.
The above is but a bare outline of an eloquent opening peroration for a platform address on the forest fires.
Millions of acres of forests have been burned down because of the carelessly thrown cigarette or the cigar butt. Last year enough forests were burned to make all the cigar boxes required for the next generation. (Add here that we hope that no cigar boxes will be required for the next generation.)
Who will save our national forests? We shall, and will. The No-Nicotine Alliance is the friend of all growing things, except the plant called tobacco.
Furthermore, lots of fires in the cities and hamlets of our land are equally caused by smokers. People throw matches and cigarette butts into waste baskets, and the next thing you know
a three-alarm fire is turned in. Picture to your audience the rolling smoke and roaring flames, the clanging of the fire engines, the thrilling rescue, the vain effort to get the women and children from the top story, the heavy losses of the insurance companies and landlords. Tell them that of 874,326 serious conflagrations in the United States in the past ten years, 73.2% have been what we call "smokers guilt."
Where there are smokers there are some fires, the fellow says.
"The butt by wanton smoker tossed
Has kindled many a holocaust."
V. The Brutal Parent
Or: Sullying "Home Sweet Home"
MANY OF OUR MEMBERS do not believe us when we frankly tell them that in many homes men smoke right in the presence of their children, in the parlor, the dining room, the "den" and even In their bedrooms. Some men even smoke in bed and often set the sheets afire, causing painful injuries and damaging costly linen.
To see a little tot or "kiddie," with wonder in his baby blue
eyes, watching his parent "lighting up" is a tragedy.
To see a work-worn wife, coughing and holding her nose, trying to avoid the deadly smoke-cloud and the sickening odor makes one rage inwardly (and sometimes outwardly).
To think that delicate little girls must grow up in that "atmosphere"—using the word "atmosphere" in a double meaning, both as meaning "bad air" and also as meaning "environments"—to think of that little budding womanhood cursed with the guilty knowledge that her father is a smoker, makes one weep.
Sometimes you see young boys bringing their father his evening pipe, or cutting off a chunk of cut plug for his "quid," as he calls it. Often they light and hold the match for him, sometimes burning their fingers in brave efforts to "Help daddy."
But the wwst of it is the smoky air that hangs about a house where a habitual smoker hangs about. It gets into the lungs of the whole family, prejudicing them to all kinds of diseases. It
makes it impossible for them to enjoy the pure air, the smells of fair flowers, rubber plants, and ferns, the dainty perfumes that mother sprays about her boudoir, the tantalising taste of good
cooking in the kitchen. In many smoking homes it becomes the custom to open the windows at night to let out the vapors of tobacco, thus exposing the whole family to the dangers of drafts and the risky night air.
"Besotted Father, who defiled
The air around his helpless child."
VI. Bad Citizens
Or: Make Our Streets Safe for Immaculacy
"A MAN'S HOME is his own castle," they say. If he wants to smoke there, strewing it with ashes and butts, making
the lace curtains stench, to say nothing of his wife and kiddies, he ought to be let to do so. So they say.
But what about the public thoroughfares?
It is getting so that a right-thinking man or woman cannot stroll down any street without having smoke puffed in his or her face by passers-by. Youths with tobacco-stained fingers and vests gather on street corners and crack jokes at the expense of passers-by. Old men, who ought to uphold the dignity of age, suck at foul pipes and stain the pure air which Nature gives us.
Delicate ladies shrink from going through certain streets on necessary errands, because of not only the tainted atmosphere but of also the condition of the pavement on which are scattered the vile effluvias and debris of tobacco users. Our "white wings" or street cleaners are kept busy clearing up the butts, except those which are snatched up by wretched little boys.
In a trolley car you are like as not to have to sit down beside a man who reeks of smoke. Railway trains even have that wicked institution known as a "smoking car," where those who are so entangled in the toils of nicotine that they cannot leave it alone even for a short journey sit in a cloud of smoke. While there they also are inviegled into card playing, sometimes for money (or worse), a practice which could be stomped out if there were no smoking cars. At burlesque shows in some badly-regulated
cities smoking is allowed, and if it were not, some youths might not go to these sinful shows.
The smoker is a bad citizen. He is a public nuisance, offending his fellow-men. He should be sent to Coventry, or jail. This is a "job" for our gallant blue-coated police everywhere.
"Vile men who smoke upon the street
Are not the kind I care to meet."
VII. Facilis Descensus
Or: Ask the Doc; He Knows
UNDER THIS "slangy" heading is buried a profound truth. The doctor knows how tobacco ravages the human form. The medical volumes are crammed with irrevocable evidence and case after case of tragic loss due to inhaling or swallowing the antitoxic juice of nicotine.
The physical effects may be classed as follows, beginning at the top and going downwards:
- 1 Eyes. Smoke weakens the eyesight. Look about you on the street and you will see that most smokers wear eyeglasses.
- 2 Nose. Snuff takers have deformed and uncontrollable
- 3 Lips. Smokers always have chapped lips, and chewers have disgusting evidences about the mouth.
