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Article
October 28, 1899

SUPERSTITIOUS EXPECTORATION.

JAMA. 1899;XXXIII(18):1110. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450700054018

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Abstract

The spitting nuisance is largely credited in this country to tobacco chewers and to reckless victims of bronchial or pulmonary disease, and is considered simply an objectionable and unsanitary habit. It may be indulged in for other reasons, as is done by cats, for example, but this is not respectable and is dangerous. In Europe, including Great Britain, however, there seems to be a host of superstitions connected with the act, according to the Medical Press and Circular. Thus it says: "In days of antiquity spitting was resorted to in order to ward off dangers, and up to the present time luck is wooed and misfortune avoided by the process of spitting. Newborn children are treated to a lavish expectoration by midwives in certain parts of the country, fishermen spit on their hooks after baiting them, and it is considered to be absolutely essential before washing in the same basin

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