|Written by John Quincy Barlow after
1908, transcribed by Barbara
Ereshena, as written, with hew own notes in parenthesis.
If you want a man who will train on flee the cigarettist as
you would a pestilence. Do not promote the cigarette smoker for
the time will surely come when you will rue the day you ever
gave him an opportunity to annoy you by leaving things undone
he ought to have done and doing things he ought not to have done.
My opponents may call your attention to the fact that in some
parts of Europe cigarette smoking is almost universal and without
noticeable injurious effects. This immunity is owing to the temperement
of the people and the peculiariarities of the climate.
My argument has America and Americans in mind. Poison affects
different people differently and American nerves cannot stand
artificial stimulants. The phlegmatic Russian can do things we
cannot. The Don Dago, Greaser and Turk are built on different
lines from us. Americans need all the brain power they possess.
And they need to learn to use it. Cigarette smoking is not periodic-
it is continuous- a slow insidious, sure poison. Its results
can be accurately foretold. But for the young man who has become
so calloused that he smokes cigaretts in the presents of his
mother, sister, or sweetheart, there is little hope. Young woman
heed my warning. Never, Never marry such a man. The poison has
already tanted his moral nature and for him the work of dissolution,
disintegration, and degeneration has begun. He is a mental and
moral defective. In preparing a culture bed for vice germs, do
not omit cigarettes. They stupefy the conscience, deaden the
brain, place the affection in abeyance, and bring the beast to
the surface. The burning of tobacco and paper together in contact
with the saliva distills a subtle chemical poison that has its
sure effects even upon the strongest constitutions.
One marked peculiarity of the cigarette fiend is that invariably
he makes a great discovery. It is that cleverness, astuteness,
trickery, and lieing are good substitutes for simplicity, frankness,
and plain, common honesty. The difference between mine and thine
is a very hazy proposition to the cigarettist. Dishonor, perdify,
disappointment, disgrace, are the end of all. To the employer
of labor, I say Place no confidence in the cigarettist- never
promote him- he is an irresponsible being. Love him if you can;
pity him if you will, but give him no chance to cluch you with
his nicotine fingers and drag you beneath the wave.
You are saying this is strong language. From the stand point
of a phasition I have still stronger to give you. He says, I
denounce cigarette smoking because of its blighting, blasting
effect upon one’s success in life. The whole tendency of
cigarette nicotine poison in youth is to arrest development;
It is fatal to all normal functions. It blights and blasts both
health and morals. It not only ruins the faculties, but it unbalencies
the mind as well. Many of the most pitiable cases of insanity
in our asylums are cigarette fiends. It creates abnormal appetites,
strange longings, and in many cases an almost insatiable inclination
to crime. The moral depravity which follows the cigarette habit
is something frightful, lying, cheating, impurity, loss of mind,
of courage and manhood, a complete dropping of life’s standards
all along the lines are its general results.
Listen to Magistrate Crane of New York City “Ninety nine
out of a hundred boys between the ages of ten and seventeen who
come before me with crime have their fingers disfigured by yellow
cigarette stanins. I am not a crank on this subject. I do not
care to pose as a reformer, but it is my opinion that cigarettes
will do more harm than liquor to ruin boys. When you have arraigned
before you boys hopelessly deaf through the excessive use of
cigarettes, boys who have stolen their sister’s earnings,
boys who absolutely refuse to work, who do nothing but gamble
and steal, you cannot help seeing that there is some direct cause
and a great deal of this boyhood crime is, in my mind, easy to
trace to the deadly cigarette. There is something in the poison
of the cigarette that seems to get into the system of the boy
which destroys all moral fiber. The probable course of a boy
who begins cigarette smoking, 1st cigaretts, 2nd beer and liquors,
3rd craps, petty gambling, 4th horse racing- gambling on a larger
scale, 5th larceny, 6th state prison.”
