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Old 12-10-2009, 06:57 AM   #41
William Cloud Hicklin
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William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Mind you, lung cancer was a great medical rarity until the widespread smoking of cigarettes arose ca. WWI.

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a repulsive and immoral means of slowly killing yourself while making everyone in the close proximity suffer horribly too
Not opinionated, are we?
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Old 12-10-2009, 07:14 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by skip spence View Post
Tolkien, as an avid pipe-smoker, thought of the habit as a pleasurable pastime, not as a repulsive and immoral means of slowly killing yourself while making everyone in the close proximity suffer horribly too. Apparently and not coincidently Hobbits did likewise.

.
Of course he wouldn't think like that - the evidence about the links to smoking and cancer were only starting to emerge in the fifties when the books were out and it wasn't until the late sixties that television advertising was banned in the UK. By which time he may have felt it too late to worry. When Tolkien was a young man tobacco was advertised as having health benefits!

Many many people did smoke in those days so it wasn't really antisocial. I seem to recall that one of the benefits of the Tolkien's house in Branksome was it's veranda where they would smoke companionably of an evening.

My mother gave up smoking around the time Tolkien died and although she happened to be pregnant at the time her reasons were financial rather than medical.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:23 AM   #43
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Not opinionated, are we?

Well, on a side note, I've always been intrigued by how the smell of tobacco can be so terribly offensive to some people. I mean, heavy indoor smoking is one thing, but nowadays a mere whiff of tobacco smoke seem to be able to provoke the most astonishing reactions, as if that certain odour violates our most basic human rights, or as if deadly cysts would instantaneously start to popping up on people all around that horrible smoker.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:23 PM   #44
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To the point that many places are banning smoking outdoors!

But I digress...
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Old 12-10-2009, 01:20 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip spence View Post

Well, on a side note, I've always been intrigued by how the smell of tobacco can be so terribly offensive to some people. I mean, heavy indoor smoking is one thing, but nowadays a mere whiff of tobacco smoke seem to be able to provoke the most astonishing reactions, as if that certain odour violates our most basic human rights, or as if deadly cysts would instantaneously start to popping up on people all around that horrible smoker.
I do not think it is the odor that some find offensive, but the idea that others are freely and needlessly polluting the air that we all have to breathe.

There are laws against public nudity, but there is no actual danger to a person who sees even the ugliest naked body. It is thoroughly socially unacceptable to pass gas where others will be forced to inhale it, yet, again, doing so would cause no actual harm to anyone. Cursing where all around you are forced to hear it is very inconsiderate, and is even a misdemeanor in some places, if I am not mistaken.

I enjoy the smell of nearly all tobacco products, personally, and I tend to share your attitude about the danger of casually inhaling second-hand smoke. The fact, however, is that it is inconsiderate of others to pollute their bodies against their will, and is more offensive than those things I mentioned above because of the actual damage that is caused, negligible or otherwise. Most importantly, children must be considered. The dangers of second-hand smoke appear to be real, inasmuch as one can trust the studies that have been conducted. Surely you do not condone forcing even the risk of these negative effects on children.
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:18 PM   #46
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When I first saw this thread, the first thing I imagined were hobbits like Lotho Sackville-Baggins forming a "Health and Safety" (or "Elfin-Safety") Commission to dictate to the other hobbits how they should behave.

That, of course, would lead to other forms of control, in other areas of behavior, over which the Lothos of the world would love to have jurisdiction. Kind of like now. And, like today, we'd see places like the Shire turn into nanny states.
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Old 12-12-2009, 06:16 AM   #47
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Surely you do not condone forcing even the risk of these negative effects on children.
"Think of the children!", exclaims the moralistic Helen Lovejoy.

I actually think the concept that all risks should be minimized at the cost of personal liberty is one of the most frightening ideas to come out of modern civilisation.

I'm quite sure Tolkien would've agreed with that too, as Andsigil implied.

Now as I said, heavy smoking in poorly ventilated indoor areas is one thing - the detrimental health-effects of tobacco smoke is well documented, whether is is inhaled first or second hand, and unwilling people shouldn't be forced to breath in excessive amounts of it, no. But it has gone way beyond that now, hasn't it? A few stray molecules of incensed tobacco isn't a reasonable danger to anyone's health, children or no.
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:59 AM   #48
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A few stray molecules of incensed tobacco isn't a reasonable danger to anyone's health, children or no.
I've heard that they will soon ban smoking under the Party Tree as the smoke is harmful to the tree.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:20 PM   #49
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Pipe

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Originally Posted by skip spence View Post
Now as I said, heavy smoking in poorly ventilated indoor areas is one thing - the detrimental health-effects of tobacco smoke is well documented, whether is is inhaled first or second hand, and unwilling people shouldn't be forced to breath in excessive amounts of it, no. But it has gone way beyond that now, hasn't it?
Indeed. Smoking is banned in so-called "public resturants and bars" that are actually privately owned businesses frequented by people who go there voluntarily.

