History: When asthma patients were told to just keep calm and have a cigarette

Smoking was thought to 'warm up' the lungs

Asthma and smoking seem unlikely bedfellows — in fact, an outright oxymoron by modern standards.

Asthma cigarette ad

But a puff on an ‘asthma cigarette’ would have been just what the Victorian-era doctor ordered for asthmatic adults and children alike.

Although shocking today, the inhalation of smoke as a treatment for asthma and other respiratory conditions featured heavily throughout ancient medicine and persisted well into the 20th century.

The remedy stemmed from the idea that asthma was caused by cold and that heating the lungs would counteract this. 

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