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Old 03-04-2003, 05:44 PM   #41
Pukel-Man
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1420!

I would think the ill effects of smoking and drinking would not even enter the minds middle-earth inhabitants. After all, there was a much greater chance of being slain by some foul creature than succumbing to the effects of emphysema, or an enlarged liver.
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Old 03-04-2003, 06:15 PM   #42
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Way before the 1930's people knew tobacco use was bad for the health, so that is not an excuse. Even casual research will turn that up. One of the earliest references I found was from tobacco - "1855: "Annual Report of the New York Anti-Tobacco Society for 1855" calls tobacco a "fashionable poison," warns against addiction and claims half of all deaths of smokers between 35 and 50 were caused by smoking." 1855.

Also, I don't know much about the flora/fauna in LotR, but wasn't it true that Tolkien used no plants that were not native to his part of the world? Tobacco is not a native plant, it came from the Americas.

Pukel-Man, that was not the case for the Hobbits of course, and they were the center of smokedom.

[ March 04, 2003: Message edited by: Tar-Palantir ]
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Old 03-07-2003, 09:44 AM   #43
The Squatter of Amon Rūdh
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I've just realised that we've missed another important point. Yes, Tolkien is indeed pictured smoking a pipe, on the back of my copy of The Lord of the Rings to name but one. We know that he was known to partake occasionally, and yet he lived into his eighties. Moderation, enjoyment of life and plenty of fresh air are clearly the key.

Incidentally, I've given up smoking myself since my last visit to this thread. I may not agree that smoking is a bad thing for hobbits, but it certainly wasn't doing me any good.
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Old 03-07-2003, 10:24 AM   #44
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Ah, but did they inhale? [img]smilies/wink.gif[/img]

Hehe. Sorry.

I don't know that there's a lot more to be said on this topic except that it seems a trifle silly. Clearly the inhabitants of Middle Earth are not biologically identical to present-day humans. If we can accept short man-like creatures with furry feet and no facial hair, and men who live to be nearly 200 years old, and wizards, why can't we accept that tobacco has a different (perhaps slower) effect on them?

Did the question of why smoking wasn't having negative effects on the characters really occur to anyone while reading the book? I can't say that I ever wondered about it. I just accepted it as part of the story, just as I accepted that anyone could comfortably live in a hole in the ground, that a golden ring could be thrown in a fire and come out cool, that a man could run for days on end with hardly any rest, and so on.

From a creative writing major-y point of view, the smoking is there because it adds something to the story (the male-bonding etc, as someone else has already mentioned) and the negative effects of the smoking are not because they wouldn't. What purpose would it serve to see Aragorn doubling over on day two of chasing the Uruk-Hai, hacking and laboring to breathe, and swearing he'll never light up again? The story is not about the dangers of substance abuse.

Apologizing for implying a topic was not worthy of discussing and then rambling on about it anyway. [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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Old 03-11-2003, 10:16 PM   #45
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Go the pipe-weed!!! I think of the LOTR characters smoking pipes like you have old, comfortable-ish people sitting down to something enjoyable (to them). How Tolkien describes smoking it's like an art; living may be hazardous to your health but no-one is going to give that up. (ps, this discussion reminds me of an essay-ish thing that J.B. Priestley wrote, he's quite an old author but the essay is pretty damn cool)
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Old 03-11-2003, 10:31 PM   #46
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Even though pipeweed IS tobacco, I wish Cheech and Chong would have done a bit about it! [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
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