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JAMA 100 Years Ago
March 9, 2005

THE ENFORCEMENT OF ANTI-SPITTING LAWS.

Author Affiliations
 

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(10):1275. doi:10.1001/jama.293.10.1275-b

In several parts of the country within the last two or three weeks there has been a salutary revival of the crusade against the spitting nuisance. That there has been need of such a move needs no argument, but its occurrence is good evidence of the educational work that has been done within the last two or three years. Before that time prosecutions for this offense were often thrown out of court and it was practically recognized as one of the rights of the citizen that he might spit when and where he pleased. Now, while the victims of arrest express some indignation, they are nevertheless promptly fined, and the public generally is in accord with the authorities on this subject. Necessarily, the enforcement of the law is likely to be more or less spasmodic, but its necessity will diminish with each raid on the spitters in public places. Many of them are merely thoughtless, and an occasional reminder that it may be unsafe is sufficient to break the habit, even if it is only from reading the police court records in the daily press. Others may be more obstinate, but an occasional arrest or fine will go a long way toward inducing reform in manners and morals. As long as only spitting on the sidewalks and in public conveyances, etc., is attacked, there is no great hardship. If a person needs to spit he can go to the curb and spit in the roadway. Of course, this is not the sanitary ideal, but it is at least a long step in advance toward better things. Let the good work go on.

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