Welcome to the book The Truth About Tobacco: How to Break the Tobacco Habit (1924), by Prof. Bernarr A. Macfadden. 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."
Here is the text by Prof. Bernarr A. Macfadden (1868-1955) of an early exposé (1924) of tobacco dangers. It cites facts you rarely 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.
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 Truth About Tobacco:
How to Break the Tobacco Habit

by Prof. Bernarr A. Macfadden
(New York: Physical Culture Corp, 1924)

Table of Contents
     Introduction  vii
I.   How Tobacco Came Into Use    1
How the Medicine Man Mixed Business With Tobacco
II. "The Weed"  24
III. What Science Says About Smokes  47
IV. Are They Really Coffin Nails?  57
V.   Cigarettes As A Cause of Crime,
Insanity, and Physical Deterioration
How Cigarette Smokers Become Criminals
Cigarette Smokers Lose Their Power of Blushing
How The Japanese Show Good Sense
What Two Noted Judges Think of Smoking
How A Wise Judge Interpreted The Facts
How The Cigarette Affects the Health of Boys
How Cigarettes Cause Insanity
What Insurance Companies Think About Tobacco
Healing of Wounds Retarded by Smoking
VI. Tobacco and Your Job  98
VI.  Chewing, Snuffing and Rubbing113
VII. What Tobacco Costs The World118
IX.   Is There Any Inspiration in Tobacco126
X.     Letters from Tobacco Users138
XI.   Should Women Smoke?157
XII.  Curing the Tobacco Habit163
XIII. Will Tobacco Go The Way of Booze?177


NICOTINE is undoubtedly the most universally used of all poisons. In the blistering heat of the tropics; in the biting cold of the arctic; on the broad highway of the tumbling waves; and among the dead desert wastes, man companions himself with tobacco.

It affords temporary narcotic gratification to the genius; it is indispensable to the gangster. In its fumes the poet finds strange themes; behind its filmy cloud the prostitute hides herself.

From early childhood to senile age it is woven into the warp and woof of human endeavor.

Billions of dollars of tribute are paid annually to the Minotaur. Thousands of acres of splendid timberland, and millions of dollars of valuable property are de-


stroyed yearly by the gross carelessness and stupidity of its addicts. To its worship its devotees annually contribute uncounted millions of valuable work or study hours.

In its production, manufacture and sale hundreds of thousands are busily engaged.

Tobacco adds immeasurably to the cost of human existence; it subtracts immeasurably from the length and breadth of human life.

Tobacco is filthy and unsanitary. The pools of polluted saliva, and the indiscriminate manner in which the smokers' and chewers' refuse is disposed of proves this. Carelessness and slovenliness in the clothes and person accompany its use. Tobacco-stained clothes and beards and millions of yellowed fingers attest to this.

If what impersonal, unprejudiced scientists tell us is true, tobacco is the


greatest single menace to the health, efficiency and longevity of the race—poisoning the life blood, sapping the energy, and destroying, surely but subtly, the vitality of the susceptible.

Tobacco is insidious in its debauching and degenerating influence. It undermines the integrity of the moral faculty—especially in the young—while shredding the nervous systems of young and old alike.

Those engaged in exploiting the drugged weed are sincere and honest men, who would, no doubt, feel a great compunction of conscience if they realized that they were innocently responsible for prostituting the best instincts of the race. And yet slave dealers for many centuries, and rum dealers, for an equal length of time, were quite as satisfied that their trade was thoroughly legitimate.


We now know, however, that it was not. And the voice of Civilization is emphasizing the fact in no uncertain terms. And this brings me to the crux of my tale.

For upwards of thirty years [1894-1924] I have been making an intensive study of the physical organism, and of the habits and practices that enhance or deplete physical integrity. I submit that this daily, unremitting study, which I have made my life work, has qualified me to speak with a measure of authority upon matters that concern the weal or woe of the physical structure in which our souls, for a time, have their residence.

I therefore am free to assert, in all honesty and sincerity, my belief that tobacco, in all its forms, is a detriment—physically, mentally, and morally. I can not countenance its use. No magazine or publication in which I have a voice


ever has made, or ever will make a penny by selling space in eulogy of the drug.

I could not conscientiously accept pay for prostituting my fellow-man. For I believe that any and every use of tobacco is an abuse of the body, the mind, and the soul entrusted, for a short time, to our care. I believe that a better knowledge of the subject will cause a revulsion of sentiment in its favor.

