Saturday, April 2, 2011
Protect Growing Youth Against Habit-forming Drugs- Harvey Washing Wiley
Originally published- 1922
CHAIRMAN. Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, now editor of Good Housekeeping, when head of the U. S. Bureau of Chemistry, speaking in the Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D. C., at one of the sessions of an annual meeting of the International Reform Bureau, enumerated as "habit-forming drugs," from worst to least : alcohol, opium, cocain, tobacco, coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa. All these are "nervines," that more or less upset the normalcy of the nerves, and make people "nervous" who should be nervy. These nervines so grip the nerves that they demand a new dose with increasing frequency. To illustrate the habit-forming quality in these various drugs and how it is taken advantage of for financial profit in nearly all patent medicines, Dr. Wiley told that day of a man introduced to him by a prominent general. The man so introduced desired the assistance of Dr. Wiley in making a new patent medicine for the drug market. He had been greatly benefited by taking a spoonful of olive oil between meals. He felt sure it would also benefit others, but he said : "I know that I could not get profit from plain olive oil. Tell me what drug I could put in by a secret formula that would make people feel they must have it every day." Dr. Wiley said that but for the man's distinguished sponsor who had sent him there not knowing his errand, he should have kicked him out of the room meaning that it is a rascally thing to bind anybody to a habit-forming drug.
We all know how the opium sot cries "I'm all in" after a certain short interval from his last "shot." The man whose nerves have been poisoned with alcohol wants it oftener and more of it week by week.
In Australia I found that tea had become to many an enslaving "dope." The man thus affected took a cup of tea on rising to "strengthen" him for dressing; another cup of tea at breakfast; another cup of tea at 11 A. M. even in the office of a temperance paper; another cup of tea at tiffin, as they call the noon lunch; another cup at "5 o'clock tea" a cup of tea also at every call, if he made any ; a cup of tea at supper ; and Pullman trains on which I rode stopped twice in the night for travelers, in their bathrobes, to run across the frosted platform to the refreshment room, each time for a cup of tea. Most Americans feel they must have coffee three times a day, and many of them fill in between cups and between meals with cigarettes.
In a letter in my files from L. F. Kebler, Chief of the Drug Division of the U. S. Bureau of Chemistry, written shortly before the World War, June 24, 1914, he said that "five grains of caffein (2 cups of coffee) would kill a rabbit weighing about two pounds." In that letter he also said that when the U. S. Bureau of Chemistry began its investigations, a "goodly number of the drinks sold at soda fountains contained cocain," but so far as the Bureau had information none of them were on the market in 1914, but "the number of caffein preparations" had remained "about the same."
Children are not killed outright by coffee but the two cups of coffee that would kill a rabbit will unquestionably kill some of the tiny precious cells in a child's body. "Every drop of beer kills a cell," science tells us, and surely every full cup of coffee does as much harm as a drop of beer to a growing child. I do not attempt to persuade full-grown people to give up coffee or tea or chocolate, much less cocoa, which is the only one in the list I drink, and that but seldom. But let us try to keep the new generation from all these "habit drugs."
How shall we make boys and girls feel the wisdom of the rule every parent should make that they shall let all habit-forming drugs alone at least until they are of age and can decide for themselves?
Tell them, for one thing, that Sir Isaac Newton, the great thinker, who saw in a falling apple the law of the planets, said, "I make myself no necessities." He saw that many people were all tied up with habits that, like the strings of a jumping jack, made them do foolish things. Tell them that coffee is a crutch, that no strong boy or girl needs. Tell them water is the real "strong drink," the drink of the strong ox, and of the swift eagle; the drink of the winning athletes.
Effect of Tobacco on Growing Youth
Dr. Wiley named tobacco next to alcohol and opium in his list of habit-forming drugs. We draw the line right there in legislation. The sale of liquors and opium to anybody should be prohibited save as a guarded medicine, but I refused in 1922 to support legislation proposed in Arkansas that carried the prohibition of tobacco beyond minors. I believe we should rely upon argument to stop the use of tobacco in case of adults, whether men or women. But we should by law protect non-smokers against the impositions of selfish smokers who are so careless of the safety and comfort of others that they smoke where they may start a fire, and where they will make others to whom smoke is nauseating or distasteful breathe their second-hand smoke even in places protected by "no smoking" signs. One of the strong arguments against smoking is that it turns gentlemen into rowdies, in some cases, in the fundamental matter of consideration for others. Another is the representative statement made by the National Board of Underwriters that "careless smokers were responsible for the greatest amount of fire loss from 1916 to 1921." The report was for the District of Columbia, but there is no reason for thinking the National Capital is worse than other places in this respect.
