"It is not necessarily vicious or harmful to soothe excited nerves." This editorial comment explains, even if it condemns while trying to justify, the tobacco habit. To soothe excited nerves by lying to them about their condition and by weakening where we promise to nourish, is vicious and harmful just as other lying and robbery are vicious and harmful. Yet two essential facts in dealing with tobacco evils must be considered: tobacco does soothe excited nerves, and the harm done to the majority of smokers seems to them to be negligible. For these two reasons the tobacco user, unless frightened by effects already visible, refuses to listen to physiological arguments against his amiable self-indulgence. Cheerfully he admits the theoretical possibility that by its method of soothing nerves tobacco kills nerve energy. But in all sincerity he points to men who have found the right stopping point up to which tobacco hurts less perhaps than coffee or tea, candy or lobster, overeating or undersleeping. Therefore the physician, the bishop, the school superintendent, candidly run the necessary risk for the sake of nerve soothing and sociability.

Less harm would be done by tobacco if it were more harmful. Like so many other food poisons, its use in small quantities does not produce the prompt, vivid, unequivocal results that remove all doubt as to the user's injuries and intemperance. As inability to see the physiological effect upon himself encourages the tobacco user to continue smoking or chewing, so failure to identify evil physiological effects upon the smoker encourages the nonuser to begin smoking or chewing. A very few smokers give up the habit because they fear its results, but too often the man who can see the evil results would rather give up almost anything else. The one motive that most frequently stops inveterate smoking—fear—is the least effective motive in dissuading those who have not yet acquired the habit; every young man, unless already suffering from known heart trouble, thinks he will smoke moderately and without harm. Unfortunately, every boy who begins to smoke succeeds in picturing to himself the adult who shows no surface sign of injury from tobacco, rather than some other boy who has been stunted physically, mentally, and morally by cigarettes.

For adult and child, therefore, it behooves us to find some other weapons against tobacco evils in addition to fear of physiological injuries. Among these weapons are:

1. Enforcement of existing laws that make it an offense against society for dealer, parent, or other person to furnish children under sixteen with tobacco in any form; and raising the age limit to twenty-one, or at least to eighteen.

2. Enforcement of restrictions as to place and time when smoking is permitted.

3. Agitation against tobacco as a private and public nuisance.

4. Explanation of commercial advantages of abstinence.

Because the childish body quickly shows the injurious effects of what in adults would be called moderate smoking, the proper physical examination of school children will reveal injuries which in turn will show where and to what extent the cigarette evil exists among the children of a community. Even the scientists who claim that "in some cases tobacco aids digestion," or that "tobacco may be used without bad effects when used moderately by people who are in condition to use it," declare emphatically that tobacco "must not be used in any form by growing children or youths." Prohibitive laws can be rigidly enforced if a small amount of attention is given to organizing the strong public sentiment that exists against demoralizing children by tobacco. Thus children and youths will not need to make a decision regarding their own use of tobacco until after other arguments than physiological fear have been used for many years by parent, teacher, and society.

One effective weapon is the sign on a ferryboat or street car: "No smoking allowed on this side," or "Smoking allowed on three rear seats only." Public halls and vehicles in increasing numbers either prohibit smoking altogether or put smokers to some considerable inconvenience. The trouble involved in going to places where smoking is permitted tends gradually to irritate the nerves beyond the power of tobacco to soothe. Again, many men would rather not soothe their excited nerves after five, than have their nerves excited all day waiting for freedom to smoke. Restrictions as to time or place make possible and expedite still further restrictions. Thus gradually the army of occasional smokers or nonsmokers is being recruited from the army of regular smokers.