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The anti-tobacco reform and the temperance movement in Australia: connections and differences.

The fates of alcohol and tobacco control in the Anglo-American world present an intriguing contrast. As recently as the 1920s, alcohol was excoriated by many, subject to severe controls and even in some countries prohibited, while tobacco use expanded steadily. Since 1950, the linking of tobacco with various forms of lung disease and a host of other maladies has produced an increasingly powerful tobacco restriction movement in Australia, as in some other countries. Meanwhile, prohibition of alcohol is commonly treated as nothing more than a distant memory of how not to deal with a drug problem, and temperance movements have been largely reduced to historical curiosities.(1)

Despite these different fates, anti-alcohol and anti-tobacco movements have had close connections that historians have largely ignored. Since the publication of Brian Harrison's Drink and the Victorians, in 1971, the social history of alcohol and temperance has forged ahead. Yet historians of the drink question have been remarkably reluctant to recognise the place of alcohol within a wider pattern of drug use. The connections of tobacco and alcohol present an outstanding example. Despite the huge publicity surrounding the issue of smoking, far less has been done on the history of tobacco and its opponents than on alcohol and the temperance movement. Nor have historians of temperance given much attention to the links between smoking and drinking, or between temperance and opposition to smoking.(2) Yet at the turn of the century one of the chief sources of anti-tobacco sentiment was the anti-drink crusade. It is time to end the artificial barriers between the history of one stimulant and another, and to make broader comparisons.

From the 1880s to the 1930s, insistent and at times strong voices in Australia spoke out on the subject of tobacco's deleterious effects on both morals and health. Among these voices, temperance reformers were very prominent. Sections of the temperance movement sought, especially between 1890 and 1939, to extend the range of customs and practices denounced to include smoking, particularly cigarette smoking among the young. The temperance campaigns had some success, mostly in the decade before World War One. In the 1920s and 1930s, temperance reformers continued to attack smoking, but shifted their assault to women's smoking and a more generalised attack on what they regarded as excessive cigarette consumption. Already, these reformers used the terminology of addiction. They helped form the first anti-smoking society, in 1933, and some of them then became associated with the Christian Anti-Smoking League in 1936.

Anti-tobacco agitation was, in some ways, a natural extension of temperance work, because common observation showed that smoking and drinking often occurred together, particularly in public houses. The practice in the nineteenth century of flavouring pipe tobacco with rum and other spirits merely provided more evidence of the supposed link between smoking and drinking.(3) Individual temperance sympathisers had raised the tobacco question in Australian history in the 1840s and 1850s. Scottish immigrant James Rennie was the first to do so in a series of lectures delivered in the Sydney School of Arts early in 1840.(4) Rennie had some impact in stimulating a debate on the subject of smoking, in which the anti-smoking forces were closely aligned with the fledging temperance movement. Robert Welch, in writing upon tobacco in The Temperance Advocate and Australasian Commercial and Agricultural Intelligencer, in December 1840, applauded Rennie, denounced tobacco smokers as men `who make their mouths imitate the funnel of a steam engine', and deplored those who `cannot smoke without drinking'.(5) A number of local temperance groups, including the Newcastle Total Abstinence Society, banned smoking in the 1840s, but the agitation faltered in the 1850s, with gold rush decade prosperity and its attendant social disruption.(6) Tobacco smoking increased, alcohol and tobacco imports poured into the eastern colonies, and the first firms marketing imported tobacco in a sophisticated and specialised way became established.

Organised campaigns against smoking first became vocal and widespread with the arrival of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in Australia in 1882. The main WCTU affiliates in Australia were founded after the visit by American Mary Leavitt in 1885, and the first Australasian Triennial Convention was held in 1891.(7) The largest and most important of late nineteenth-century Australian women's organisations, the WCTU agitated against the use of tobacco from the 1890s right through to the 1950s. The organisation peaked at a numerical strength of 10,000 members in the early 1890s, but remained particularly active and influential in the ! 920s; it still had 10,000 members in 1930. The WCTU was concerned not just with drinking, but with a wide variety of social issues. An anti-smoking agitation emerged out of work first undertaken by the parent organisation in the US in the mid- 1880s. While anti-smoking was only one part of the WCTU's overall work, it was persistent over the whole period.

The United States WCTU had a `Department for the Overthrow of the Tobacco Habit' headed by Mary Reese as early as 1885.8 The American Union Signal, the WCTU's national organ, frequently published anti-tobacco tracts in the 1880s and 1890s; and these were available in Australia through subscriptions to that paper.(9) In Australia, independent work was commenced under an Anti-Narcotics Department established by the visiting American temperance worker, Jessie Ackermann in 1891. The WCTU Australasian Triennial Conventions of 1894 and 1897 reported campaigns in South Australia and Victoria and work had also commenced in New South Wales.(10)

The organisation's motto was `agitate, educate, legislate and demonstrate'. With the exception of the latter, the temperance women implemented the WCTU methods of action on the subject of smoking. They agitated the anti-smoking cause through local anti-smoking pledges taken by the branches; sought to educate through items in their annual reports and through the weekly and later monthly White Ribbon Signal (published separately in Victoria and New South Wales until these amalgamated in 1931);(11)and lobbied in each colony and (after 1901) state, for the introduction of anti-smoking legislation beginning in South Australia in the mid- 1890s. With the granting of female suffrage in 1902--a cause with which the WCTU had been identified--the organisation's potential capacity to inflict damage at the polls was enhanced, and this may have played some small part in stimulating the passage of Juvenile Smoking laws in all Australian states between 1903 and 1917.

