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The Tobacco Problem

Nature volume 140, page 615 (09 October 1937) | Download Citation



IN an address on this subject before the Southampton Medical Society on October 6, Dr. J. D. Rolleston maintained that the tobacco habit is quite as much a concern of public health as that of acute infectious disease, a view which appears to be gaining ground in Germany, where many members of the public health service are of opinion that the harm done by nicotine is as great as that caused by alcohol. In Great Britain, however, apart from the Society for the Study of Inebriety and Drug Addiction, there has been little discussion in scientific meetings of the tobacco problem, like until recently any aspects of the sexual question. In a survey of the action of tobacco on the various systems of the body, Dr. Rolleston remarked that though in most cases little harm is likely to ensue from a mild degree of smoking, some smokers, even those of long standing, are liable to develop toxic symptoms after only a small amount of tobacco, while a considerable proportion of all tobacco consumers smoke to excess. Other subjects discussed in the address were the incidence of smoking in different countries, the relation of tobacco to cancer of the upper respiratory and alimentary tracts, tobacco in training, smoking in hospital wards, the occurrence of extensive fires due to smokers' carelessness and the formation in 1926 of the National Society of Non-Smokers.

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