I hate cigarette smoke and I've always avoided restaurants and pubs where I could smell cigarette smoke. The new laws making smoking illegal in those places is a convenience for me, sure (at least until those places go out of business), but I support the right of privately owned businesses to choose to allow smoking or not.

I do support laws banning smoking in publicly owned buildings (like government offices), public transportation (e.g., city busses), and government-regulated interstate carriers (e.g., airplanes).

I think the chemical they put in cigarettes to keep them from going out when not being actively puffed is what causes the smell that makes me hate cigarette smoke so. I don't particularly mind pipe and cigar smoke, although I do not smoke pipes and cigars myself.
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:40 PM   #50
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Selfish Selfism.

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I actually think the concept that all risks should be minimized at the cost of personal liberty is one of the most frightening ideas to come out of modern civilisation.
I think a far more frightening concept is that which champions personal liberty at the expense of cooperation and compromise. The idea that the individual's will should be subject to no external limitations can lead only to the ultimate destruction of civilization, as it is anathema to that very definition. Unless you mean to be selective about the application of this sanctification of personal choice, you are not merely ridding yourself of criticism (which I surmise is the motive in the first place), you are granting impunity to the sociopaths and perverts who also walk among us with equal rights.

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Now as I said, heavy smoking in poorly ventilated indoor areas is one thing - the detrimental health-effects of tobacco smoke is well documented, whether is is inhaled first or second hand, and unwilling people shouldn't be forced to breath in excessive amounts of it, no. But it has gone way beyond that now, hasn't it? A few stray molecules of incensed tobacco isn't a reasonable danger to anyone's health, children or no.
How, exactly, is this two different things? Why do you get to be the one to draw the line? Why do you decide what is an "excessive" amount, and what another should accept as perfectly harmless? For someone who has made the choice not to smoke, any amount can reasonably be called "excessive," and here we might make an appeal to your god, Personal Liberty. Maybe I believe that a little unwanted touching should be dismissed as harmless, so it is within my personal rights to pinch asses as long as I am not crossing some arbitrary line of excess that I have imagined. Attractive ladies should recognize that no actual harm was done, and they should certainly recognize that if they seek recourse through the mechanisms established by government, it is my personal liberty that they are attacking. I agree, it is certainly "frightening" that someone would be willing to sacrifice my rights on the altar of "comfort" and "propriety!"

You are simply favoring one person's personal liberty (yours) over that of another--over that of many others, in fact. Unless you believe that these laws preventing smoking were passed unilaterally.
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Old 12-13-2009, 07:26 AM   #51
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While this is a very interesting discussion I fear that I'll be cut short by our dear modess as the Tolkien tie-in is hard to maintain. But, very briefly, I've never claimed personal liberty should be absolute when it also concerns others. Just where to draw the line is, however, not so easy. It is not a black and white issue. As with drug laws, driving laws, gun laws etc etc we need to strike a balance between separate interests.
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Why do you get to be the one to draw the line?
Unfortunately I don't. But I reserve the right to express my opinion that the line, in this instance and many similar ones, has been drawn, well, too tight. And no, I'm not a smoker.
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:25 AM   #52
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I dunno, I rather feel that the original question of whether or not Hobbits get lung cancer is about the same as the question of whether or not the inhabitants of Middle-earth of all species ever feel the need to go to the bathroom (so to speak). Of course they do, but we never see it, because it's not really relevant to the story. One could take up the position of a friend's old Sunday school teacher, though: when she was a little kid, my friend drew a picture in Sunday school of Mary changing Baby Jesus' diapers (no anatomical correctness to quibble about, she was just a kid and had the drawing skills thereof ) and was taken to task by the teacher, who found it not innocent but offensive. Apparently it was the teacher's belief that Jesus didn't do such base human things as piddle in his nappies, a trait which she also felt carried on into adulthood. I might have thought my friend was kidding if I hadn't heard this same line of thought from other people in my own church when I was a kid.

Some Hobbits probably did get lung cancer; it's the world marred by Melkor, after all, and disease is not unknown among the mortals. Hobbit toughness may be greater than our own, and they may have been less prone to cancers of all kinds, but in the end, the evil Melkor wrought in the world by infusing his power into it would affect them. Like humans of our own past centuries, the Hobbits may have thought it was "consumption" (which was really tuberculosis, if I recall correctly, but acted as a catch-all phrase for diseases of the lungs that slowly killed the victim). I shall have to take a look in the letters to see if Tolkien had any opinion about this. He might've.
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:36 AM   #53
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could take up the position of a friend's old Sunday school teacher, though: when she was a little kid, my friend drew a picture in Sunday school of Mary changing Baby Jesus' diapers (no anatomical correctness to quibble about, she was just a kid and had the drawing skills thereof ) and was taken to task by the teacher, who found it not innocent but offensive.
There's a similar story referred to in Michael Ende's The Neverending Story , I believe.
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:49 AM   #54
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That's something interesting to have a though on. It is like Fordo and Co. did not have much to do to when they were at home so they were said to be using tobacco now when they were up to some work they were totally involved. Hobbit's toughness would be greater than that of ours but that would not mean that even excessive smoking would do them no harm. Excessive of anything is harmful.
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Old 12-25-2009, 07:53 AM   #55
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Talking in all seriousness, the additional substances they put in cigarettes are considered to be a factor that is believed to cause cancer. I would think that smoking pipe would cause less detrimental effects (which I concluded from my knowledge that pipe smokers do not put additional tar or nicotine into the leaves they are smoking).