Because of the widespread taboo upon women's smoking, the WCTU did not face the inhibition of having sections of its membership as smokers. The link between motherhood and the WCTU meant that a focus on the juvenile smoking issue was convincing and likely to get wider support. WCTU activists accepted the common argument of the 1900-1910 period that smoking stunted the growth of the young and opened them to possible criminal associations. Here smoking functioned, like drinking, as a badge of bad character. But by the 1930s, the WCTU explored health questions as well, especially the impact of women's smoking upon their unborn offspring. With slogans such as `Do not Sin against the Child', the organisation stressed `the effect of Smoking and Alcohol on future Generations'(12) and, raising eugenic concerns, asked `What will the effect be on the next generation, when the potential mothers of our race thus weaken themselves in both brain and body'.(13)

Other temperance organisations that attacked smoking frequently targeted children as well. The Independent Order of Good Templars included tobacco in its pledge for juvenile members in Australia,(14) while the Rechabites, another temperance lodge, campaigned for juvenile smoking legislation after 1900. The Band of Hope, a youth temperance organisation, had attacked smoking among the young as early as 1857, and in the 1930s distributed A Health and Temperance Manual in New South Wales schools. The author, Victor Stanton, claimed in 1934 that nicotine was `a habit-forming drug' which `sets up a craving for itself', and which became `very difficult to discontinue'.(15) The Band of Hope was still attacking smoking on moral grounds in the 1950s through a magazine entitled Kullaroo (organ of the Youth Temperance Education Council and Band of Hope Union of New South Wales)(16) and survived long enough into the sixties to take up the health issues of smoking and lung cancer.(17)

The earliest of these campaigns by the WCTU and other temperance organisations attracted the attention of a prominent Melbourne book seller and publisher, Edward Cole. An advocate of many causes, including temperance and universal peace, he was active as a publicist of anti-tobacco views from the late 1870s to his death in 1918. As the author of The Blessing and the Curse of Tobacco and the Substitution of a Healthy Apple-Eating Habit for an Unhealthy Tobacco-smoking Habit, Cole gave both the positive and negative cases, but was decidedly against the tobacco smoking phenomenon. He believed that tobacco use was associated with drinking, and that the craving for both could be combated with a health food diet. `Those who are given to the eating of apples will drink less intoxicating liquors, as apples satisfy the craving of the stomach better than strong drink'.(18) Cole addressed his concerns particularly to the young; his hugely successful Funny Picture Book contained examples of the effects smoking had on health and mental capacity. His `Boy who Smoked' with his sickly features presented a vivid contrast to the healthy picture of a non-smoking boy.(19) Cole also published the works of American antismoking activists and writers. He brought out in 1888 an Australian edition of the American James Parton's Smoking and Drinking. A business partner of Cole's, William Thomas Pyke, wrote a special introduction to Parton's book, stating that: `As an Australian bookseller, I am happy to say that I am in a position to influence the circulation of many thousand copies in our beautiful southern colonies' and `to induce a large number of my fellow Australians to abstain from two silly and useless habits'.(20)

The rise of temperance and anti-smoking campaigns coincided, happily for the temperance reformers, with wider community concern about children's smoking and the arrival in Australia of the cigarette as a major item of consumption. At first, most male adults in the period 1900-1914 continued, as in the nineteenth century, to smoke pipes, and the new manufactured cigarettes were consumed by juvenile males. Locally manufactured and imported cigarettes, with their milder tobaccos, did not have the acrid smoke of pipes that repelled many would-be juvenile smokers, nor the complicated lighting and smoking procedures which required much initiation and practice. Cost and availability were not problems either, since many children could afford to buy cigarettes sold separately in broken packets at comer stores.(21)

New South Wales passed the first Juvenile Smoking legislation in Australia in 1903, prompted in part by legislation enacted in many American states in the 1890s. Andrew Ross, a country doctor in Molong, Scots-Presbyterian and anti-drink campaigner, was the author of the New South Wales legislation.(22) Ross noted that chemists were `debarred, under strict regulations, from selling poisons', while cigarettes were on sale with no restrictions whatever. He drew attention to `the rapid and incipient growth of this most momentous social problem that is far more deleterious to public health than the drink fiend (bad as it is) and one that is continually causing much wrangling, ill-feeling and ardent controversy through the daily press that might be devoted to other and better purposes'.(23) Each Australian state followed the New South Wales lead and passed Juvenile Smoking laws in the next fourteen years.

Western Australia, in 1917, was the last to do so, and it significantly tacked its anti-smoking prohibitions onto a bill prohibiting drinking among juveniles.(24) Drinking was considered by parliamentarians to be the more serious evil in Western Australia in 1916-1917, and this debate was different in tone from those occurring in the other states just a few years before. World War One marked a boundary line in refocussing the attention of the broader temperance movement upon the issue of drink. American prohibition was headline news in Australia between 1913 and 1919, especially in the temperance press, and reformers concentrated their efforts during the war years upon the achievement of some measure of temperance reform. Six o'clock closing, a measure to restrict access to pubs, was the result, achieved in New South Wales and three other of the six states, beginning in 1916.(25) Reformers reasoned that few workers would be able to get drunk after work if pubs closed early, though the campaign for the more extreme measures of local option and total prohibition continued during the 1920s.

