reformers in the nineteenth century considered the addictive
nicotine in tobacco to be a “gateway” drug leading to the use of
stronger substances. A
cartoon in the May 26, 1883 issue of
showed the ill effect of smoking
and drinking on a smoker’s dreams.
In the illustration, small demon-like creatures rode various tobacco
products—a cigarette pack, cigars, and a pipe—in a whirl of
nightmarish smoke around a glass of whiskey.
Cartoonists of the period had
fun with the offensive odor that tobacco smoke left in fabric.
the December 31, 1864 issue,
the mother in a cartoon
recognized that the daughter had seen her boyfriend from the smell
of his cigars, which
had been absorbed by the daughter’s clothing. In a
cartoon from the November 17, 1866 issue,
a son warned his father that the
boy’s absent mother would be angry if the men smoked
because she would return to smell the odor in the dining room
curtains. However, one entrepreneur, assuming that not all
women disliked tobacco smoke,
advertised a tobacco perfume in the May 29, 1869 issue.
The ad only appeared once.
Cartoonists also made light
of the serious fire hazard that smoking presented. In a
cartoon from the May 26, 1888 issue,
firefighters responded to smoke billowing out of a window and found
a smoker who had fallen asleep. In a
cartoon from the November 17, 1888 issue,
the difficulties of lighting a cigar led to a smoker’s newspaper
catching on fire.
|Harper's Weekly References
May 26, 1883, p. 336, c. 1-2
cartoon, “A Dream Materialized,” tobacco- and alcohol-induced nightmare
December 31, 1864, p. 848, c. 1-2
girlfriend has stench from smoker-boyfriend
November 17, 1866, p. 736, c. 2-3
“Oh! The Curtains!” smell lingers in curtains
May 29, 1869, p. 351, c. 2
ad for tobacco perfume
May 26, 1888, p. 379, c. 3-4
“An Interrupted Siesta” (both images)
November 17, 1888, p. 879
“Some Studies of a Gentleman Lighting His Cigar”