I believe that employers of labor will soon come generally to recognize the insidious effect of the poison upon their employees, and that ultimately they will discountenance its use—in the same way that they have discountenanced the use of alcohol.

I believe mothers and teachers, ministers, doctors, and those to whom the young look for guidance through precept and example, will soon turn their attention to


instilling in young boys, and in the youth of both sexes who now think it smart to "burn their pill," a disgust for this form of vice.

I believe that those who now so brazenly extol the alleged glories and virtues of tobacco indulgence, for the profit they make in selling the stuff, will be thoroughly ashamed of their calling. Some of them may, perhaps, even repent of their ways, and reform—although this is not at all likely.

And finally, in the fulness of time, I believe the Law of the Land [examples: Iowa, Tennessee, Michigan] will take cognizance of the dangers and evils of the use of tobacco, and prohibit entirely the manufacture and sale of the filthy weed. I may not live to see this brought about. But if ever it is brought to pass, one very terrible degenerative influence will have been banished from the land.


Men and women will be cleaner and sweeter. The stunted adolescent will attain his growth. Money that could do so much for the development of civilization will be diverted into constructive channels. And human beings will grow nearer to the type of beings that God meant should people and replenish His fair earth. With this end in view this book was prepared with the aid of the best obtainable scientific authorities.
      Bernarr Macfadden



How Tobacco Came into Use

AMERICA and smoking tobacco were discovered at about the same time. The sailors sent by Columbus to that doubtful island of the Bahamas, which has the honor of being the land first to be sighted by the intrepid navigator, brought back to him weird tales of naked savages "who carried with them strange lighted fire-brands, from which they drank smoke—which they puffed from their nostrils like devils."

From these reports was born the


recognition of the use of tobacco and the satisfaction of "swallowing the smoke of the pill."

So far as we can determine, smoking tobacco had its origin among the nations of North America in a religious ceremony allied to devil worship. For the same reason that in biblical times frankincense and myrrh were burned as an offering to the gods, to "point the prayers of the people," and the genial young ladies who officiated as priestesses at Delphi inhaled the fumes of naphtha, believing that stupefaction enhanced their prophetic powers, so the American savages bumed tobacco—confidently believing that the fumes ascending with their petitions would have a tendency to pacify angry and avenging deities.

In fact Hariot, one of the companions of Sir Walter Raleigh, in speaking of this


custom said: "They think their gods are marvelously delighted therewith."

How the Medicine Man
Mixed Business With Tobacco

Among the ancients, as well as among the patriarchs of biblical times, the priest was a man who guarded the physical as well as the spiritual well-being of his people. Among savages the Mystery Man—the gentleman who interceded with the gods on behalf of the tribe—was also the Medicine Man. He it was who first discovered the stupefying influence of the smoke of tobacco, and who first conceived the idea of inhaling it, for the purpose of enhancing this stupefaction.

Under the narcotic influence of nicotine, whatever mental distresses these gentry had were wrapped in camphor and laid


[In interim, pending completion of this site,
you can obtain this book via your local library.]

Cigarettes as a Cause of Crime, Insanity and Physical Deterioration

THE deplorable increase in the use of cigarettes and tobacco among our boys is considered by many of the ablest physicians and jurists in the country to be a very important cause of the wave of crime that has been sweeping over our country these past few years.

While all cigarette smokers do not become criminals, any more than do all narcotic users become addicts, yet judges of juvenile courts everywhere recognize the close relationship that exists between cigarettes and crime.

Naturally, there must exist a predisposition toward criminality or immorality, or mental instability.


There must be a weakened resistance—both of mind and of body.

Possibly there must exist also the influence of corrupting companionship, of degrading environment, of a weakened condition of the nervous system.

But, given all these qualifications, plus the deteriorating influence of tobacco poison—particularly from cigarette inhalation—and the man or boy who indulges to excess is in a fair way to become anything that may be along his line of least resistance.

Dr. Hutchinson of the Kansas State Reformatory in discussing one phase of this matter, has said: "Cigarettes are the cause of the downfall of more boys in this institution than all other vicious habits combined."

A police magistrate of New York City said: "Ninety-nine out of every one him-


dred boys between the ages of ten and seventeen who come before me charged with crime have their fingers stained with the nicotine from cigarettes." Judge Pollock of Fargo, N. D., said: "Every boy brought into this court in the past sixteen years, charged with a misdemeanor, was a cigarette smoker."

