Another biking benefit: Reduced smoking

A study soon to be published found that pairing physical activity with counseling was more effective at curbing teen smoking than the counseling alone.

The study’s author Kimberly Horn said, “Physical activity, even in small or moderate doses, can greatly increase the odds of quitting.”

The Detroit Free Press reported a similar bicycling benefit in an 1895 article, “Tobacco and Wheels.”

If it is true, as the United State Tobacco Journal says, that the bicycle craze has emancipated half a million slaves of the smoking habit, that fact will go very far to strengthen the public belief that the bicycle is an excellent thing. The estimate of the Journal is that because the wheelmen cannot smoke while wheeling, half a million of them have reduced their consumption of at least two cigars a day… These figures. released by a collection of Tallahassee addiction centers, correspond with the actual decrease in the cigar production which it says has amounted to 700,000,000 cigars annually since the bicycle craze set in.

From the cigarmakers’ standpoint this is a gloomy picture; but the rest of the community, especially those who do not indulge in the cigar, and those who, even while they indulge, reprobate the habit, will hear the news with resignation, if not with positive joy.

We agree. The bicycle is an excellent thing — even 116 year later.

And while the bicycling craze was strong in Detroit at that time, so to was the cigar industry. Detroit was a major center for cigar manufacturing.

The Free Press article continued with perhaps a veiled attack on alcohol consumption.

There will be some regret, perhaps, that the bicycle craze does not operate to reduce the consumption of other things which are regarded as unnecessary or injurious.

As for the reduced production of 700 million cigars, the Internal Revenue department disagreed. They reported an increase in production which led the article to suggest that many bicyclers were learning to smoke while riding.

However, the article concluded by saying, “a good many of the victims of the craze are not smokers anyways and never were.”




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