"Prohibition is won, now for tobacco," proclaimed the great anti-saloon preacher Billy Sunday in 1919. Within months of the war in Europe coming to an end, the US federal government passed the 18th Amendment and the sale and consumption of alcohol was banned across the nation. The temperance dream was now a reality and, for those who had spent years campaigning for it, prohibition was just the first step towards the moral regeneration of the country. The next step was to stamp out tobacco. In 1919, Frederich W. Roman published a book with the ominous title Nicotine Next and its author confirmed smokers' fears in an interview with the New York Tribune, saying: "We have been holding back our agitation during the war for patriotic reasons, but now that the war is over we intend to push it vigorously." 'Nicotine Next' was soon adopted by the WCTU as their pithy, post-war slogan and Clarence True Wilson, leader of the Anti-Saloon League, urged anti-tobacconists to "strike while the iron is hot."The above is taken from Velvet Glove Iron Fist which, if you haven't read it already, you definitely should (click here to buy).
The passage illustrates that, as many of us are astutely aware, the fortunes of tobacco and alcohol are inextricably linked. Sadly, there are a large number of beer afficionados (yes, I'm looking at you, CAMRA) who seem ignorant of the lessons of history, believing instead that drinking is somehow an entirely different case to smoking.
This might wake them up a bit.
Cigs war won: Now cancer campaigners set their sights on beerNote how the headline is uncannily similar to the declaration made by Billy Sunday nearly a century ago.
HEALTH activists who believe even one alcoholic drink can cause cancer are lobbying MPs in Canberra today for limits on how much we consume and how much we pay for it.
If they're successful in branding alcohol a carcinogen it could lead to tough restrictions similar to those applied to tobacco, including warnings on labels and laws requiring plain packaging.
The Cancer Council of Australia argues even one drink is dangerous, a view similar to its position that even one cigarette can injure health.
“There is no evidence that there is a safe threshold of alcohol consumption for avoiding cancer, or that cancer risk varies between the type of alcohol beverage consumed,"
Because the people who wish to demonise alcohol and tobacco today are exactly of the same mindset as those evangelical loons of yore. Just as Carrie Nation (alcohol) and Lucy Page Gaston (tobacco) fought together on both fronts, so do their current day incarnations.
The arguments employed in both areas are the same too, as are the people involved. Take Vivienne Nathanson, for example.
She said: "By not banning smoking in public places, the Government is putting the health of vast numbers of the population at risk and is also placing a huge burden on the NHS."And ...
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, said: "We have to start de-normalising alcohol - it is not like other types of food and drink."I'll keep saying it - we're not talking of two issues here, there is only one. Those drinkers (and their associations) who were happy to let tobacco fall only hastened the onset of their own woes. Some of us did try to warn them, but there were just too many fingers in too many ears.
The only difference between now and a century ago is the order in which freedoms are being attacked. "Nicotine Next" as a rallying call has simply been replaced with "Alcohol Next".