How Cigarette Smokers Become Criminals

So marked is this demoralizing effect that Henry Ford, who has given the subject a very considerable amount of mature thought, has gone on record to the effect that:

"If you will study the history of almost any criminal, you will find that he is an inveterate cigarette smoker. Boys, through cigarettes, train with bad company. They go with other smokers to pool rooms and

saloons. The cigarette drags them down. Hence, if we educate them to the dangers of smoking we perform a service."
It may be something of a general comfort to know that it is now more difficult—and very much more expensive—to secure, at the present time, the alcoholic accompaniment of the cigarette. For this boon—much thanks!

Thomas A. Edison, who, perhaps, has done as much as any man in America to popularize science, supplements Mr. Ford's observation by saying:

Dr. Harvey W. Wiley [early in charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration], who ranks as one of the leading investigators of the effects of poisons upon the human organism, in commenting upon the position taken by Mr. Ford and Mr. Edison, says:


"I commend Mr. Ford, Mr. Edison, and all people who join them in efforts to curtail or restrict, obliterate or destroy the pernicious habit of cigarette smoking. The use of cigarettes is making inroads on the strength of the nerves of all who smoke them, especially boys of tender years or women who smoke them because they think that the practice is smart. The effect may not be so bad on people of more mature years, but not in any case, no matter how old a man or woman is, is smoking helpful. Besides constituting a nuisance, the financial strain connected with the use of tobacco stands between millions of people and home comforts."

Juvenile judges, especially, recognize the cigarette as one of the greatest factors in the development of the youthful criminal, a conclusion which is amply borne out by the evidence presented.

Examples of Other
Smoking-Crime-Link References: The
Real 'Profile': White Male Smokers
1836 1854 1857 1862 1876
1878 1882 1901 1904 1912
1915 1916 1925 1989 1991

Cigarette Smokers Lose Their Power of Blushing

Judge Gemmill, of the Court of Domestic Relations of Chicago, asserts that, without exception, every boy appearing before him who had lost the faculty of blushing was a cigarette fiend.

Dr. Coffin, for many years connected with the Whittier Reform School of California, contends that fully ninety-eight per cent of all youthful criminals confined in this institution were cigarette smokers, and that their downward career could be traced to the use of cigarettes.

Dr. D. H. Kress tells a rather interesting little story, illustrating this point. It seems that at a clinic conducted at the Harpers Hospital, Detroit, for the benefit of those who desired aid in their efforts to give up smoking, a boy thirteen years


of age, who had the appearance of being not more than nine years old, applied. He was stunted physically, mentally and morally, as many of these boys are. One of the nurses who assisted me said to him: "How long have you smoked? Who taught you to smoke?" He replied: "My brother." With considerable emphasis she said: "Your brother ought to be in jail." To which the boy quietly replied: "He is."

Much of the truancy, indifference and poor school work today is found among youthful smokers. The minds of cigarette-smoking boys become dull. They are apathetic and lacking in ambition. Their morals are perverted.

Their ideas of property rights, of the value of telling the truth, and often of common decency, are terribly distorted. Many of these boys require constantly to


be reprimanded, and sometimes suspended, or even expelled from school.

How The Japanese Show Good Sense

A score or more years ago cigarettes were almost as universally used in Japan as they now are in America. The wily Japanese saw the debauching effect of the habits on the physical and mental status of their young men. So on April 1, 1900, a bill was passed, forbidding the sale of cigarettes and tobacco in any form to young men under twenty years of age.

In introducing this bill, Hon. S. Nemoto said:
"I should like briefly to give you reasons why we have introduced this bill. Recently even children in our common schools have come to smoke cheap, imported cigarettes, the consequences of which, we fear, may bring our country down to the miserable


condition of countries like China or India, because tobacco, like opium, contains narcotic poisons which benumb the nervous system and weaken the mental power of children addicted to smoking, and thus give a death-blow to the vitality of the nation. Therefore, from the standpoint of our national policy, we must strictly prohibit smoking . . . by . . . young people."

He made the significant statement:
"If we expect to make this nation superior to the nations of Europe and America, we must not allow our youth in common schools, who are to become the fathers and mothers of our country in the near future, to smoke. If we desire to cause the light of the nation to shine forth over the world, we ought not to follow the example of China or India."