Temperance efforts against tobacco weakened during the war years in other ways as well. World War One directed public attention to more pressing anxieties, particularly the conduct of the war itself. Conscription referenda and sectarian divisions involved with conscription dominated Australian society from 1916 until well after the end of the War, but the very fact of war also made the question of juvenile smoking pale into insignificance. The war period was marked by a greater public acceptance of smoking that included drives to get tobacco and cigarettes to the troops on the western front. With death an imminent reality for so many young men, the possible ill-effects of tobacco largely faded from public view.(26)

More fundamentally, the cigarette became more widely used by adults as prewar smokers grew to manhood, and the presence of more and more adult cigarette smokers made it more difficult to mount an anti-smoking movement. After 1919, when the opportunity arose again for temperance reformers to agitate, the situation had changed. Cigarette smoking was now widespread among adults, and this made more difficult the temperance efforts to attack it, because they would now have to attack adult smoking as well as children's smoking.

Nevertheless, sections of the temperance movement, notably the Methodist Church and evangelicals within the Anglican Church returned to the tobacco issue after 1923. The first few years after the war had been dominated by efforts to extend prohibition, but these efforts largely faded in the mid- 1920s as news of widespread violation of prohibition in the United States became common knowledge in Australia. The way was now open for a possible campaign against tobacco.

As in the pre-war period, a temperance reformer led the charge. The targets still included youth smoking, but broadened. The leader of this campaign was Robert Hammond (1870-1946). Hammond had founded a weekly magazine entitled Grit, in 1907, and almost immediately joined in the Juvenile Smoking agitation.(27) For more than forty years, Hammond served as a Church of England clergyman, most of them at St. Barnabas's, Broadway, in Sydney. He was active in the social gospel movement and was one of the best known and most newsworthy clergy in the country. His most enduring legacy was the establishment of the Hammondville settlement for unemployed workers during the great depression, but his other major campaigns involved moral reform. Grit was the official organ of the New South Wales Alliance, a temperance organisation devoted to the introduction of local option and maintenance of early closing legislation. In the early 1920s, Hammond also campaigned vigorously in Grit's columns for the introduction of American-style prohibition, and railed against such other alleged `evils' as gambling.

Hammond denounced smoking on a variety of grounds. He attacked the cost of smoking, dismissed it as a filthy habit, and asserted that it was frequently an accompaniment of immorality. Hammond and his fellow workers in the Grit enterprise saw smoking as a symbol of criminality and corruption. Grit's cartoon images of cigarette and cigar smoking villains, gamblers and bootlegging criminals were vivid, though they drew upon common community stereotypes.(28) `Many of the most pitiable cases of insanity in our asylums are cigarette fiends', proclaimed an early article in Grit on cigarette-smoking. `It creates abnormal appetites ... and, in many an almost irresistible inclination to crime. In fact, the moral depravity which follows the cigarette habit is something frightful'. The article emphasised the `petty thefts and misdemeanours which boys commit in order to satisfy the cigarette mania'.(29) The youth theme remained throughout the inter-war period. In addition to many serious editorials, Grit used humour to attack smoking, and included a column directed towards children where smoking was regularly condemned in the form of jokes and cartoons.(30)

Hammond also attacked smoking as a health hazard. Like American moral reformers from whom he drew a good many of his ideas, he denounced cigarettes as `coffin nails' that left `our lungs clogged'.(31) He publicised medical attacks upon cigarette smoking, and made some acknowledgment of the possible links between cigarette smoking and cancer. A good example of the international literature he used was the important and critical article by British physician J. D. Rolleston on `The Cigarette Habit' that first appeared in the British Journal of Inebriety.(32) Grit included a long section on `The Cigarette Habit and Cancer' directly drawn from Rolleston's account.(33) Tobacco's impact on health disturbed Hammond, but he also linked this physical dimension with the moral problems he associated with smoking. The physical dependence on what he regarded as a habit-forming drug meant that `morals retreat'.(34) In Hammond's view, `since in varying degree tobacco forms a powerful habit and does an appreciable amount of physical harm, it is impossible by the most specious argument to free it from the taint of wrong--since what is physically harmful cannot be morally right'.(35)

Why did Hammond attempt to return to the tobacco issue after the Great War? Consumption of cigarettes was increasing, and Hammond professed to be Staggered by the amount of money Australians were prepared to let go up in smoke. `Fancy this enormous sum of money from smoke--it seems incredible. Tobacco is a hole in the national income pocket, second only to booze'.(36) But especially important was the morepublic appearance of smoking and its shift to a new body of consumers, women. As early as 1923 he joined the WCTU in attacking `Jazz girls who smoke'. Grit demonstrated special concern over the role of women in smoking, particularly after 1930 when the numbers of women smokers in Australia grew.(37) Drawing on a famous remark by Dr Samuel Johnson, Hammond proclaimed that `Women can smoke just like dogs can walk on their hind legs. Neither of them do it well, and there is no reason for their doing it at all'.(38) Hammond's attacks joined misogynist attitudes to his loathing of tobacco. Hammond claimed that women were `the world's greatest problem. Many women seem very determined to prove that they are not what we believed and always hoped they were'. Hammond's anxieties about freer sexuality were plainly revealed when he attacked scantily clad flappers. The woman smokers were the very same women who `wear less and pay more for it than of old and seem to take a devilish delight in inciting men's physical passions by their tricks of undress, and when they succeed they call the man a beast'.(39) Hammond's attacks, then, reflected the clash of the evangelical morality of temperance and moral restraint with aspects of the new consumption-oriented society of the 1920s promoted through advertising and films. In this attempt to control modern culture, he had powerful rhetorical weapons to galvanise the temperance reformers, including the WCTU and the Alliance, against all the alleged evils threatening the prohibition movement in the 1920s.

