Read CHAPTER VIII - TOBACCO of Child's Health Primer For Primary Classes, free online book, by Jane Andrews, on

A farmer who had been in the habit of planting his fields with corn, wheat, and potatoes, once made up his mind to plant tobacco instead.

Let us see whether he did any good to the world by the change.

The tobacco plants grew up as tall as a little boy or girl, and spread out broad, green leaves.

By and by he pulled the stalks, and dried the leaves. Some of them he pressed into cakes of tobacco; some he rolled into cigars; and some he ground into snuff.

If you ask what tobacco is good for, the best answer will be, to tell you what it will do to a man or boy who uses it, and then let you answer the question for yourselves.

Tobacco contains something called nicotine (nik’o tin). This is a strong poison. One drop of it is enough to kill a dog. In one cigar there is enough, if taken pure, to kill two men.

Even to work upon tobacco, makes people pale and sickly. Once I went into a snuff mill, and the man who had the care of it showed me how the work was done.

The mill stood in a pretty place, beside a little stream which turned the mill-wheel. Tall trees bent over it, and a fresh breeze was blowing through the open windows. Yet the smell of the tobacco was so strong that I had to go to the door many times, for a breath of pure air.

I asked the man if it did not make him sick to work there.

He said: “It made me very sick for the first few weeks. Then I began to get used to it, and now I don’t mind it.”

He was like the boys who try to learn to smoke. It almost always makes them sick at first; but they think it will be manly to keep on. At last, they get used to it.

The sickness is really the way in which the boy’s body is trying to say to him: “There is danger here; you are playing with poison. Let me stop you before great harm is done.”

Perhaps you will say: “I have seen men smoke cigars, even four or five in a day, and it didn’t kill them.”

It did not kill them, because they did not swallow the nicotine. They only drew in a little with the breath. But taking a little poison in this way, day after day, can not be safe, or really helpful to any one.


1. What did the farmer plant instead of corn, wheat, and potatoes?

2. What was done with the tobacco leaves?

3. What is the name of the poison which is in tobacco?

4. How much of it is needed to kill a dog?

5. What harm can the nicotine in one cigar do, if taken pure?

6. Tell the story of the visit to the snuff mill.

7. Why are boys made sick by their first use of tobacco?

8. Why does not smoking a cigar kill a man?

9. What is said about a little poison?