What Two Noted Judges Think of Smoking

Juvenile Judge Benjamin Lindsey, a man who knows boys perhaps better than any other man in the world, says:


"I sometimes wish I could give up the bench for a year or two to get out and help in a sort of evangelistic work in fighting the causes of juvenile weakness, misery, and crime. You may rest assured we should find the tobacco trust a part of the beast.

"The cigarette habit is certainly one of the very worst habits that attack the boyhood, and therefore the manhood of the nation; there is no question but that it is one of the leading factors in the criminality of a large per cent of the young boys in the reformatory institutions of the nation, and every effort to eliminate the evil deserves the encouragement of the American people."

Judge Stubbs, of the Indianapolis Juvenile Court, says:
"The boy, whose bones are soft, whose nerves are weak, and whose muscles have not yet developed, becomes addicted to the use of cigarettes, with the results that he loses his vigor, his whole system being filled with lassi-


tude somewhat similar to the effect of morphine or cocaine on a grown person. Such a boy, being without vitality, loses his ambition, without which a boy never amounts to anything. He falls behind in his school work, if he is in school, with the result that he quits school too soon; he loses his job if he is put to work, for the reason that he has not the strength or vitality to do the work that the normal boy ought to do."

These men don't theorize or guess—they know.

Not only does the use of cigarettes produce a criminal tendency in many boys but it also produces what might be termed criminal insanity—a condition in which lying, thieving, and murder become as natural as eating and drinking. [Modern term: psychopathy. See also Dr. Benjamin Rush's 1798 analysis.]

Ed. Note: "'Psychopathy is more widely spread today than ever before in the history of our civilization . . . it is assuming more and more the proportions of a plague . . . it is today ravishing the world with far greater ill-effects than the most malignant of organic diseases . . . it represents a terrible force whose destructive potentialities are criminally under-estimated,'" says Robert M. Lindner, in Rebel Without A Cause: The Hypno-Analysis of a Criminal Psychopath (London: Research Books Limited, 1945), § "The Problem: Criminal Psychopathy" § IV, pp 15-16.

The "pill" occasionally develops a type of young criminal patterned after the Teddy Webb order. This young bandit,


it will be remembered, terrorized a section of Chicago, and finally wound up by murdering a policeman.

Webb began to smoke cigarettes at ten years of age, and shortly after this became a factor in police court records.

The savage delight in excitement, hair-breadth escapes on stolen automobiles, close-range gun fighting—these are only a few of the most pronounced symptoms of "cigarette insanity"—when the poisonous habit is formed early enough.

How A Wise Judge Interpreted The Facts

Judge Brum, of Pottsville, Pa., charging the jury in the case of a young cigarette fiend, accused of murder, said: "The fact that the prisoner is a cigarette fiend [drug addict] must be taken into consideration."


Pointing to the cigarette-stained fingers of the prisoner, he said that the number of cigarettes used by him "was proof in his mind that the prisoner's brain was affected."

The jury discharged the prisoner [a 'not guilty' verdict], urging the judge to make the defendant take an oath never to smoke another cigarette. This action received unfavorable comments from the press. But the fact remains that any young man whose brain has been injured by cigarettes can not be held responsible for his actions.

Ed. Note: Such persons meet the criteria of law for being adjudicated 'not guilty by reason of insanity,' i.e., they are unable “to appreciate the wrongfulness of his [their] conduct,” and “to conform his [their] conduct to the requirements of the law.”—People v Matulonis, 115 Mich App 263; 320 NW2d 238 (1982).
"[Addiction aka brain damage] lessens [smokers] moral responsibility," says Fr. Giuseppe De Rosa, writing in “È Severamente Vietato Fumare,” IV Civilta Cattolica (#3707) 491-500 (4 December 2004), cited by John Hooper,“Attack on Smoking Gets Papal Blessing” [of John Paul II] (The Guardian, 31 December 2004).

How The Cigarette Affects the Health of Boys

Ceisne, a French physician, found that among thirty-eight boys between nine and fifteen years of age, in twenty-two there was marked circulatory disturbance and


heart palpitation; in thirteen, intermittent pulse; in eighty decided anemia; several suffered from nosebleed, insomnia and nightmare; four had ulcerated mouths; and one had consumption; all as a result of tobacco addiction.

Eleven of these boys, who were persuaded to quit the use of tobacco, completely recovered their health within six months—and it is fair to say that many more would have benefited equally if only they could have been persuaded to quit. [Better still, Iowa's approach, ban cigarettes.]