More Deadly Than German Gas
Hudson Maxim, one of the world's greatest writers on munitions and inventor of the bomb-proof ship, said during the World War : "The numbers of our men killed and the number injured by all the poinsonous gases of and injured by the poisonous gases og cigarette smoke Germans will be far fewer than those who will be killed which our hyper-sentimentality is inflicting upon them, while the after effects will be even worse. I do not for one minute mean to imply that cigarette smoke is as virulent a poison as the gases employed against our troops by the Germans, but I do mean that cigarette smoke will be responsible for a larger number of deaths than the poisonous gases of the Germans, and I claim that the permanent effects of the cigarette poison are even worse than the after effects of the poisonous gases of the Germans, be-cause while the German gases. affect the body they do not, like the cigarette, impair the mind."
Why Put Yourself in a State of Narcosis?
What does tobacco do to us? There is in it a poison called nicotine so deadly that one full drop of it would kill an adult. A smaller portion of it taken for the first time by a boy makes him deathly sick. That gives warning of its poisonous character, but doesn't usually wean him from the folly. It did not in my case, for I speak as an ex-smoker. I quit at the end of my first week, after.
I had got over the nausea and had begun to enjoy "a good cigar." But I had already discovered that tobacco would hobble my brain and lead others to follow my bad example. Tobacco of any kind puts a soft-pedal on efficiency of mind and body. It puts us in a state of narcosis. We are half chloroformed. The Literary Digest of April 15, 1922, records a test of the effects of tobacco on efficiency at Stanford University. Telegraph operators of three kinds were selected for the test. None of them smoked on duty. Those who smoked much when off duty were regarded as "heavy smokers." Their percentage of efficiency was 38. Those who smoked two pipes a day or one cigar, or two or three cigarettes before and after work and at noon, were regarded as "light smokers." Their efficiency was 40.1. The women operators, non-smokers, though of the "weaker sex," excelled both the other groups with an efficiency record of 46.6. The nicotine not only dulls our nerve cells, but kills some of them. If you have brains to burn, a tobacco bonfire is a good way to get rid of the surplus. One criminal lawyer argued jocosely to me that it was better for the world that he should smoke as he could in that case do less harm in his profession. I seriously agreed that was one of the many cases where "truth had been spoken in jest." If your work for the world is a curse, the more you dull your powers and shorten your life through "Lady Nicotine," the better.
Women Who Smoke "Bad Risks" in More Senses Than One
MRS. ESTHER. Speaking of "Lady Nicotine," a name that gets new significance because women are beginning to smoke, I am reminded to quote what U. S. Surgeon General Hugh S. Cummings has said about women smoking :
"The cigarette habit indulged in by women tends to cause nervousness and insomnia. If American women generally contract the habit, as reports now indicate they are doing, the entire American nation will suffer. The physical tone of the whole nation will be lowered. This is one of the most evil influences in American life today. The number of American women who are smoking cigarettes is amazing. THE HABIT HARMS A WOMAN MORE THAN IT DOES A MAN. The woman's nervous system is more highly organized than the man's. The reaction, therefore, is more intense, ruining her complexion, causing it to become gradually yellow and ashen."
MRS. FISK. Miss Frances Partridge, general secretary of the Women's Benefit Association, who yearly keeps tab on 250,000 risks, all women, was quoted in the Herald-Examiner, September 2, 1921, as saying: "Except for the recent fad of smoking and drinking, the girl of today has it about three to one over her frailer sister of the hoop skirt era. If we find out that a woman smokes or drinks we do not accept her application."
CHAIRMAN. There is another fact about tobacco, not generally known, which ought to be known to all who in this day of unparalleled temptations to impurity are making "the fight for character." I refer to the fact that tobacco stimulates the passions speaking scientifically, is a "sexual irritant." The health officer of the National Capital confirmed that view in an interview at the Y. M.
C. A. where it was quite a new truth to some of the workers. When both the man and woman in a position of mutual moral peril have had their nerves spurred by tobacco, the peril of a runaway is doubled.
An Appeal to Boys
MR. BROWN. For my contribution to this Round Table I should like to read from a book on "The Cigaret Boy" by Hon. Edward Hyatt, written when he was Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of California:
"Boys, the fun and success of your whole life and that of your friends are going to depend very largely upon what you do during the next ten years ; and I urge each one of you to resolve to do without cigarettes for the next ten years and to hang to that resolution like grim death.
You. have a long and tough old fight ahead of you to keep your head above water, and make a living for fifty years. All the time you'll keenly need every ounce of strength and steadiness and wind you can summon to your aid. But if you take on the habit of smoking before you are grown, the other fellow will get away with you and you will often go down to humiliating defeat simply because in boyhood you drugged yourself so that you are not so tough and strong in body nor so cool and steady in mind as you would otherwise be.
It is not enough to see that a good many admirable boys and men are smoking without apparent damage; if we look about and think we shall see that the boys who use cigarettes are most likely to be poor specimens of humanity, thin-faced, nervous, unable to study or stick to a job.
We shall see that athletic managers do not want them, that they are undesirable to practical employers. They have a poor chance among the strongest and best people everywhere.
This is why I ask you to do without cigarettes for the next ten years. How strong is your will? Can you do it?"