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So Who Had The First Smoking Ban?



Hitler's aversion to cigarettes and cigars sprang from his childhood when he was punished for smoking an illicit cigarette while at school, and continued when he was too poor to smoke in Vienna during his unsuccessful struggle to become an artist. In Germany under the Reich, smoking was frowned upon though impossible to ban. In speeches, Hitler described tobacco as 'the wrath of the Red man against the White man for having given them hard liquor'.

Members of the Nazi Women's League pledged not to smoke any tobacco products lest it harm their duty to swell the master race. In a move which foreshadowed California by sixty years, smoking was banned in public places and on transport, while pregnant women were forbidden from smoking as were members of the Luftwaffe - an exception being made for Goering and his cigars. As a result, during the Second World War the regular German soldier received the lowest daily cigarette ration of all the combatants: just six per day. Cigars were usually restricted to the officer classes, and were particularly popular among the SS. British soldiers, surprisingly for a country so addicted to the weed, were allocated just seven, while the Americans were positively profligate, equipping their men with enough packs to provide between fifteen and twenty cigarettes daily. The Russians, meanwhile, preferred to roll their own, using newsprint to enhance the flavor.

Hat Tip: "Churchill's Cigar" - Stephen McGinty


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