Hammond became allied with Francis Molesworth who, like Grit's editor, was a low church (evangelical) Anglican.(40) Of Molesworth's work and his publications, Hammond said: `it is not fanatical'. `You may not agree with Mr. Molesworth, but surely you will admire his courage'.(41) A chemist and public analyst, Molesworth was born in England in 1854, and came to South Australia as a young man where he served as Government Chemist. He lived in North Sydney for thirty years prior to his death in 1934. He was first Organising Secretary of the Church of England Men's Society before 1914 and during the first world war took part in the temperance agitation. During this same period he began to push his firm conviction that smoking was both unhealthy and an evil social influence. Molesworth stayed in the 1920s clearly on the tobacco path and avoided joining the drinking cause directly to it, but in his major book on the tobacco `evil', the Downfall of Demos, he reprinted some of Hammond's attacks and called Hammond `the great mender of broken men in that great little paper, Grit'.(42) Molesworth attempted to establish the first Anti-Tobacco Society on the model of the English organisation founded in 1926. He established the Non-Smokers League of Australia in 1933, and this organisation began a campaign, mainly through letters to newspapers, to rid public transport and restaurants of smoking. The League was not, however, a success, and undoubtedly suffered not only from general community apathy and hostility, but also from the loss of its leader just one year later.(43)

Despite Molesworth's death in 1934, and the failure of the Non-Smokers League, Hammond continued the agitation, and he found more durable if still limited support within the Methodist church. Over the remaining years until his retirement in 1942, Hammond gave publicity to the Methodist-inspired Christian Anti-Smoking League formed in 1936.(44) Dr. W. McClelland, President of the League in 1941, told listeners to Christian radio 2CH in 1941 that `the highest efficiency in every realm of life demands total abstinence from all habit-forming drugs'. The society received backing within the Methodist church, and the organisation published antismoking leaflets.(45) The League survived until 1956, and, according to the SunHerald, had issued `gloomy and frightening leaflets for twenty years'.(46) Typical of the arguments used was that of a Methodist who had worked as a Rechabite organiser in the local option campaigns of the 1920s, and condemned tobacco as `insidious', `pernicious' and `narcotic', while another claimed that tobacco `exerts an enslaving grip' on its users.(47)

The outbreak of World War Two further interfered with the attempts by both Hammond and the Christian Anti-Smoking League to start an anti-tobacco crusade. As had occurred from 1914 to 1918, fear of death from warfare vastly exceeded fear of death from tobacco. In Hammond's personal case, age contributed also to the demise of his agitation. He retired from public life in 1942 and died in 1946. Though Grit continued to attack smoking with diminishing ferocity under his successors, the revival of an anti-smoking campaign would have to wait until the medical evidence of links with lung cancer emerged in the 1950s.

Hammond's period of agitation between the wars raised most clearly the complicated nature of the links between temperance and anti-smoking. Partly, Hammond and those like him attacked smoking because they saw it as associated with other `vices', particularly drinking. The WCTU, for example, campaigned throughout the inter-war years against what the organisation called the `alcoholic spirit soaked cigarette'.(48) The WCTU linked the cigarette to the cocktail party, and so managed to condemn both as unwanted expressions of the new morals of the jazz age.(49) Some reformers thought that smoking actually caused intemperance. The Band of Hope believed that `Smoking has often led to drinking',(50) a sentiment echoed by many speakers in the debates over juvenile smoking by many anti-smoking and protemperance politicians in the Australian state parliaments between 1901 and 1910. Said T. A. Johnson, a member of Queensland's Legislative Council in 1905: `Another effect of smoking is that it creates thirst, and that in turn leads to the formation of the drinking habit'. Johnson was particularly concerned about drinking among the young occasioned by smoking. `I am sorry to say that drinking is also greatly on the increase among our youths', he concluded.(51) John Norton, the influential newspaper proprietor, publisher of the prominent tabloid, Truth, and a member of the New South Wales parliament, made a similar connection. `I have directly traced this habit of drinking among juveniles to the vicious habit of smoking', he stated. `We know that those who are habitual smokers become habitual drunkards more readily'.(52)

Temperance reformers brought their distinctive language to this crusade and aided in the conceptualisation of smoking as an addictive behaviour. They sometimes referred to cigarette smoking as an `intoxication'. Edward Cole cited the author of a book entitled The Tobacco Craze who said: `Why is Tobacco so generally used, and why are so few efforts made to save the world from its deadly influence? ... Because of its intoxicating property; the appetite and habit is so strong that the grave must open to make a man throw away his quid or his pipe'.(53) Words like `craving', `slavery', `habit', and `bondage' recurred throughout the temperance indictment of smoking. Grit editor Hammond was a master at this language and he attracted others to write in similar terms in his paper.(54) The metaphor of `craving' drew the temperance movement and anti-smoking together and influenced the way the tobacco question was conceptualised. Temperance encouraged a focus on the question of addiction in relation to the smoking question.

Harry Gene Levine argues that concepts of addiction arose with increasing social concern about self-control in the nineteenth century.(55) The use of the terminology of the `addict' in relation to drink appears to have pre-dated even this extensive deployment of the term,(56) but it was in the 1860s and 1870s that the conceptualisation of the addict within the temperance movement produced institutions in the form of Inebriate Asylums and Hospitals designed to deal with the consequences of the `enslavement'. Mark Lender and James Kirby Martin, in Drinking in America emphasise that supporters of the addiction model `sought to establish addiction treatment and research (both for alcohol and narcotics) as a medical speciality'. A wide range of authors agree with their conclusion that sections of the temperance movement were attracted to the concept of addiction.(57)

Of course temperance was not the only source of such language. Anti-narcotic campaigner Charles B. Towns in the United States compared nicotine's addictive effects to opium and alcohol in 1916, in his Habits that Handicap: The Menace of Opium, Alcohol, and Tobacco, and the Remedy and concluded that `tobacco addiction' was `more dangerous than [the] drug habit or alcoholism'.(58) This work circulated in Australia and was quoted approvingly by anti-tobacco activists.(59) Nevertheless, the temperance movement was a more important conduit for such concepts in Australia, because the anti-drug movement had not developed in the same organised and multifaceted way as it had in the United States.

