Author Topic: Smoking  (Read 43039 times)

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Offline Greenowl

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Re: Smoking
« Reply #75 on: December 30, 2008, 01:09:25 PM »
Smokers who try a chemical free cigarette say it's not the same that there is something missing they don't get the same feeling from it.

I second that! I did try several brands of such cigarettes and found them rather bland. Here in Germany they are also more expensive than "ordinary" cigarettes, "Dunhill" and "American Spirit" being the two most popular brands.

Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Smoking
« Reply #76 on: January 22, 2012, 01:15:58 AM »
Since this issue of the Imperial family smoking comes up in the letters from captivity, we have had to deal with the question too.

Much of what has been written above concerning how different the attitude was towards smoking back then is quite true.
And the dangers to ones health were either not understood or suspected — or simply ignored, because "everyone was doing it".

The Imperial family smoked; it cannot be denied.

While not at all seeking to downplay the fact of their smoking, or excuse it in some way, we would like to share some other aspects of the topic, as we see it.


In general, at that time men smoked in public; women did not. It was considered good manners for the gentlemen to ask the permission of the ladies present before lighting up.
Women were forbidden to smoke openly at Court.

(I can't find the source right now, but there is that famous scene on the riverboat on the Dnieper, when a certain young princess lit up in front of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. A stats-dama [Madame Zizi?]) snatched the cigarette out of her mouth and tossed it overboard, reminding her that one does not smoke in front of Her Majesty. [Although everyone knew that the stats-dama herself smoked in private.])

Tsar Nicholas II:
People have often commented that, to our modern eyes, the sight of someone so devoted to physical fitness smoking seems odd or jarring.

In that regard, we found the following quote quite interesting. Once, when the Tsar offered General V. I. Gurko (1864-1937) a smoke, and Gen. Gurko declined, declaring that he did not smoke, the Tsar said: "Well, I did not want to smoke either, but my father told me that I must smoke, in order not to inhibit others."

(That quote was first printed in Tsarskii Vestnik, in Belgrade, in 1934, after a public talk given by Gen. Gurko himself. It has recently been reprinted in Skorbny Angel, p. 764.)

Setting aside the health and moral issues of smoking, one can understand Tsar Alexander III's point of view. As Tsar, Nicholas would often be found in exclusively male circles where almost everyone else smoked (the military, his ministers, his male relatives, etc.), and for him — as the chief person present — not to smoke would definitely have made everyone else ill at ease. It would have introduced an artificial and strained atmosphere into all his doings. For some, it might also have called into question his masculinity.

The Empress:
Empress Alexandra Feodorovna did smoke "to soothe her overwrought nerves", as Lili Dehn put it (p. 72). However, it was not a matter of mere nervous tension or stress during the war years, but rather, also a case of acute physical pain. Empress Alexandra Feodorovna had been afflicted with painful sciatica from her youth, while in later years she suffered from severe toothache and excruciating trigeminal (i.e., facial) neuralgia.
The Empress’ letters to the Tsar during the war reveal that Dr. S. S. Kostritsky, the court dentist, would often treat her two and three times a day, in between her official audiences, committee meetings, and hospital work. Apparently someone had advised the Empress that an occasional cigarette might alleviate her pains somewhat and permit her to more easily fulfill her official duties. Nevertheless, from other passages in her letters, it is likewise evident that she still had scruples about it, and thus, during the Orthodox Church's periods of fasting, she would abstain for conscience’s sake. In her letters from captivity, the Empress informs A. A. Vyrubova and Lili Dehn that she has quit smoking, even though she has been suffering from toothache and neuralgia for six weeks.

The Imperial children:
As noted above, the Grand Duchesses would have an occasional cigarette, though it does not seem to have been that often or to have developed into much of a habit. Besides the reasons cited above by others, the Imperial children probably smoked for the usual causes that young people do forbidden things: the pleasure of "forbidden fruits"; it signified glamour, maturity, sophistication, etc. Then too, it was something the girls did with their father — always an important motivation for daughters.

We don't see it as morally compromising any of them.
инок Николай

Offline DNAgenie

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Re: Smoking
« Reply #77 on: January 23, 2012, 12:56:43 AM »
Any modern historians who deprecate the earlier practice of smoking are obviously unfamiliar with the social mores and medical understanding of the period.

Modern knowledge about the dangers of smoking has only been recognised in the last 40 years - it is as recent as that. During the Tsar's lifetime, smoking was socially acceptable, and almost mandatory in higher social circles, and this attitude didn't change until well after the Second World War.

Young people these days are well aware of the dangers of smoking, but their parents and grrandparents lived with the practice as a normal part of daily life, and many of them died from it as a result.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Smoking
« Reply #78 on: January 23, 2012, 03:35:47 AM »
'Modern knowledge about the dangers of smoking has only been recognised in the last 40 years - it is as recent as that.'

I think it is a bit longer than that - the link was established in the 1950s, though it only became a big issue in the 1970s, with warnings on cigarette packets and so on. According to my mother, an elderly GP took my father to task for smoking over me when I was in my pram - I was born in 1959, and this GP was ahead of his time!

Ann

Offline DNAgenie

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Re: Smoking
« Reply #79 on: January 23, 2012, 04:16:52 AM »
The link between smoking and death rates was documented in the 1950s, when the first results of scientific studies were published, but it was not finally established and acted upon for another 20 years.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Smoking
« Reply #80 on: January 23, 2012, 05:51:29 AM »
Cigarette advertising on TV was banned in the UK in 1965. Even before that, sportsmen who were serious about their fitness quite frequently did not smoke - classic example is the footballer Sir Stanley Matthews, born in 1915 (his regime certainly worked, as he finally retired from league football at the age of 50!)

Ann

Offline Brassov

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Re: Smoking
« Reply #81 on: January 23, 2012, 06:37:07 AM »
I have a photograph of the Tsar chatting to a member of the suite in the Livadia courtyard and holding his cigarette holder in his left hand. It is L shaped, so that the cigarette is in an upright position when smoked. 

aleksandr pavlovich

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Re: Smoking
« Reply #82 on: January 30, 2012, 06:10:26 AM »
I have a photograph of the Tsar chatting to a member of the suite in the Livadia courtyard and holding his cigarette holder in his left hand. It is L shaped, so that the cigarette is in an upright position when smoked.  
 
  Correct.  I know the photograph and have commented on it before.  It was in the shape of a miniature smoking pipe and he had several made in different materials.  In my collection, I have a Russian silver and cloisonne one (of course there would be a detachable mouthpiece that would absorb the heat from the silver and for hygenic purposes) from the same Imperial era that is shaped like a miniature hunting horn which holds the cigarette at a 45 degree angle.   Regards,  AP.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 06:13:10 AM by aleksandr pavlovich »