Punch,  51 (1866), 169.

A Physician on Fumigation

Amy Sydenham, MD


Letter, Spoof


Railways, Transport, Narcotics, Pollution, Controversy, Gender, Medical Practitioners, Disease, Morality, Human Development, Animal Behaviour

    Addressing the 'controversy about Smoking on Railways', the writer begins by stressing the need for carriages exclusively for smokers. Explains that she enjoys smoking a cigar (not least for its smell) and that she has to lie to her patients that smoking is a 'good disinfectant for a physician who may have just been visiting a case of small-pox'. However, she resents the prospect of loosing patients who are repelled by a physician who smells of smoke simply through contact with other people's cigars. She also argues for railway carriages in which smokers are excluded and warns that the constant smoking practised by men must affect the brain—especially that part 'whereby the human brain exceeds that of brutes'—and causes such undesirable effects as inducing a 'habitual state of self serenity' and stupefaction of the 'moral affections and intellectual faculties'.

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