Though often emotive or sometimes imprecise from a medical point of view, the language of self-control and the loss of will that temperance reformers used--addict, bondage, slavery, narcotic, intoxicating, enthralling, and craving--served the purposes of anti-tobacco activists. They were concerned to impress upon the community just how hard it was to give tobacco up. This argument was based on the direct observation of the dependence of smokers on their habit, but framed in the moralistic language of temperance reform. In `Breaking the Smoking Bondage', Grit editor Robert Hammond argued that `very few smokers ever attempt to give up smoking.... I have lived with a man who gave up smoking, and for several days was unbearable. Then he came in one evening cheerful and pleasant and smelling strongly of smoke... It is a real slavery, a relentless bondage, and a "thing" that enthrals a man'.(60) Some of Hammond's readers, including one ex-smoker, agreed. EHT in `Pity the Smoker' called tobacco `deadly' and a `narcotic' that `fetters the victim in an ironclad habit'. He based this conclusion on personal experience. `It is seven years since I have smoked. And every part of me, from the tendon Achilles to the medulla oblongata, is crying like a Klaxon for a cig'.(61) This was the same language Grit correspondents used to describe alcohol.

The temperance/anti-smoking link illustrated in this shared moral vocabulary must not be exaggerated, however. The temperance reformers and anti-smoking activists surveyed here were mostly Christian evangelicals, and it could be argued that they grouped these two causes together as part of a wider moral campaign to clean society of `evil' and `sin'. The visiting Irish Protestant clergyman William Nicholson raised this issue forcefully in 1926, when he denounced smoking believers as `stinking Christians' and `polecats'. Nicholson harangued audiences in such centres as Lismore, Goulburn, and Sydney. The basis of his message was the evangelical search to root out sin and show evidence of faith through moral conduct. `The worldling and the Worldly Christian were no different', Nicholson insisted, because, `with a Christian smoking, the temple of the Holy Ghost is being defiled'.(62) Nicholson's power of invective, and hence public notoriety, was considerable. Hammond gave Nicholson some support, though both he and Molesworth attempted to distance themselves from Nicholson's more extreme denunciations.(63)

The evangelical connection does not explain everything, however. Many temperance reformers within the churches remained uncommitted to the anti-smoking cause. They simply did not see smoking as a serious evil such as drink undoubtedly was to them. Most temperance reformers who were genuinely hostile to tobacco still regarded alcohol as a far more dangerous substance. This distinction had been made much earlier by opponents of tobacco, but it persisted. In A Letter to the Times republished in Melbourne in 1869, the English authority Sir Benjamin Brodie, physician to Queen Victoria, argued that tobacco and alcohol were not `in an equal degree pernicious and degrading'. Brodie was emphatic on the relative importance of the two `evils': society typically differentiated between the two, even if some highly committed anti-tobacco reformers did not. The public viewed the drunkard as `a noxious animal. He is an outcast from all decent society, while there is no such exclusion for the most assiduous smoker'.(64) Brodie noted that various stimulants including tea, coffee and drugs appeared in all cultures, so that `a disposition so universal may almost be regarded as an instinct; and ... within certain limits the indulgence of the instinct is useful'. But, Brodie concluded, `we must not abuse our instincts'.(65)

The difference for most people was just as Brodie stated it: tobacco served as a social tranquilliser, while alcohol affected public order and brought heavy costs to the community in families on social welfare and men in prison for violent crimes. According to Brodie, `The inveterate tobacco-smoker may be stupid and lazy, and the habit to which he is addicted may gradually tend to shorten his life and deteriorate his offspring, but the dram-drinker is quarrelsome, mischievous, and often criminal'.(66) Husbands bashed their wives, men brawled in pubs, horsemen and carriage drivers killed themselves and others. In the 1920s and 1930s, prohibitionists added motor car accidents to this list.(67) Tobacco seemed to be a lesser evil. Its effects were soothing and relaxing, and was for this reason often regarded as a mild sedative, and could not easily be linked with anti-social behaviour, except in the case of juvenile smoking where the issue of delinquency formed an important part of the anti-tobacco indictment.(68) The critics admitted repeatedly that the ill-effects of tobacco were primarily on the individual concerned and manifest over a much longer time span than in the case of alcohol. Thus tobacco was to the critics a more insidious evil, and one about which it was sometimes difficult to arouse sufficient public concern precisely because the effects were so indirect and long-term. In turn of the century Australia, the responsibility for personal health rested primarily with the individual rather than government, and the economic costs of tobacco in terms of health problems rarely surfaced as a serious issue. When Hammond raised the issue of cost he referred not to health, but only to the worker's tendency to spend money on beer and smokes instead of the housing or clothing of his wife and children.

