Seattle: The Calvert Company, 1897. First Edition. Wraps. An early pamphlet about the health effects of tobacco on digestion, hair, memory, as well as its impact on intemperance and business and tips on how to quit. The author, William W. McElhinney (1848–1923), was a successful farmer who lived in Geneseo Township, Iowa. “In the following pages it will be the object of the writer to state, as clearly as possible, the effect of the tobacco habit upon vital organs as demonstrated by his own experience and observation,” he wrote in the introduction, which also calls attention to Benjamin Ward Richardson’s influential study “For and Against Tobacco” (1865).
According to “The History of Antitobacco Actions in the Last 500 Years, Part 1” (2006), published in Poland by Andrzej Grzybowski, the health risks of tobacco were long debated: “Although the first epidemiological papers indicating that smoking is connected with the shortening of life span were published in the first half of the 20th century, not until 1950 did Hill and Doll in Great Britain, and Wynder and Graham in the US show a statistically significant correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer occurrence ... The conflicting opinions according to its influence to health coexisted in the 16th to 19th centuries. In this period, especially in the 19th century, dominated moral and religious arguments against tobacco.”
In the final chapter of the pamphlet, McElhinney provides advice on how to quit tobacco, which involves making a plan and sticking to it, avoiding association with other smokers, refraining from alcohol, and distracting oneself with hard work: “Stubbornly resist, refuse to be downed, and the battle is yours and you will have wrung from the conflict the strength which is to make you henceforth invulnerable.”
Octavo, 62 p. with a frontispiece illustration. Original printed light green paper wrappers. Some very light wear; else very good or better. Scarce, OCLC locates a single copy at the Library of Congress. Very good. Item #73846