This section is from the book "The Hygienic System: Fasting And Sun Bathing", by Herbert M. Shelton. Also available from Amazon: The Hygienic System Vol III Fasting and Sun Bathing.
Let us look at tobacco next. Nicotinism, like alcoholism, is a chronic illness that is more or less willfully, although largely ignorantly cultivated. Young people usually begin the use of tobacco because it is "being done." It is the "proper thing." They must be in style, they must conform to the approved usages of the society in which they live and of which they are a part. Being in Rome, they must "do as the Romans do." Poor purblind fools! They know not what chains they are forging for themselves.
All that has been previously said about the use of alcohol, opium, etc., as a means of securing "relief" from uneasiness and distress, applies with full force to the use of tobacco. To chew or snuff, to smoke a pipe, cigar or cigarette, is to "relieve" distress--the distress of profound enervation. It is to re-narcotize the outraged nerves of the user of tobacco, to again cover up or hide from consciousness the true condition of the slave of Lady Nicotine.
Many tobacco-slaves try repeatedly to discontinue the use of the poison, but fail to succeed. They return to the poison-vice rather than endure the irritableness, grouchiness, "nervousness," and uneasiness that the prior use of tobacco has induced. They lack the determination to "tough it out," until the nerves have repaired themselves; they lack the will power to carry through; they are unwilling to bear the suffering, but return again and again to the fictional "relief" offered by another dose of their accustomed poison.
To such as these fasting is a God-send. It makes discontinuing the tobacco-vice easy, almost pleasant. Indeed, in but a few days the very taste of the weed becomes obnoxious. It is no uncommon complaint of the old smoker, after a thorough overhauling, that he cannot get a cigar of the right brand, or that he cannot find a cigarette that he likes. The difficulty is not, however, as he thinks, in the tobacco, but in his improved nervous system, and in the regenerated membranes of his mouth and nose. I have seen heavy smokers, who smoked half a life-time, after a fast, become so "sensitive" to the obnoxious fumes of tobacco that the odor of a cigar wafted to their nostrils from a block away was objectionable to them.