There were intrinsic differences between the two problems rooted in the nature of the two drugs. Tactical problems inhibited temperance involvement in a serious crusade against tobacco. Hammond found that within the temperance movement many of his supporters resented his attacks on smoking. Some did so because they smoked themselves. Hammond repeatedly pointed to the large number of clergymen and prohibitionists who smoked pipes.(69) However, even non-smoking teetotallers could not be relied upon to campaign against tobacco with the same vigour as against drink. Temperance supporters in the 1920s and 1930s were more concerned with maintaining the strict liquor regulation brought in during World War One. They feared that any agitation against tobacco could undermine their six o' clock closing legislation.

In addition to external scepticism from the general public, Hammond was attacked at times within his own ranks for straying from the central issue of drink. He deliberately muted his opposition to tobacco as a result. `We resent the liquor crowd trying to fasten on to us the responsibility of engineering a crusade against tobacco', he argued in 1923, in reply to criticism. `We confine ourselves to the liquor evil, and number a large number of smokers among our friends'. However, Hammond could not resist adding, `I see no reason why we should shut our eyes to facts'.(70) Because of his deep-seated opposition to tobacco and what he saw as the `facts' of its deleterious influence, Hammond did not immediately stop the attacks in 1923 when asked by his colleagues to do so, and prohibitionists put further pressure on him later the same year. A correspondent to Grit, `One String Jack', berated him for equating the two evils and thus playing `into the hands of the Booze party' by `keeping on with these spinsterish deprecations of smoke'. The correspondent was concerned that the epithet of `wowser' or killjoy would damn the temperance movement to oblivion. Hammond declared the rebuke `well merited' and for several years thereafter subordinated anti-smoking to prohibition agitation and preservation of six o'clock closing.(71) No further references appeared in Grit for three years, and it was not until the 1930s, when the American prohibition movement and the Australian search for an equivalent collapsed, that Hammond returned to the issue of tobacco with ferocity and frequency.(72) Even then, the tactical priorities of moral reformers continued to inhibit anti-smoking efforts. Devout Methodists as well as Anglicans sometimes resented the equation of smoking--by the newly-formed Christian Anti-Smoking League--with serious Christian issues and social problems. G. F. G. Southwell in The Methodist wrote that the attack on smoking was `a childish affair' which would `divert their attentions' from `the real evils of intoxicating liquor and gambling'.(73)

The difficulties Hammond experienced in sustaining his attack on smoking after World War One indicated that many supporters of temperance remained closer to mainstream views on smoking than he did, or than they did on the subject of drinking. Smoking was widely accepted among adult males, provided it was done in moderation,(74) and many temperance supporters were only willing to fight for anti-smoking measures in the areas which commanded broader community concern. Fitting this category was juvenile smoking, and also women's entry into smoking. Here hostility towards smoking could be combined with larger community fears and serve as a symbol for crystallising anxieties about change in gender and age roles and behaviours. Nonetheless, the presence of a number of prominent temperance campaigners as leaders of the anti-tobacco argument tended in the public mind to associate the two, and discredit anti-smoking arguments that were quite soundly based. Hammond's contribution to this identification in the popular press was considerable. He was so well known as a `wowser' that he sought to emphasise the connection and celebrated it.(75)

The puritanical image and the impact of prohibition on crime in the USA after 1919 were employed against the messages of anti-smoking reformers in Australia. Conservatives and moderates did not want prohibition in Australia, and feared Americanisation. The anti-smoking `movement', such as it was, became tarred to some extent with this brush. Articles on prohibition in such literary journals as Triad asked `Is Tobacco Next?' and featured cartoons of the killjoy and his `fanaticism' attacking Sunday motoring, dancing, swearing and minor vices.(76) The Bulletin, too, poked fun at anti-smoking movements, and extended its ultimate insulting epithet to their crusaders, condemning them among the `average Wowser' and `his hypocritical self-righteousness and intolerance'.(77) Toleration of minor vices was something smokers demanded, and they condemned `wowsers', as one Bulletin correspondent put it, for having `queer ideas of respecting other people's liberties'.(78)

Although many temperance reformers distanced themselves from the antismoking broadsides, the association left a legacy for the post-World War Two period. Debate in the Medical Journal of Australia in the 1950s over the health aspects of smoking was cautious, partly because of the association of non-smoking with the wowser image. As the Journal put it in 1950: `fear of the label of "crank" that is readily pinned on any who dare to cast shadows on a popular pleasure' discouraged condemnation of smoking.(79)

In the 1960s, the well-known Australian literary figure Max Harris poured scorn upon the early attacks on tobacco, and by implication tarnished the post-1950s movement as well. He found particularly amusing the antics of Edward Cole's Funny Picture Book with its sanctimonious caricature of smokers and non-smokers. Harris reminisced that: `The Boy who Smoked fascinated me. His chest was all sunk, his heart portrayed as deepest black, he was covered in acne down to his toes, and he seemed to be spitting some interesting blood'. In contrast, `The non-smoking boy, while no doubt a tribute to the American Health Studios in physical development, looked a complete moron. I therefore discovered the pleasures of Coo-ee brand cigarettes at an abnormally early age'.(80) As late as the 1980s, this battle over the image of wowserism were still being fought out. Harris now attacked `anti-smoking nutters' for their stance on passive smoking. He called the anti-smokers' `historical predecessors' the `wowsers' and thus invoked the historical legacy of the temperance movement's involvement in the campaign against tobacco.(81) Attempts to liberate Australia from moral Puritanism formed a large part of the agenda of intellectuals such as Harris in the 1950s and 1960s.

As a collateral effect of the cultural conflicts of the six o'clock closing struggle, the image of the wowser was employed against the anti-smoking cause in Australia. Functionally, the arguments of Harris and others sought to divert some attention from the compelling health indictment. The evidence against tobacco use on health grounds continued to mount in the 1950s and 1960s, but the moral debates generated by temperance reformers were not easily laid to rest.

