Nov 20, 2014
By: Ginny A. Roth, Curator of Prints & Photographs, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine (NLM)
For nearly 42 million Americans, smoking is a hard habit to break. The American Cancer Society (ACS) calls tobacco use the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet for most smokers, quitting seems an unattainable goal. The public areas in which individuals are permitted to smoke are dwindling, and so it is hard to conceive of a time when smoking was allowed in such places as public transportation. This 19th century illustration was featured in Good Health: A Journal Of Hygiene, a magazine created by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his wife Ella, which promoted vegetarianism and abstinence from alcohol and narcotics. The image is an interior view of a trolley or train car featuring a man smoking and subsequently causing considerable discomfort among the other passengers, particularly for two women and a young boy who are complaining about the smell. Now, well over 100 years later, this is still a familiar scene to anyone who has been in the proximity of a smoker.