TO A JUVENILE SMOKER.
Vanity Fair (UK), August 18, 1904
My excellent child,
I know you are wild,
Mr. Rigg’s kindly efforts of course you’ve reviled:
But consider, before your annoyance you vent, all
The good you will gain, both of body and mental.
Hitherto you have been,
Thanks to fell nicotine,
—You’ll pardon me?—undersized, scraggy, and lean;
A thing calculated to pain and surprise, or,
To put it more crisply, a regular eyesore.
But now, thanks to Rigg,
You’ll grow hardy and big;
You won’t get bald early and take to a wig.
Your muscles will cease to be softer than putty,
When you drop your cheroots and abandon your cutty.
Cease, therefore, to fret
For your cheap cigarette;
It’s idle to hanker for what you can’t get:
Till years of discretion the weed you must lack. A
Cane chair, by the way, smokes not unlike tobacca.
“It may tend to smooth the outraged feelings of boy and girl smokers to know that the Bill which has been introduced into the House of Commons for the suppression of juvenile smoking has been brought in by Mr. Rigg, who is one of the youngest of our legislators. So many authorities are agreed on the harm which nicotine does to the juvenile constitution that there can no longer be any dispute as to the desirability of preventing smoking among the young. Another provision of Mr. Rigg’s Bill prohibits smoking by persons under 16 years of age. This promises lively work for the police. Constables chasing small boys who, as they run, puff hastily at their cigarettes will add to the gaiety of our streets.” (Northampton Mercury, August 12, 1904)
— John Dawson