(Note: From internet search:
Magistrate Leroy B. Crane, of New York City, says:
"Out of 300 boys brought before me charged with various crimes
295 [Ed Note: 98¼%] were cigarette smokers. This surely
goes to prove that the boys who do not smoke do not stray into
the path that leads to the police court. Congress [Ed Note: like
1897 Iowa] should stop the manufacture, sale, and importation of
cigarettes. Ninety-nine out of 100 boys between the ages of 10
and 17 years who come before me charged with crime have their fingers
disfigured by yellow cigarette stain. I am not a crank on this
subject. I do not care to pose as a reformer, but it is my opinion
that cigarettes will do more than liquor to ruin boys.")
Dr J. H. Kellogg says I had all the nicotine from a cigarette
removed and made a solution of it. I injected half the quantity
into a full grone frog with the effect that it died almost instantly.
I then administered the balance to another like frog with like
results. A boy smoking twenty cigaretts a day has inhaled enough
poison to kill forty grone frogs. Why does the poison not kill
the boy? It does kill him. If not immediately, he will die sonner
or later of weak heart, Bright’s disease, or some other
malady which scientific physicians everywhere recognize as a
natural result of chronic nicotine poisoning. A chemist not long
ago since, took the tobacco used in an average cigarette and
soaked it in several teaspoonfuls of water and then injected
a portion of it under the skin of a cat. The cat almost immediately
went into convulsions, and died in fifteen minutes. Dogs have
been killed by a single drop of nicotine.
(Note: From internet search:
Tobaccoism, or, How Tobacco Kills
by John H. Kellogg, M.D., LL.D., F.A.C.S.
(Battle Creek, Michigan:
The Modern Medicine Publishing Co, 1922)
John H. Kellogg, M.D., LL.D., F.A.C.S. (1852-1943)
wrote an early exposé (1922) 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.
Information about the tobacco danger was already being circulated
in 1922, 42 years before the famous 1964 Surgeon General Report.)
A young man died in a Minnesota State institution not long ago,
who five years before had been one of the most promising young
physicians of the west. Still under thirty years at the time
of his commitment to the institution; says a newspaper account
of the story. He had already made three discoveries in nervous
diseases which had made him well known in his profession. But
he smoked cigarettes. For a long time effects of his habit were
not apparent; in fact, it was not untill a patient died on the
operating table under his hands, and the young doctor went to
pieces, that it became known that he was a victim of the paper
pipes. But then he had gone too far, he was a wreck in mind as
well as in body, and ended his days in a maniac’s cell.
Listen to the following dialogue
•You smoke thirty cigarettes a day?
•Yes, on the average.
•You don’t blame them for your run down condition?
•Not in the least, I blame my hard work.
The physitian shook his head. He
smiled in a vexed way. Then he took a leech out of a glass jar.
•Let me show you something he said. Bare your arm.
•The cigarette smoker bared his pale arm, and the doctor laid
the lean, black leech upon it. The leech fell to work busily.
body began to swell. Then, all of a sudden, a kind of shudder convulsed
it, and it fell to the floor- dead.
•That’s what your blood did to that leech, said the
physician. He took up the little corpse between his finger and
Look at it, he said. Quite dead, you see. You poisoned
•I guess it wasn’t a healthy leech in the first place,
said the paper pipe smoker, sullenly.
•Wasn’t healthy, eh? Well, we’ll try again.
•And the physitian clapped two leeches on the young man’s
•If they both die said the patient I’ll swear off- or,
at least. I’ll cut down my daily allowance from thirty to
•Even as he spoke the smaller shivered and droped to his knee,
and a moment later the larger one fell beside it.
•This is gastly, said the young man. I am worse than the pestilence
to three leeches.
•It is the empyreumatic oil in your blood, said the medical
man. ‘All cigarette smokers have it.’
•Doctor, said the young man, regarding the three dead leeches
thoughtfully, I half believe you’re right.
Oh! That I had the power to make every man young and old in
Beerston believe there physitians are telling the whole-truth.
