earnestly urged smokers not to abuse the kindly weed, upheld its medicinal uses, and suggested that physicians were trying to keep smoking a secret among themselves. The reason was, he said, that a moderate use of the pipe was of such value in preserving health that it was likely to make physicians unnecessary!-- from Early Literature of TOBACCO by George Arents
1604: "A Counterblaste to Tobacco"
"Smoking is a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless." -- James I of England, "A Counterblaste to Tobacco."
In his treatise, James also noted that autopsies found smokers' "inward parts" were "infected with an oily kind of soot." James also said if he ever had the Devil to dinner, he'd offer him a pipe.
With regards to second-hand smoke, James said, " "The wife must either take up smoking or resolve to live in a perpetual stinking torment."
On the other hand, James' was the first government to find taxes on tobacco to be enormously profitable. Trying to stamp out smoking, he first increased taxes on tobacco 4,000%, from 2 pence/pound to six shillings, 8 pence/pound. That stopped people from buying tobacco, but dried up the funds that had been coming into the Treasury. James then slashed taxes down to 2 shillings/pound and watched the money pour in. Other governments were quick to learn the same lesson.
From George Arents:
In 1604, there was published [in England], anonymously, the most famous of all tracts opposing the social use of tobacco, A Counterblaste to Tobacco, by King James.
The king reiterated his contempt for those who daily used a drug for pleasure, scorned the acceptance of a habit adopted from unbaptized barbarians [Indians in the Americas], bewailed the cost of what he called this "precious stink," and repeated some of the tales of hoor then used to frighten smokers. Among other things, he reminded his readers that some great tobacco- takers were found, upon dissection, to have lungs and brains covered by fine, black soot, obviously the result of smoking!
I should like to make a brief digression here to point out that, as James' subjects didn't accept his advice, he promptly raised the tobacco duty by four thousand percent. But within two years he found it profitable to reduce the duty and lease of monopoly of that tax. Thus he received a large income from the sale of the very thing he professed most to despise.
As a result of the high duty placed upon tobacco (a duty which was continually advanced during James' and Charles I's reign), a state arose similar to our own, during prohibition days. The common phrases and conditions of that era are also applicable to the tobacco trade in London then; the commodity was "free of duty"; sold by smugglers as "right off the ship"; the dandies knew where the best stuff was to be secretly had; domestic tobacco was doctored to give it the semblance of "Spanish," and the wide advertising smoking received, because of the campaign against it, induced many men and women, who had never smoked before, to take up the custom.