Tobacco have simply worked havoc among mankind. Once caught in its tangle, it is rare to find anyone get out again. The use of tobacco is prevalent all over the world in one form or another. Tolstoy has called it the worst of all intoxicants. This verdict of that great man should command our attention and respect. He had freely indulged in the use of tobacco and alcohol in his early days and was familiar with the harmful effects of both. I must admit, how ever, that in spit of this, I cannot talk about the evils of tobacco with the same authority knowledge as in the case of opium and alcohol. But I can certainly say that I am not aware of a single advantage occurring from the use of tobacco. Smoking is an expensive habit. I know of an Englishman who used to spend five pounds, i.e., seventy-five rupees on tobacco every month. His monthly earning was twenty-five pounds, so that he smoked away one fifth of his monthly income.
Tobacco smokers become callous and careless of others' feeling. Non-smokers generally cannot bear the smell of tobacco smoke, but one often comes across people in railway train and tramways who just go on smoking, heedless of feeling of their neighbors. Smoking causes salivation and most smokers have no hesitation in spitting anywhere.
Tobacco smokers' mouth emit a foul smell. Probably tobacco kills the finer feelings and perhaps it is to this end that men take to smoking. There is no doubt that tobacco is an intoxicant and while under its effects one forgets one's worries and misfortunes. One of Tolstoy's character had to do a ghastly deed. Tolstoy's makes him drink liquor at first. The man was to murder someone. In spite of the effects of liquor, he hesitated to do so. Lost in thought he lights a cigar and begin to smoke. As he watches the smoke curling up he exclaimed, "what a coward I am! When it my duty to commit this murder, why should I hesitate to do so ? Get up, go ahead, and do your job." Thus his wavering mind finally decided to commit it. I know, this argument is not very convincing. All smokers are not bad men. I know that millions of smokers seem to live ordinary straightforward lives. All the same the thoughtful should ponder above quotation. What Tolstoy perhaps means is that smoker keep on committing minor crimes which generally pass unnoticed.
In India people use tobacco for smoking, snuffing and also for chewing. Some believe that snuff produces a benefit effect, and they use it under the advise of vaids and hakims. I think that it is not necessary. A healthy man should never have such requirements.
As for chewing tobacco, it is the dirtiest of all the three ways in which tobacco is used. I have always maintained that its uselessness is a mere figment of the imagination. I have found no reasons to change my opinion. There is a popular saying in Gujrati which says, all the three are equally guilty: the smoker fills his house with smoke, the chewer dirties every corner and the snuffer his clothes.
Tobacco sheers, if they are sensible, keep a spittoon at hand. But the vast majority spit on the floor, in the corners and on the wall unabashed. The smoker fills his house with smoke and runs the rash of it catching fire, and he takes snuff soils his clothes. If there are any who keep handkerchief and thus save their clothes from soiling, they are exception that prove the general rule. Lovers of health, if they are slaves to any of these evil habit, will resolutely get out of the slavery. Several people are addicted to one, two or all the three of these habits.
They do not appear loathsome to them. But if we think over it calmly, there is nothing becoming about blowing of smoke or keeping the mouth stuffed with tobacco and pan practically the whole day long or opening a snuffbox and taking snuff every now and then. All the three are most dirty habits.