On another note, The Lord of the Rings was published in the 1950's, while the belief that smoking cigarettes was harmful only became known in the 1960's.
The direct linkage of smoking and cancer has not been proven. They [scientists] had concluded such notion from trend they see on the graphs and the prevalence of lung cancer in smoking patients. It was not scientifically proven. If I were a writer who lived in the 1950's, I would not want a non-scientifically proven theory to be put into my novel.

[Oh, Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to you all ]

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Old 12-27-2009, 09:36 PM   #56
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So the smoke itself was not what causes cancer? I know that there are many other harmful chemicals that are put into cigarettes, but my initial concern was because of the smoke (being the silly 13 year old I was). If the smoke does not have ridiculous amounts of harm, then the damage to a hobbit's body would not be significant?
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:24 PM   #57
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So the smoke itself was not what causes cancer? I know that there are many other harmful chemicals that are put into cigarettes, but my initial concern was because of the smoke (being the silly 13 year old I was). If the smoke does not have ridiculous amounts of harm, then the damage to a hobbit's body would not be significant?
I'm not a smoker, and never have been, but I was under the impression that the main hazard from smoking is thought to be the tar content of the smoke. At any rate, since the implication is that the herb Nicotiana is analagous to our tobacco, and the physiologies of Men and Hobbits are very close to ours, any potential dangers ought to be the same.
Then, I have to wonder if the Dwarves were susceptible to the disease Black Lung, which afflicts those who work in mines. Dwarves were smokers too, so they should have been dropping like flies. That is, unless they, like Elves, were invulnerable to illness. But that's another topic.
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Old 12-28-2009, 11:32 AM   #58
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Then, I have to wonder if the Dwarves were susceptible to the disease Black Lung, which afflicts those who work in mines. Dwarves were smokers too, so they should have been dropping like flies. That is, unless they, like Elves, were invulnerable to illness. But that's another topic.
Do you mean Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?

Anyway, since AulŰ designed the Dwarves to be craftspeople, it's not unlikely that made them more resistant to such illnesses. Then again, since there were no Men at the time, AulŰ might not have seen or even known what disease was (I don't think that even the animals were around at the time, and they probably didn't interest AulŰ that much anyway, and we know what thought about trees...)

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Old 01-08-2010, 03:31 PM   #59
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Pipe Pure tobacco

modern cigarettes contain so much other disgusting material. is it the tobacco itself that causes the cancer or is the extra fun mix-ins that do the job?

i'm sure tobacco smoke is anything but healthful, but it can't be -as- bad as modern commercial cigarettes.
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:59 AM   #60
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It had also occured to me that the Hobbits smoked their pipeweed in pipes. They weren't smoking modern processed cigarettes.

As well as considering the health risks associated with smoking - we should also ask about the Hobbits' eating habits. They all seem to eat far too much. Do Hobbits get Heart Disease?

While we're at it; the Hobbits don't seem to have have flush toilets or other sewage disposal systems. Do Hobbits tend to die in large numbers from infectious diseases like Typhus, Cholera etc? At least they seem to bathe regularly...

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Old 01-09-2010, 02:24 PM   #61
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do hobbits get hookworm from running around barefoot all the time :P
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:57 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by PrinceOfTheHalflings View Post
It had also occured to me that the Hobbits smoked their pipeweed in pipes. They weren't smoking modern processed cigarettes.

As well as considering the health risks associated with smoking - we should also ask about the Hobbits' eating habits. They all seem to eat far too much. Do Hobbits get Heart Disease?

While we're at it; the Hobbits don't seem to have have flush toilets or other sewage disposal systems. Do Hobbits tend to die in large numbers from infectious diseases like Typhus, Cholera etc? At least they seem to bathe regularly...
-

Smoking:
It's a myth that many dangerous chemicals are added to modern cigarettes. There are more than enough products of burning natural tobacco to account for all the health problems.
Hobbits may have avoided some of the problems of smoking because of the ammount they smoked. We know that Bilbo had a habit of smoking a pipe after breakfast, outdoors if the weather was fine, and another in the evening if he guests like Gandalf to share his tobacco with. If that was all he smoked, the risk to his health would be small.
During the walk from Bagend to Buckland, Sam comments, "An apple fpr walking and a pipe for sitting." Hobbits, it seems, didn't smoke while they were working; more evidence to suggest they smoked far less than the equivalent of twenty cigarettes a day.

Eating:
Tolkien said that Hobbits enjoyed extra meals when they could get them.
I think that in a pre-mechanised agricultural society, when they could get them would not be very often. A poor harvest could mean starvation. A bad year when Bilbo was a child caused very many deaths.

Diseases:
Hobbits were subject to infectious diseases. They were almost wiped out by a plague soon after they has settled in The Shire.

.

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