The practice of smoke enemas—something that “early modern Europeans in particular took up with a surprising degree of enthusiasm”—was apparently so widespread by the 1780s that “a charitable foundation, the Royal Humane Society, installed a series of emergency tobacco-enema kits along the banks of the River Thames.”
No, really. There are pictures and everything.
But…why along the river?
Because Richard Mead, a prominent physician at the time, had written that the first step in resuscitating a drowning victim “should be to blow up the smoke of tobacco into the intestines.”
Makes sense, I guess. I mean, why not?
All I know is that, after reading “Our Strange Addiction,” I really want a cigar. That’s not weird, is it?