Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tobacco smoke enema

From "20 Scary Old Surgical Tools."
Tobacco Smoke Enema (1750s-1810s)
The tobacco enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient's rectum for various medical purposes, primarily the resuscitation of drowning victims. A rectal tube inserted into the anus was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke towards the rectum. The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase "blow smoke up one's ass."


This one is actually much less scary than any of the others, but maybe the weirdest. I'm skeptical about that really being the origin of the phrase, as those things are so prone to people making up fanciful stories about them.

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