Tobacco addiction

Tobacco addiction

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Title: Tobacco addiction or the cult of the cigar.

Creation date : 1842

Date shown: 1842

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Lithograph, paper Caricarture of the day n ° 44 Publisher: Bauger & Cie Printer: Aubert

Storage location: MuCEM website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - F. Raux website

Picture reference: 09-569426 / 60.147.112C

Tobacco addiction or the cult of the cigar.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - F. Raux

Publication date: July 2012

Professor of contemporary history IUFM and Claude Bernard Lyon University 1.Head of University for all, Jean Monnet University, Saint-Etienne.

Historical context

The bourgeoisie is in power

The France of Louis-Philippe Ier bored, according to Lamartine. Is that why she starts smoking? In any case, Parisian consumption, on an individual average, men, women and children included, has already reached the kilo per year, or the equivalent of 1,000 cigarettes. So much so that we can speak for the first time of "tobacco addiction": this word, which came from medical language as an example of madness, then entered the dictionary to designate the behavior of great tobacco lovers.

The ruling bourgeois class (Louis-Philippe is called a “bourgeois king”) has made the cigar the emblem of its domination. The use of hot tobacco is thus spreading in new social strata: in pipes, cigars (chopped tobacco "coated" in a leaf), and soon in cigarettes (chopped tobacco wrapped in paper). Queen Marie-Amélie and her followers sold - and at the same time praised - the first industrial cigarettes at a charity gala in 1843.

The period included particularly talented cartoonists (Daumier, Gavarni, Bertall, Cham, Grandville, etc.) who expressed themselves in the many illustrated newspapers (The caricature, The Charivari, The Fun Journal…). After 1835, they went from political satire to comedy of manners, in order to circumvent censorship while denouncing the regime's “flaws”. The practice of smoking is at the heart of the denunciation.

Image Analysis

A smoke education

The drawing represents a petty bourgeois family - a couple and their eight children. Reference to the royal family perhaps, since Marie-Amélie gave eight children to her royal husband.

In truth paterfamilias, the man sits a little outside of the family circle and draws on his beautiful long-stemmed pipe, far removed from the bouffards and other "fireplaces" of the people. He dreams of being a National Guard officer and smoking cigars. In any case, that’s the image that appears in the cloud of smoke that escapes from his mouth. The national guard (law of March 22, 1831) aims to maintain order and defend the territory. It constitutes a real police force, at the same time as a means of social advancement. Standing in the midst of her large family, the mother holds the swaddled newborn in her arms. The couple's eight children, of course, smoke. The distinction of ages, while waiting for that of classes, is essential. A note in the appendix to the drawing correctly notes that "children over seven years old smoke whole pipes!" ". In fact, boys have pipes with scalable pipes according to their age. Older girls as well as younger children, including infants, shoot "cigarettes". The word then designates a small cigar. Originally called a "cigaret" intended for young people or the "weaker" sex, it was renamed "cigarette" by "lionesses" like George Sand in order to equal men. As the industrial cigarette did not yet exist in 1842, it is "hand-sewn", made from tobacco rolled directly in paper by the user.


Even if it is in an outrageous way, cartoonists say the company. Under the July Monarchy, they began with fierce political charges (the pear of Charles Philipon). The infernal machine of Fieschi having put an end to the freedom of the press, they reconverted in the social one. We can no longer excite political opinion with a biting irony, the caricature has become bourgeois and ... smoky. The portrait-charges are adorned with a harmless pipe or a cigar to put in every mouth. Writers, artists, street and shop people are caught in a snapshot of smoke. Social criticism hides behind a rather opaque veil. Class differences are certainly enduringly signified in even the most banal acts and attitudes, such as smoking, but the revolutionary is no longer the sans-culotte on fire. Criticism fizzles, and tobacco is seen as an instrument of social harmony.

  • tobacco
  • family
  • July Monarchy
  • Guizot (Francois)


ALLARD, Paul, “Satire des mœurs et critique sociale dans la caricature française de 1835 à 1848”, in P. Régnier (ed.), La caricature entre République et Censure, Lyon, Presses Universitaires (PUL), 1996, p.171 -181.CACERES, Bénigno, Si le tabac m'être conté…, Paris, La Découverte, 1988.NOURRISSON, Didier, Social history of tobacco, Paris, Éditions Christian, 2000.NOURRISSON, Didier, Cigarette.Histoire d'une tease , Paris, Payot, 2010.

To cite this article

Didier NOURRISSON, "Tobacco addiction"

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