Letters in our archive show that it's been at least 400 years since doctors began discussing the harmful effects of smoking, particularly on young people.  One doctor in the early seventeenth century having gone so far as to write proposing that tobacco should be renamed as “Youths-bane”, given its adverse health effects.

The letter, written by Dr Eleazar Duncon, ‘Doctour of Physicke’ and published in 1606 concluded that “(tobacco) is so hurtful and dangerous to youth that it might have the pernicious nature expressed in the name, and that it were as well known by the name of Youths-bane, as by the name of tobacco”. The letter, based upon evidence of the time, formed the detailed opinion of Dr Duncon and was published by his gentleman employer in order to further medical understanding.

Follow our Twitter account @RCPEHeritage or our Facebook page or sign up to our newsletter to get notifications of new blog posts, events, videos and exhibitions.