Smoking Racket, 1935

Looking at The Universal Book of Hobbies and Handicrafts, it feels like it would be remiss not to have a look at what it says about smoking. After all, it seems like smoking was the Universal Hobby back in the ’30s.

The chapter on “Keeping Fit” is largely in accordance with current thinking apart from pretty high expectations exercise-wise. I daresay there’s a couple of people out there these days not getting the recommended daily amount – “An hour’s hard singles [tennis] is considered by physiologists to represent the minimum amount of daily exercise for the average man.”

But when it comes to smoking, they’re not quite so strict. Smoking “may do no great harm”, although it’s better to “knock off” the fags if you’re an athlete.

Smoking in "Keep Fit", Universal Book of Hobbies and Handicrafts, 1935

Smoking in “Keep Fit”, Universal Book of Hobbies and Handicrafts, 1935

Meanwhile, in The Weekend Book, they’re positively in love with tobacco. It’s a cure-all, the joys of which are detailed in a little poem that was very much removed in later editions of the book:

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