"Dhrugs," says Dock O'Leary, "are a little iv a pizen that a little more iv wud kill ye. Ye can't stop people fr'm takin' dhrugs, an' ye might as well give thim somethin' that will look important enough to be inthrojuced to their important and fatal cold in th' head. If ye don't, they'll leap f'r th' patent medicines. Mind ye, I haven't got annything to say agin' patent medicines. If a man wud rather take them thin dhrink at a bar or go down to Hop Lung's f'r a long dhraw, he's within his rights. Manny a man have I known who was a victim iv th' tortures iv a cigareet cough who is now livin' comfortable an' happy as an opeem fiend be takin' Dr. Wheezo's Consumption Cure." The Dock says th' more he practices medicine th' more he becomes a janitor with a knowledge iv cookin'. He says if people wud on'y call him in befure they got sick he'd abolish ivry disease in th' ward except old age and pollyticks.
Thus Mr. Dooley with his usual wit and insight tells the American people why they spend over two hundred million dollars annually on patent medicines. Americans consume more drugs and use more patent medicines than the people of any other country on the civilized globe. Self-medication has grown to tremendous proportions. Everywhere—in cars, on transfers, on billboards, in magazines, in newspapers, in the mails—are advertised medicines to cure disease and devices to promote health. When we consider that electric cars contain from thirty-two to fifty-two advertisements each, three fourths of which are directly or indirectly concerned with health; when we multiply these by the number of cars actually in use in American cities; when we consider the number of advertisements in magazines and daily papers, and the enormous circulation of these papers and magazines; when we consider that an increasingly large proportion of advertising space is devoted to health,—we begin to realize the cumulative power for good or for evil that health advertisements must have.
To illustrate advertisements devoted to health to-day, I have kept clippings for one week of news items, editorials, and advertisements in a penny and a three-cent paper, and had them classified according to the subjects treated:
|Penny Paper||Three-Cent Paper|
|News Item||Editorial||Advertisement||News Item||Editorial||Advertisement|
The following list of health topics was treated in the advertisements, editorials, and articles of a popular monthly periodical devoted to women:
|Soaps and powders||—||—||5|
|Food and cooking||1||—||14|
|Teaching sex laws||1||2||—|