TOBACCO USE IN DAYS GONE BY
Reprinted with Permission from Dallas
This piece of writing is merely intended to investigate the early
uses of tobacco in many forms. It is certainly not intended to promote
this form of lifestyle. It has been proven that tobacco use is greatly
harmful to one’s health and should definitely be avoided.
Many years ago
cigarette smokers were looked upon as sissies and as contenders for
an early demise. Those who were cigar smokers and other stronger
forms of the weed scorned the “softies” who used
cigarettes, which were widely known as “coffin nails.” The
ladies, of course, never touched the things in those days.
The he-men of the earlier era indulged in cigars, chewin ‘chawin’ tobacco,
and dipped snuff. Likewise, it seemed that the smaller the man--or
boy--the larger the cigar, this attitude being the rule, so it seemed.
Cigar smokers once were so plentiful that children and girls saved
the cigar bands --the colorful rings that run about the middle of a
cigar showing the name brand. They also pasted them on the bottom of
glass dishes where they would show through from beneath. Girls competed
amongst each other to see who had the largest number of different kinds
of cigar bands.
Obviously, the cheaper method of enjoying tobacco was to chew it.
This practice was utilized where smoking was dangerous of forbidden
in mines, barns, factories, and homes where the housewife would not
tolerate the profound smoke of the cigars in her draperies. Clearly,
the cigar butts and ashes along with the “spit” had to
be disposed of. Along came the installation of spittons and cuspidors
in all inside public places and in many homes. These “receptacles” took
various forms and shapes. They were eventually banished from the home
by the fuming and determined womenfolk. Chewing still persists where
smoking is problematic or forbidden.
Snuff was used mainly where smoking was dejected. Sophisticates of
both sexes took up this habitual form of tobacco use in the upper echelons
of society. A snuffbox was standard equipment in many places, where
silver snuffboxes were especially treasured belongings. This powdery
tobacco product was consumed either by inhaling it through a nostril
or by rubbing it on the gums with a finger.
The etiquette books of the latter part of the nineteenth century
devoted considerable space to cigar smoking in view of the then prominent
part it played in social life. Gentlemen were told, in general, that
he should never keep a cigar in his mouth when talking or saluting
a lady on the street and should never spit in the presence of a lady.
Advise was given to the men that they should never smoke in the presence
of a lady without first asking permission. In no way should they ever
be in their presence with cigar smoke on their breath. A gentleman
should never smoke in a room that ladies frequent, since few ladies
like the odor of tobacco on their clothes. Chewing of parsley was recommended
to remove the odor and taste of a cigar.
especially women of delicate awareness, as practiced by cigar smokers
and tobacco chewers, considered the practice of spitting, offensive.
Further back, in colonial days, the use of tobacco was placed under
strict guidelines in some places, although the tobacco product was
acceptable in fines, taxes, and lodging, and often as a dowry. In many
places, no one could use tobacco publicly, no two men could smoke together,
and no one could smoke within two miles of the meetinghouse of the
Sabbath. Landlords were forbidden to permit tobacco to be taken into
their houses on penalty of a fine for both landlord and tobacco user.
The Puritans stated that “No person under twenty-one shall
take any tobacco until some skilled in physics testifies that it is
useful to him and he has received a license from the court.