ALCOHOL is certainly a poison, but no one drinks alcohol. Alcohol is an abstraction like protein and vitamins. People do not drink alcohol who take wine, beer, spirits, etc. The misuse of alcohol is as undesirable as the misuse of anything else. Many of those who preach abstinence from alcohol through reasons of health ruin their own health by taking enormous quantities of poisonously strong, boiling hot tea, or by eating too much.
Alcohol is germicidal. The Ancients cleaned wounds with wine and spirits. Even now in hospital practice wounds are frequently cleaned with alcohol. Alcohol is not only a good outer germicide in the case of wounds, etc., but is apparently also an excellent internal germicide. In many countries where the water is unwholesome the natives pour wine in the water to destroy the disease germs. The misuse of alcohol is, of course, most undesirable, but wine and beer are wholesome drinks to those who act with discretion.
Tender babies who cannot digest milk, and who vomit a horrid sour-smelling mass, will frequently be able to digest milk easily with a few drops of brandy added to it. The brandy may be a theoretical poison, and it may seem undesirable to give babies brandy, but it has saved the lives of many babies, and of many grown-ups as well. In innumerable cases a little brandy or a glass of champagne has saved patients from imminent death.
Of course, we should only take sound drinks. Raw harsh wines and immature spirits are dangerous. Among alcoholic drinks must be classed cider, which is a true health drink and which is only theoretically intoxicating.
Those who smoke a pipe and those who use holders for their cigarettes and cigars should keep these implements scrupulously clean. They are apt to get clogged with tobacco juice and nicotine. They should be frequently cleaned with a feather or other implement in boiling water and soap.