25 Sep: Thank You For Not Smoking

The world did NOT wake up to the dangers of smoking on September 25th, 1878, despite the efforts of Dr. Charles R. Drysdale, who had a letter published in The Times warning that smoking is a practice “deleterious to health and vitality,” noting that a contemporaneous experiment on dogs had led to “palsy of the hind leg, blindness, deafness, and death.”


But early anti-smoking campaigners like Drysdale were fighting a losing battle anyway because they were up against a formidable enemy: technology itself, which every day was making cigarettes cheaper and cheaper to mass produce.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly look into why Nazi Germany was at the forefront of anti-smoking efforts; explain how Hollywood helped make smoking sexy; and reveal why if any of us did smoke, we would definitely choose Marlboro Lights…  


Further Reading:

• ‘Tobacco and the diseases it produces by Charles R. Drysdale’ (Today in Science History, 2001): https://todayinsci.com/D/Drysdale_Charles/DrysdaleCharles-TobaccoLetter%281878%29.htm 

• ‘Sept. 25, 1878: Yes, Smoking Is a Health Hazard’ (Wired, 2008): https://www.wired.com/2008/09/sept-25-1878-yes-smoking-is-a-health-hazard/ 

• ‘The UK’s first anti-smoking films’ (BFI, 2021):



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