- 4 Teeth. The teeth of tobacconists are always discolored and decay quicker.
- 5 Throat. "Smoker's Sore Throat" is notorious and opens
the way to germ life and bacilluses.
- 6 Lungs. Shortness of breath (puffing) as well as consumptiveness are found not only in smokers, but also in their helpless and innocent victims who are obliged to breathe the smoke-festered air about them. Haliotosis or unpleasant breath is also largely due to nicotine.
- 7 Heart. Murmurs, palpitations, heart-burn and that common disease known as the "hart-throb" are the result of tobacco.
- 8 Stomach. Appetite is stimulated sometimes beyond all
bounds by tobacco, with the result that its users overeat with all the terrible train of consequences. Likewise, the other horn of the dilemma is that tobacco hurts digestion.
The smoker is torn between eating too much and not being able to digest that which he has ett. It also makes him thirsty and leads him into the deep waters of strong
We could continue this downward analysis if space permitted.
Facilis descensus Averni, as the old Greek poets used to say. Suffice it to add that tobacco is bad for you.
If anyone raises the point that doctors are themselves ardent users of the weed, reply that the doctor, like others, is but a weak, human vessel. Like other tradesmen, furthermore, they want to make more business for themselves.
"One 'On' Sir Walter Raleigh
This is an exact reproduction of an old wood-cut.
It shows the famous scene in which Raleigh's servant,
first seeing him smoking, thought he was on
fire, and threw a bucket of beer on him. We should
treat all smokers thus, except that we should use
water, not strong drink, to quench them."
VIII. Erring Sisters
Or: The Degradation of the Female
WITH HEADS BOWED in grief, and a sigh for the bloom that has been rubbed off, we must now discuss the most painful fact of all, that tobacco is making its inroads upon the gentler sex.
One of our members, recently returning from New York reported in a secret session of our committee (from which our female members were rigidly excluded) that in an elegant hotel cafe which he entered advertently, he actually saw a young woman accept a cigarette from a man, apply a match to it and smoke all but one-half inch of it with apparent pleasure. He watched her intently from first to last.
Oh the pity of it! Chaste womanhood, which the poet has ever
sung and to whom the lower order of man has always looked up for
inspiration and purification, that she should be thus debased! Fair young girls, trembling on lifers brink, so tempted!
Elderly women in the mountain districts have long been known to be pipe smokers, but this has been due to the ravages of the hookworm disease. There is a form of smoking, called Cubebebs, which doctors have prescribed even for women for the cure of asthma. Even that is shocking, but it can be condoned as a misfortune due to illness.
But that any girl or lady, In the flush of health, should deliberately put to her red lips the Judas kiss of Nicotine, gives us
pause. It shows what bad example will do. For it is.the fault of men, who have so long flaunted their vice in the fair faces of wives and sisters, even daughters, that they cry "If you can do it, I guess I can." Which, as every man knows, is illogical and contrary to the facts of history. By such argument, even bobbed hair would be excused. No, let us still keep what delusions about the gentle sex that we have left to cherish!
"In one New York cafe
Even the women smoke, they say."
IX. Amend the Constitution
Or: The Trail Blazed by Prohibition
IN THE ARCHIVES at Washington slumbers a sacred document, the Constitution of the United States. Adopted on the
Fourth of July, 1775, when John Hancock put his splendid signature on it, this great Bill of Rights has shaped the destinies of our people.
It should not be often referred to, nor should it be subject to
alterations except when urgent emergencies rise.
Such an one is now. We must amend the Constitution to stomp
out Nicotine, just as we amended it to drown out liquor. The thrilling success of the Eighteenth, or Volstead, amendment, is a beacon light to our stumbling feet.
We propose as the Twentieth Amendment:
1 The manufacture, sale, transportation, inhalation or otherwise consumption of cigars, cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cut plug and snuff is hereby prohibited.
Believing that the adoption of this amendment is imminent, the members of the No-Nicotine Alliance are conscientiously preparing themselves to act as enforcement officers.
To us, reared in clean and moral homes, it will be a revulsion to have to go forth as avengers and scavengers into the smoke-filled houses of law-violators, to burst into swell clubs, to raid high-living cafes, to go along the streets snatching cigarettes and pipes from the mouths of offenders, as one snatches a brand from the burning. But we know our duty and we shall do it!
Their vile smoke may make our eyes water, but it shall not
blind us to our Ideal. It may seep into our lungs, but it shall not
choke our noble cry to "Stomp out Nicotine forever!"
2 The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent
power to enforce this article, by appropriate legislation, and to appoint enforcement officers in every community.
"President K. K. Jones of the No-Nicotine Alliance,
who says: 'Let us amend the Constitution to stomp
out Nicotine!' President Jones was born in and has
lived all his entire life in Illyria, Illinois; a life of
sweetness and purity which gives him fitness for
the great office he now fills to the full."
[In interim, pending completion of this site,
you can obtain this book via your local library.]
Other Books in This Reprint
Series on Tobacco Effects