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History, Public Health

Early anti-smoking advocate: King James I of England?

Absolutely fascinating: According to an article in the British Medical Journal, King James I of England was an early anti-smoking advocate. Published anonymously in 1604, but then credited to the king, his Counterblaste to Tobacco (above) stated that smoking was a:

. . .custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the Nose, harmefull to the braine, daungerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomlesse.

Comparing smoking to the smoky fires of hell is pretty strong stuff, but, as the BMJ’s Wendy Moore points out, his advice would go unheeded for centuries.

Related: NPR’s Picture Show highlights Stanford collection of cigarette ads
Via Clinical Cases and Images Blog

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