Blowing Smoke Up Someone’s Arse‡

Maybe I’m just having a bad day but after several government meetings, the term “Blowing smoke up someone’s ass” has been used way too much.  Just to set the record straight, this was not always a simple figure of speech indicating someone was being an insincere flatterer. Tobacco smoke enemas became a mainstream medical practice in the 1700s, treating many common ailments such as headaches, respiratory illnesses, and the resuscitation of drowning victims. The practice was thought to provide two essential elements: warming the person’s body and stimulating respiration

That the military is so enamored with this phrase is not small accident.  William Hawes introduced the practice to smoke enemas as a means of resuscitation in Pennsylvania in 1774. The practice was so well accepted by the medical establishment of the day that enema kits were found alongside waterways, similar to the availability of today’s defibrillator.   The kits comprised of a tube, a fumigator, and bellows. The tube connected to the fumigator and bellows while the other end of the tube was inserted into the victim. Compressed smoke was then forced into the rectum.

Tobacco glyster, breathe and bleed.
Keep warm and rub till you succeed.
And spare no pains for what you do;
May one day be repaid to you.

Today, these kits are mainly located in stately government buildings and used by rank officers and politicians, not on those needing to be revived but rather on those we revile….

Before you ask why this post, unlike all the others doesn’t have a splash image, just think and count to ten.., 😊

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

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