No Smoking in Zion: “Cut it out, you fool”

I don’t know where this graphic came from, but it’s reportedly an anti-smoking sign from the town of Zion, Illinois, erected in 1915. The second sentence is classic.

Clearly, it was well known that cigarettes caused cancer and strokes, even back in 1915, despite the tobacco industry’s fight against scientific claims that carried well into the 60’s and 70’s.

Zion, apparently, was founded as a Christian oasis in a country fraught with sin by a Mr. John Alexander Dowie. In addition to regular (and popular) faith healings, he was also known for waging a “Prayer Duel” with self-appointed Muslim prophet, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Ahmad was a complicated figure himself.

It was said that whoever died first during the duel would be exposed as a fraud. Dowie died a year before Ahmad of alcoholism.

About Pete Larson

Researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I do epidemiology, public health, GIS, health disparities and environmental justice. I also do music and weird stuff.

3 responses to “No Smoking in Zion: “Cut it out, you fool””

  1. Ferunando-Sama says :

    Yes pete. But that bet is a complicated one. sice the two died maybe both were frauds?

  2. Pete Larson says :

    I am not going to doubt that both were frauds. However, since the bet was that whoever died first would be the fraud, we can assume that Dowie was likely more fraudulent than Ahmad.

  3. Joe Bott says :

    Photo was posted by via Flickr . DeadFred owns the original. The woman in the photo is holding a cigarette in each hand

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