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Just a Puff Between Your Cheek and…Cheek

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?



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