November 3, 1915: Superior teacher speaks out on lifting of Wisconsin cigarette ban

On this day across the bay in 1915, J. H. Andrews, a teacher at Superior’s Webster Elementary School and president of the Superior Teacher’s Association, condemned a new Wisconsin law legalizing and regulating the sale of cigarettes, cigarette papers, and rolling tobacco. Andrews told the Duluth News Tribune that the “evil of the law is that it has made it easier for everyone to get cigarettes” and that while the law was intended to prevent minors from getting cigarettes, “it probably has quadrupled the use of cigarettes by children. He then went on to berate tobacco companies, noting that they spent “several hundred thousand dollars” on an advertising campaign and that “their field of business must be the young boys—even the girls” noting that he “had been told” that “cigarette smoking parties among girls are common.” Andrews claimed to have studied the affects of cigarette smoking on young boys for the previous 28 years, finding that the cigarette habit “slows up his intellectual development and it begins his moral degeneration. This is not a mere surmise, but a demonstrable fact…. It is the school boys of today that fill the penal institutions of 20 years from now…it is the cigarette smoker of today that stands the greatest chance of occupying a cell a score of years from now.” Well, thank goodness those days are long behind us and tobacco companies no longer target children with advertising or flavored tobacco products….

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