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tobacco, smoke, smoking, excessive, alcohol and throat


TINCTURES.—By this term is understood certain preparations in which the medicinal substances are dissolved in alcohol by means of maceration or percolation. The latter process, which is by far the more common, takes place as follows : In the neck of the percolator (a cylindrical or conical glass funnel of varying size) is inserted a tuft of cotton, over which is spread a clean layer of sand or gravel. The drug to be percolated is more or less finely powdered, whereupon it is uniformly moistened with alcohol, and firmly packed in the percolator. On top of the drug is placed a disc of filtering paper, whereupon the menstruum is gradually poured on top of this. The alcohol slowly filters through the closely-packed drug, absorbing its active principles, and percolating into a covered receptacle drop by drop. The pharmacopoeia directs the strength of the various tinctures, as well as variations in the manner of their preparation.

TOBACCO.—When compared with alcohol, tobacco may be called a harmless agent ; but, if used foolishly or in excessive amounts, it may have bad effects upon the general health. Yet, even in the severest cases, tobacco is injurious only to the consumer. It rarely means the destruction of entire families.

Smoked in moderation, tobacco has a slightly stimulating effect. In addition to nicotine, which acts as a strong poison on muscular tissue (including that of the heart), tobacco contains other elements which probably are the chief cause of certain gastric disorders affecting excessive smokers. A portion of the smoke adheres to the saliva and mucus in the mouth, together with which it enters the stomach, where it causes irritation. The habit of swallowing smoke is therefore doubly foolish. In the same way, exhaling smoke through the nose may cause catarrh of the throat. The use of snuff not only affects the throat, but also the stomach, as a great part of the snuff is swallowed. Chewing tobacco is also objectionable, for, like

smoke, it seriously affects the mucous membrane of the mouth. It is least injurious to smoke a mild cigar after a full meal.

Excessive smoking causes a rapid and irritable heart-action, catarrh of the nose and throat, and much tremor and nervousness ; it may even cause serious heart-muscle deterioration. The chief disadvantage in cigarette smoking is due to the habit of inhaling the smoke.

TOBACCO-POISONING.—Acute poisoning from tobacco may occur in people who are just beginning to smoke, or it may be due to the excessive smoking of habitués. It may arise also in consequence of chewing tobacco leaves, or of the foolish use of tobacco-juice as an internal remedy for tape worm and diphtheria, or as an external application for the itch or other skin eruptions.

A chronic type of poisoning frequently develops in consequence of exces sive habitual smoking and chewing. It is characterised by nervous symptoms, such as neuralgic pains, headache, moodiness, unrefreshing sleep or sleepless ness, fainting spells, fear, difficult respiration and heart-action, slow and irregular pulse, fatigue, trembling, stomach-ache, colic, irregular bowel movements, loss in weight, and disturbances of vision. The last symptom may be more or less severe, the sense of sight being in some cases only slightly impaired, in others almost totally lost.

The only remedy for tobacco-poisoning consists in total abstinence from tobacco. When this is done, the symptoms usually disappear in a very short time. After a cure has been effected, tobacco should be used in moderation, and only if the physician permits it. A physician should always be consulted in cases of tobacco-poisoning, as some of the symptoms, particularly those pertaining to the heart and to the eyes, are serious and threatening.