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* SCIENTIFIC TEMPERANCE DEPARTMENT j
Conducted by ROBERT B. PATTON, D. D. v—--——=m —; The development of the life insur ance business has led, both in this country and Europe, to a recognition of the importance of educating the general public in the essentials to health. In Germany, where working men’s insurance has been extensively established, the result has been that the imperial health bureau, allied gov ernment institutions, and the insur ance societies themselves, simply as a matter of good business administra tion, have undertaken an immense amount of education in hygiene. Sev eral of the American life insurance so cieties are doing similar work, issu ing health bulletins and papers to their policy holders. With good health and long life, profitable business is the sequence from the company’s stand point. The policy holder, his family and the general public are the gainers in the maintenance of good health and the prolongation of life. In all this educational work, alcohol as a factor in causing disease, is be ing vigorously combatted. The ex perience of British companies which for many years have kept abstainers and non-abstainers in separate sec tions, has shown incontestably the better health and longer life, on the average, of the abstainer over the even so-called “moderate” drinker. One of these societies lately paid policy-holders in the abstaining sec tion a bonus for five years on $5,000 which exceeded by from $90 to $225 the bonus paid non-abstainers for the same time and amount. Dr. Eugene L. Fisk, medical direct or of the Postal Life Assurance So ciety of New York, in a recent article stated that “in recent years all life insurance companies have discrimin ated against the steady tippler and the periodical free drinker. We know from the collective experience of 33 ilfe insurance societies extending over thirty years that accepted risks giv ing a history of former intemperance show a very high rate of mortality about 36 per cent above the normal average although such risks are al ways critically examined before ac ceptance.” Not Purely Business Issue. This is not purely a business matter but one that concerns public health since it indicates the extent to which a growing drink habit jeopardizes that health. The young man has to con sider that the drink habit may pre vent his getting life insurance protec tion at all. Already in Great Britain the drinker’s insurance costs him more than that of the abstainer, for the lat ter proves the better risk. Insurance statistics show, too, that 0 the death rate among drinkers is heav iest in the prime of life, the years when they are most needed by their families and the community. As a mere matter of dollars and cents it is a wasteful performance for the state to expend several thousands of dol lars in raising a man to maturity and then have him cut off prematurely by preventable disease. For this one facts needs to be repeatedly empha sized, that alcoholism and all the varied bodily weaknesses to which the alcohol habit contributes are absolute ly preventable. No man need have any of that disease. He may contract typhoid or small-pox unawares, but he can absolutely avoid the dis ease due to alcohol. Physicians, state and local boards of health, the legislature, are uniting to check and remove all possible causes of disease so that, as far as the state can do so, the individual may be protected. There are always those who wilfully violate the laws of health, but the state assumes that it is its duty to make such violation as difficult as possible. Hence there are requirements for care of garbage, for removal of other wastes, for ensuring pure milk, water and ice supplies, for proper ventilation of buildings, laws forbidding the sale of impure foods or requiring isolation in the case of infectious diseases, etc. In the light of modern medical science which declares that alcohol is a prolific source, directly or indirect ly, of disease, the public is confronted with a question of public health in deciding upon methods of dealing with the alcohol question. There is really even more need of protection againts alcoholic liquors than against other sources of disease. Practically one of the latter are in tentionally promoted by great busi ness interests as is the use of alcohol. The use of impure food, as experi ence with small-pox or typhoid does not make the victim eager to repeat the “indulgence.” But the alcohol which causes disease tends to create a crav ing of more of itself. The Regular Drinker. George E. Petty, M. D. in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The prolonged and free use of al cohol brings serious impairment of the digestive organs, the appetite is variable or absent altogether unless freshly stimulated by an extra drink and if, at this or any subsequent stage, the victim makes an effort to discontinue drinking, such a state of nervousness arises as to drive him to resume the stimulant. The entire system has by this time become so saturated with toxic matter that a condition of intolerable nervousness arises whenever the system is allowed to get from under the now sedative effects of alcohol, and no matter how acutely conscious the victim may have become of his slavery to alcohol or how heroically he may struggle to throw off the yoke, he finds himself unable to do so by his own efforts. The prolonged free use of alcohol brings on such disorders of the sys tem as to lead the best of men, when in its grasp, to continue to seek relief from these disorders by increasing the quantity of alcohol consumed. Whether that course is imperatively necessary or not, it appears to them as being the one readily available remedy, the panacea for every ill, and it is so used. A majority of habitual users of alco hol in this country belong to this class, and many of them would glad ly quit drinking if they could ever get the poison out of their systems and reach a state in which they could live in comfort without it, but they seem never to be able to do so. They never become entirely sober and their sys tems are never normally free from the products of tissue waste; on the con trary they are in an extremely toxic condition and are comfortable only when the paralyzing effects of alco hol blunts their sensibilities to the irritating effects of this poison.” There is a wide disagreement be tween the doctors and the saloonists as to the physiological effects of al cohol. The liquor vender will tell you that alcohol warms the stomach, aids digestion, cools the brain, warms the body in cold weather and cools it in warm weather, strengthens the mus cles, relieves fatigue, protects against diseases, is a splendid therapeutic agent in wounds—in fact, in his opinion, alcohol is a universal cure-all for all the ills that flesh is heir to. On the other hand, the overwhelm ing majority of up-to-date physicians declare alcohol is a brain poison, a nerve poison, a cell poison, a muscle poison, that it interferes with tissue building, weakens the bodily defences against disease, impairs functional activities, induces growth of degener ative connective tissue, produces fat ty degeneration of heart muscles, irri tation, hyperaemia often attended with hemorrhage, etc., etc. The saloon keeper versus the physicians! Dol lars to doughnuts the doctors are right. Whenever there is an honest pur pose and an honest effort on the part of judge, attorney general,, sheriff, constables and policemen to enforce the law, little trouble is experienced in enforcing the prohibition law.—At lanta Georgian.