Listen to what our Universities and some of our large business
concerns say! It is said that for the past fifty years not a
student of Harvard University who used tobacco has been graduated
at the head of his class, although on the average five out of
six used tobacco.
An investigation of all the students who entered Yale University
during nine years shows that the cigarette smokers were the inferiors
both in weight and lung capacity of the non-smokers, although
they averaged fifteen months older.
Dr. Fiske of the Northwestern Academy has asked all pupils who
will not give up cigarettes to leave the Academy. In one year
not one of the boys who used cigarettes stood in the front rank
This is our experience in teaching more than five thousand young
people, says the principle of a great business College: Cigarettes
bring shattered nerves, stunted groth, and general physical and
mental degeneration. We refuse to receive users of tobacco into
Cigarette smoking is no longer simply a moral question. The
great business world has taken it up as a deadly enemy of advancement
and achievement. Leading business firms all over the country
have put the cigarette user on the prohibited list. In Detroit
alone sixty nine merchants have agreed not to employ the cigarette
user. In Chicago, Montgomery Ward, Spencer, Bartlett & Company,
and some of the larger concerns have prohibited cigarette smoking
among all employees under eighteen years of age. Marshall Field & Company
have this rule “No cigarettes can be smoked by our employees”.
One of the questions in the application blanks at Wanamaker’s
reads: Do you use tobacco or cigarettes?
The superintendent of the Sindell Steel Railway, of St. Louis,
says: Under no circumstances will I hire a man who smokes cigarettes.
He is as dangerous as the man who drinks. In fact, he is more
dangerous; his nerves are apt to give way at any moment. If I
find a car running badly, I immediately begin to investigate
to find if the man smokes cigarettes. Nine times out of ten he
does, and then he goes for good.
E. H. Harriman, the late head of the Union Pacific Railroad
system said: We might as well go to a lunatic asylum for our
employees as hire cigarette smokers.
(Note: E. H. Harriman (1847-1909)
The New York, New Haven, and Hartford, the Chicago Rock Island
and Pacific, The Lehigh Valley, The Burlington, and many others
of the leading railroad companies of this country have issued
orders positively forbidding the use of cigarettes by employes
while on duty.
If there is anything the youth should regard as sacrid and should
preserve intac6t at all hazards as it affects his future more
than anything else, it is his will power, and this is affected
verry early in the cigarette smoker, so that he finds himself
a slave to a practice which was once absolutely within his volition.
Cigarette smoking early impairs the digestive organs. It causes
a gradual loss of appetite, and the wretched victim substitutes
more cigarettes for food, in fact he finally gets to a point
where he becomes such a slave to the cigarette that he cannot
do without it.
Herein lies one of the greatest dangers of the cigarette, It
creates a longing which it cannot satisfy.
A physician in charge of a large sanatorium in the West says
that three-fifths of all the men who come to the institution
within a year, to be cured of the opium, morphine, cocaine habit,
have been cigarette smokers, and that sixty percent of these
pleaded as there only excuse, the need of a stronger stimulant
than the cigarette.
Excessive cigarette smoking increases the heart’s action
very materially, in some instances, twenty five or thirty beats
a minute. Think of the enormous amount of extra work forced upon
this delicate organ every twenty-four hours! The pulsations are
not only greatly increased, but also, very materially weakened
so that the blood is not forced to every part of the system,
and hense the tissues are not nourished as they would be by means
of fewer but stronger, more vigorous, pulsations.
That little roll of paper and tobacco is rightly names the little “coffin
nail”. In this strenuous age the first requsit of success
is health. Undoubtedly many cigarette smokers are not aware of
their harmful effects. But it is no longer a matter of opinion,
it is a matter of facts, and the facts are against the cigarette,
As said Luther Burbank “The young man who smokes cigarettes
will burn out his nervous system and never blossom into full
(Note: Luther Burbank (1849-1926) was a famed horticulturalist)
Barlow and Melinda Dennis
Elbert Spicer Barlow
Bettie Barlow Dermott
John Quincy Barlow Photograph
Joseph W. Barlow Photograph