Tobacco smoke enemas were like dialing 911 before the invention of the telephone

Like some merciless scatological phoenix, butt-chugging — or the art of funneling alcohol into one's keister for the express purpose of getting tore up extremely quickly — is back in the news again. But butt-chugging's sister technique, the tobacco enema, has been around for centuries, being foisted upon those who were dancing on the razor's edge between life and death.

Yes, the tobacco smoke enema was an accepted medical practice until the early 1800s, when the medical community realized that blowing poisonous nicotine up the rectum of an unconscious person wasn't the most helpful thing to do in emergency situations. Explains London's Science Museum of the above device:

Tobacco smoke enemas were like dialing 911 before the invention of the telephone

This apparatus was used to revive people who were apparently "dead," by making use of tobacco's stimulant qualities. The bellows were used to blow tobacco smoke up the rectum, or into the lungs through the nose or mouth. Tobacco enemas were popular from the 17th to the early 19th century.

For other historically ill-advised behaviors, see radium suppositories and hot coffee enemas. [Via Boing Boing]