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March 10, 1934


JAMA. 1934;102(10):771-772. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.02750100037015

Undoubtedly tobacco stands next to alcohol and alcoholic beverages in the list of substances that have at times aroused not only vigorous but even violent debate regarding their proper place in the daily regimen of man. It would be easy to quote both encomiums and condemnations for the widespread habit of smoking. There comes to mind, on the one hand, the oft repeated verse beginning "Hail! Social Pipe—thou foe to care" and, on the other hand, the statement that in the seventeenth century, in Russia, smokers' noses were cut off.1 The qualitative facts about tobacco—and particularly its smoke—are fairly well known. The combustion of the leaf, like that of other plants, produces certain volatile products, which may be drawn into the mouth from a pipe, cigar or cigaret. Tobacco, however, is unusual in yielding measurable quantities of the powerful alkaloid nicotine. This is an important distinction characteristic of tobacco. It

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