Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Nation of Vice

Aug. 31, 1907
Los Angeles

The ugly statistics should dishearten even the most ardent temperance worker. According to federal tax data for the last fiscal year, distillers produced 20 gallons of beer and 1.4 gallons of whiskey for every man, woman and child in America, a 5% increase and 8% increase respectively over 1906.

Cigar, cigarette and snuff production also showed similar increases. “The country being prosperous, cigar smoking grew at an amazing pace,” The Times said. Referring to cigars weighing more than 3 pounds per thousand, The Times said: “The public smoked about a billion and a third more of these cigars in the fiscal year just ended than it did the year before.”

Statistics for cigarettes are even worse: Americans smoked 5,151,862,120 in the last fiscal year. “It is small wonder that the tobacco trust has thrived,” The Times said.

And then there’s the apparently distressing use of oleomargarine instead of butter, 68,988,850 pounds.

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