School of History University of New South Wales


(1) I. Tyrrell, `The US Prohibition "Experiment": Myths, history, and implications', Addiction, vol. 92, no. 11, 1997, pp. 1397-1401; Tyrrell, `Tasks and Achievements in Alcohol and Temperance Historiography' in J. Blocker and C. K. Warsh (eds), The Changing Face of Drink, Toronto, forthcoming.

(2) An interesting exception is found in Peter Pope, `Fish into Wine: The historical anthropology of demand for alcohol in seventeenth-century Newfoundland', Histoire Sociale/Social History, vol. 27, November 1994, pp. 270-76. See also J. C. Burnham, Bad Habits: Drinking, smoking, taking drugs, gambling, sexual misbehavior, and swearing in American history, New York, 1993; R. B. Walker, Under Fire: A history of tobacco smoking in Australia, Melbourne, Vic., 1984. Walker, however, was not an historian of temperance.

(3) For a review of the arguments, see Rev. A. Sims, The Common Use of Tobacco, Uxbridge, Ont., 1894.

(4) Sydney Herald, 21 November 1840, p. 2. See also F. A. Campbell, A Commentary on the Uses and Abuses of Tobacco, in its Effects on the Human Constitution, Sydney, 1850.

(5) The Temperance Advocate and Australasian Commercial and Agricultural Intelligencer, 30 December 1840, p. 1.

(6) On the check to temperance campaigns, see M. Lewis, A Rum State: Alcohol and State Policy in Australia, 1788-1988, Canberra, 1992, p. 8; R. Waterhouse, Private Pleasures, Public Leisure: A history of Australian popular culture since 1788, Melbourne, 1995, pp. 99-100.

(7) I. Tyrrell, Woman's World/Woman's Empire: The Woman's Christian Temperance Union in international perspective, Chapel Hill, 1991.

(8) Minutes of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, at the Twelfth Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, Pa., Brooklyn, N.Y., 1885, p. cxxviii.

(9) See, for example, Union Signal, 23 March 1887, p. 3; 6 February 1890, p. 9; 6 March 1890, p. 7.

(10) WCTU of Australasia, Minutes of the Second Triennial Convention, held in Sydney, New South Wales, Brisbane, 1894, p. 81; WCTU of Australasia, Minutes of the Third Triennial Convention, Brisbane, 1897, pp. 84-85; White Ribbon Signal, 30 November 1909, p. 12; WCTU of South Australia, Minutes of the Annual Convention, 1894-1907, e.g., Minutes, 1907, p. 21.

(11) This journal has been surveyed in its New South Wales version to 1931 and its Australian version till 1946.

(12) White Ribbon Signal, November 1944, p. 144.

(13) `Drugs and Narcotics', White Ribbon Signal, July 1942, p. 88.

(14) Australian Temperance and Good Templar Record, 1 December 1896, p. 14; 1 February 1897, p. 14. On the wider position of the Good Templars on tobacco internationally, see D. M. Fahey, Temperance and Racism: John Bull, Johnny Reb, and Good Templars, Lexington, Ky., 1996, pp. 28, 42.

(15) V. Stanton, A Health and Temperance Manual, 2nd ed., Sydney, 1934, p. 55.

(16) Kullaroo, April 1962, p. 1. Kullaroo was discontinued after the June 1966 issue.

(17) Australian Band of Hope Journal, vol. 2, 1 August 1857, p. 264, vol. 3, 2 January 1857, p. 31.

(18) E. W. Cole, The Blessing and the Curse of Tobacco and the Substitution of a Healthy Apple-Eating Habit for an Unhealthy Tobacco-smoking Habit, Melbourne, c. 1904, p. 64.

(19) Cole's Funny Picture Book, no. 1, 70th ed., n.p., n.d., pp. 202-03.

(20) James Patton, Smoking and Drinking, London and Melbourne, c. 1888, pp. 3, 4. 21 Walker, pp. 38-39; Australasian Tobacco Journal, 30 June 1909, p. 6; Australian Tobacco Journal,

(21) August 1905, p. 4.

(22) Martha Rutledge, `Andrew Ross', Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 6, p. 60; e.g., see `Cigarette smoking', in Newspaper Cuttings of Philip Musket, Mitchell Library; Sydney Morning Herald, 6 April 1899, p. 8.

(23) Andrew Ross, `Smoking and its Dangers', Australasian Pharmaceutical Notes and News, 1 May 1905, p. 19.

(24) Western Australian Hansard, 25 January 1917, p. 1521; Sale of Liquor and Tobacco Act, 1916, 7 George V, No. 1 of 1917, pp. 91-94.

(25) W. Phillips, `"Six O'Clock Swill": The Introduction of Early Closing of Hotel Bars in Australia', Historical Studies, vol. 19, October 1980, pp. 250-66.

(26) The Bulletin, 5 October 1916, p. 15; 29 July 1915, p. 15; 9 March 1916, p. 18; The Lone Hand, 1 July 1918, pp. 386-87.

(27) For Hammond's biographical details, see Joan Mansfield, `Robert Brodribb Stewart Hammond', Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9, pp. 179-80.

(28) `You Can't Spoil Bad Eggs', Grit, 18 October 1934, p. 1; `Unwelcome Visitors--Brought to Us by the Radio', Grit, 14 May 1942, p. 1.

(29) Grit, 29 April 1909, p. 7.

