Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29

Chapter IV. — Effect on the Intellectual Powers

page 19

Chapter IV.

Effect on the Intellectual Powers.

31.—From the influence of tobacco on the brain and nervous system, we may be prepared to find that it is injurious to mental power. It weakens the memory in a very marked manner. Instances are on record of persons whose memory had almost entirely failed, and who had it restored simply by abstinence from tobacco.

32.—The idea that smoking is helpful to wholesome and vigorous thought is one of the emptiest of delusions. It only proves the humiliating bondage to which the smoker has reduced himself. It is a libel on the Creator and of the intellectual powers of man, to suppose that habitual doses of narcotic poison can be required for the performance of the legitimate functions of the brain. Everyone who knows what real study and honest application are, knows that the plea is nothing better than a pitiful self-deception.

33.—The effect of smoking on mental capacity was strikingly illustrated by the observations of M. Bertillon on the pupils of the Polytechnic School in Paris. Of 160 pupils in 1855, he found that 102 were smokers, and 58 were not. From their positions in the examinations, the following result was obtained:—
Smokers. Non-smokers.
Of the 20 who stood highest there were 6 14
Next highest 10 10
Next highest 11 9
Next highest 14 6
Next highest 13 7
Next highest 15 5
Next highest 16 4
Next highest 17 3
102 58

34.—The lowest forms were thus seen to be composed mainly of smokers. As the grade rose, however, the non-smokers steadily ousted them until in the highest form only thirty per cent, of the successful students were found to be smokers. M. Bertillon also discovered that the mean rank of smokers, as compared with the non-smokers, deteriorated from their entering to their leaving school. The impression made on the French Government by these and kindred results of their investigation is seen in the fact that in 1861 the Minister of Public. Instruction in Paris issued a circular addressed to the directors of the colleges and schools throughout the empire, forbidding the use of tobacco and cigars to students; giving as a reason, that "the physical as well as the intellectual development of many youths has been checked by the immoderate use of tobacco."