early 19th century
"Smoking can be fatal", we have all noticed that at the latest since the clear evidence of tobacco products. In recent decades, knowledge of the harmful effects of smoking on health has led to a large number of measures, some of which have been enshrined in law, to make it more difficult to start smoking or to minimise smoking addiction: an age limit from 16 years of age, continuous increases in tobacco tax, bans on TV advertising, information campaigns, bans on smoking in public places and much more.
Anyone who thinks that the warnings about the consequences of smoking are only a 20th century phenomenon and are merely related to more extensive medical knowledge is mistaken. After all, smoking utensils with warning accessories were available soon after the introduction of tobacco products into European culture in the middle of the 17th century. Admittedly, however, these warnings cannot be transferred exactly to today's conditions and views on smoking. There was also once a different spirit of the times in Western-style societies, in which a more conscious consideration of life and the end of life was very important. This attention to health and death expectancy was supported by Christian beliefs and aspects of piety and was closely linked to the hope of attaining salvation. This examination of the inevitability of death is very clearly recognizable in the art of the time, and was for example transferred to everyday objects in the genre of the "vanités" (lat. vanitas: transience, vanity, vanity), whose message - more commonly known under the admonishing "Memento mori" (remembrance of death!) - was also applied to everyday objects.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.
Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur
Museum für Sepulkralkultur
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
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