(30) Grit, 2 July 1931, p. 13, 5 February 1931, p. 11; 25 February 1932, p. 6.

(31) Grit, 25 August 1921, p. 8.

(32) See Grit, 22 September 1932, pp. 7, 10.

(33) Grit, 22 September 1932, p. 10; see also White Ribbon Signal, 1 September 1932, p. 164, 1 December 1932, p. 236.

(34) Grit, 17 November 1921, p. 2.

(35) Grit, 16 January 1930, p. 8.

(36) Grit, 18 April 1931, p. 5.

(37) Grit, 18 August 1932, p. 2.

(38) Grit, 21 January 1932, p. 9; see also `Smokes for Women', 7 April 1932, p. 9.

(39) Grit, 1 September 1932, p. 8.

(40) Grit, 26 April 1923, p. 2; 25 February 1932, p. 6; 21 January 1932, p. 9.

(41) Grit, 21 January 1932, p. 9.

(42) F. Molesworth, The Downfall of Demos, Sydney, 1931, p. 65.

(43) Adelaide Advertiser, 3 March 1933.

(44) Grit, 3 June 1937, p. 2; 4 September 1941, p. 11.

(45) Grit, 5 March 1942, p. 5.

(46) Sun Herald, 21 October 1956, p. 29.

(47) The Methodist, 2 April 1938, p. 13.

(48) E.M. Royal, NSW Superintendent for Anti-Narcotics Work, in White Ribbon Signal, 1 April 1931, p. 65.

(49) Grit, 26 April 1923, p. 5.

(50) Band of Hope Chronicle, cited in White Ribbon Signal, 30 May 1909, p. 11.

(51) Queensland Parliamentary Debates, 8 November 1905, p. 1491.

(52) New South Wales Parliamentary Debates, 7 August 1900, p. 1619.

(53) Cole, Blessing, p. 60. A `quid' was a lump of tobacco for chewing.

(54) Grit, 12 August 1937, p. 6.

(55) H.G. Levine, `The Discovery of Addiction', Journal of Studies on Alcohol, vol. 39, 1978, pp. 143-74.

(56) J. Warner, `The Notion of "Addiction": It's Older than you Think', unpublished paper, Alcohol Research Group, Berkeley, 1993.

(57) M. Lender and J. K. Martin, Drinking in America, New York, 1982, pp. 120-21; J. S. Blocker, Jr., American Temperance: Cycles of Reform, Boston, 1989, pp. 6, 72.

(58) C. B. Towns, Habits that Handicap: The menace of opium, alcohol, and tobacco, and the remedy, New York, 1916, p. 173; David Musto, The American Disease, New Haven, 1973, p. 106.

(59) National Magazine of Health, January 1926, p. 25; April 1926, pp. 19-21.

(60) Grit, 17 February 1938, p. 8. See, also, for example, Grit, 19 September 1929, p. 10. `Many a man refuses to face the fact that the only reason he does not give up cigarettes is because he cannot'.

(61) Grit, 12 August 1937, p. 6.

(62) Grit, 8 July 1926, p. 6; 1 July 1926, p. 8.

(63) Grit, 8 July 1926, p. 6; Australasian Pharmaceutical Notes and News, 10 July 1926, p. 252.

(64) James Patton, Does It Pay to Smoke?... to which is added `The Use and Abuse of Tobacco: A Letter to the Times by Sir Benjamin Brodie, Bart', Melbourne, 1869, p. 16.

(65) James Parton, Does It Pay to Smoke?

(66) James Parton, Does It Pay to Smoke?

(67) Grit, 1 July 1937, pp. 4-5; Ian Tyrrell, `Prohibition, American Cultural Expansion, and the New Hegemony in the 1920s: An interpretation', Histoire Sociale/Social History vol. 27, November 1994, p. 440.

(68) `The first effect', said Brodie, `is to sooth and tranquillise the nervous system'. In Patton, Does It Pay to Smoke?, p. 14. As J. Goodman points out, nicotine today is regarded as `biphasic'. `[A] small dose produces a stimulant effect while a large dose acts as a depressant'. Goodman, Tobacco in History: The cultures of dependence, London, 1993, p. 6.

(69) Grit, 8 July 1926, p. 6; `The Bishop and his Pipe', Grit, 6 December 1934, p. 8.

(70) Grit, 6 September 1923, p. 8.

(71) Grit, 11 October 1923, p. 8.

(72) See `The "Antis" in America', Australasian Pharmaceutical Notes and News, 10 August 1925, p. 268, where the Anti-Saloon League opposed the anti-tobacco convention, allegedly because `so many of their [the ASL] members are inveterate smokers and have pecuniary interests in the business'.

(73) The Methodist, 26 March 1938, p. 13.

(74) Walker, p. 58.

(75) Mansfield, pp. 179-80; Grit, 27 November 1930, p. 2.

(76) Triad, 10 June 1919, p. 34; D. M. Findlay, `Prohibition', Triad, 11 December 1922, p. 72. On prohibition and opposition to that in Australia see `Pussyfootism', The Forum, 13 September 1922, p. 15.

(77) The Bulletin, 28 September 1916, p. 11; K. Dunstan, Wowsers, Sydney, 1968, pp. 133-39. 78 The Bulletin, 13 October 1937, p. 39; see also Man Junior, April 1939, p. 22. 79 Medical Journal of Australia, 30 September 1950, p. 523.

(80) The Bulletin, 14 April 1962, pp. 60-61.

(81) Australian, 31 August 1985.
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Author:Tyrrell, Ian
Publication:Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
Date:Jun 1, 1998
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