How Cigarettes Cause Insanity

Accurate statistics are not obtainable [to Macfadden, in 1924] as to the influence of tobacco in causing insanity, although many of the world's greatest authorities on mental diseases are convinced that it is a predisposing factor in a large percentage of the victims.


There is no doubt that in the presence of an unstable nervous organism nicotine is extremely detrimental.

Doctor Bancroft, of the New Hampshire Asylum at Concord, writes in no uncertain terms on this matter. He says: "I have known several cases of insanity, most unquestionably produced by the use of tobacco, without other complicating causes."

Dr. L. Pierce Clark, speaking on the effects of tobacco on the mind, says: "Fully half the patients who come to our asylum for treatment are victims of tobacco."

The superintendent of the New York Insane Asylum holds that "Tobacco has done more to precipitate minds into the vortex of insanity than spirituous liquors."

Doctor Woodward, of the Massachusetts Insane Asylum, says: "That to-


bacco produces insanity I am fully confident."

Statistics compiled by the New York World prove that "in nine cases out of eleven, where insanity has resulted from excessive drinking, the primary cause of the condition was smoking."

Dr. Forbes Winslow, one of the leading English authorities on insanity, declares that "The true causes for insanity are the vices, not the worries, of civilization. I should put the causes of insanity in the following order: (1) Drink; (2) Cigarette smoking; (3) Heredity." Dr. Winslow makes the illuminating observation that much of the degeneracy formerly attributed to alcohol, in the past, is due to alcohol, plus tobacco.

How much of this degeneracy to ascribe to the one, and how much to the other of these vices, is perhaps not possible of ac-

curate determination, as they are so intimately associated, and as most drinkers are also smokers. But it must be an extremely high ratio—of this there is no doubt.

What Insurance Companies Think about Tobacco

Life insurance companies also have neglected a very fertile field for investigation in not obtaining more definite actuary and mortuary statistics relating to tobacco users, by listing smokers and non-smokers separately, as many now do with drinkers. One New York company (The Postal Life) is taking this matter up, and in a recent bulletin it said: "We believe the attitude of the medical profession is rapidly changing toward tobacco as it has changed toward alcohol." Which would

indicate that this company has reason to regard tobacco as definitely injurious to the human organism.

Dr. D. H. Robbins, for forty years an insurance examiner, in speaking of the pernicious effect of cigarette smoking on the body, said that one-half of the tobacco users he examined were perceptibly injured by it, and at least one-eighth had irregular or intermittent valvular actions commonly known as "smokers' heart." He said:
"This weakened condition of the human pump allows slight regurgitation of blood through improperly closed valves, preventing complete oxidization in the lungs, thereby retaining the poisonous gases in the system and eventually resulting in dropsy or some other systemic breakdown."

We are in the habit of looking to the insurance companies for accurately tabu-

lated information in vital statistics; we might, therefore, recommend this subject to their further attention.

Healing of Wounds Retarded by Smoking

The same poison that causes degeneration and insanity also prevents the repair of tissue injured by accident or disease. Doctor Huber states: "The use of tobacco has been observed to induce a diminution of the therapeutic effects of medicines, and to retard the healing of wounds. Unquestionably tobacco predisposes to pulmonary tuberculosis, and when diseases of respiration have developed the tobacco habit certainly aggravates them.."

Many users of tobacco also suffer from acid dyspepsia, which nothing but a correction of the vice of smoking seems to relieve.

Excessive smoking is also a prolific cause of insomnia, due to the irritating effect the poison has upon the nervous system.

Thousands of men, who can stand the toxic effects of one cigar, or one pipe, or a few cigarettes, are kept awake for hours by two cigars, two pipes, or many cigarettes.

Their arterial tension is raised, their pulse rate is increased from five to twenty beats a minute, and their overstimulated brain cells keep them "as wide awake as a weasel"—affecting them in about the same way that the drinking of tea or coffee late at night affects most people.

However, even the devil is not so black as he is painted. If cigars or cigarettes are properly boiled, the resulting decoction is remarkably efficacious for killing sheep ticks and other vermin, spraying fruit

trees, annihilating plant lice, and making life perfectly miserable for get-at-able bugs generally. It is also an excellent dip for poultry and pigs. But aside from these, tobacco has absolutely no commendable uses whatever.


[In interim, pending completion of this site,
you can obtain this book via your local library.]

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to the Wisconsin Board of Health

by G. F. Witter, M.D. (1881)
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