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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

J.B. Lister of Spokane wrote a letter to the editor complaining about an issue that today we would call “secondhand smoke.”

But in 1912, Lister called it the “ungentlemanly habit” of making “your fellow take your smoke.”

“At different times, I have seen men at table in a high-class grill light a cigar or cigarette and puff the smoke all across the table and make others take it in, or get up and leave,” wrote the indignant Lister.

He had even seen the problem in city council sessions, in which six of the seven councilmen “made things blue with smoke.”

“ … One’s clothing gets percolated with smoke in club and council rooms,” he wrote. “But the most impertinent act is to smoke at a table when others do not, and not even ask the privilege.”

He said it was almost as bad as another “ungentlemanly practice”: the cuss habit.

Lister might have been gratified to know that the smoking-in-restaurants issue was eventually addressed. But he might have cussed when he found out it took almost a century.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1789: George Washington took office as the first president of the United States. … 1803: The U.S. purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for 60 million francs, the equivalent of about $15 million. … 1812: Louisiana (formerly the Territory of Orleans) became the 18th state of the Union.

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