Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tea: The Gateway Drug

In 1757, an English pamphleteer named Jonas Hanway was determined to sound the alarm to his fellow citizens.

At that time, members of the wealthier classes in England were drinking coffee or chocolate. Tea, on the other hand, was the preferred drink of the masses. And in Hanway's opinion, commoners had to be dissuaded from drinking tea -- a beverage that he labeled "a drug."

It seemed to bother Hanway that tea drinkers consumed this beverage "when they are thirsty and when they are not thirsty." In his 1757 pamphlet, Hanway wrote:

"When [tea] is genuine, it hurts man; when adulterated or dyed, it has been found poisonous . . . What a deplorable situation is that poor creature in, who having but three pence or a groat a day, consumes a quarter part or more of her income in the infusion of a drug which is but a remove from poison."

I suppose advertising and "message development" had not yet evolved to the point that Hanway could have suggested this slogan:

This is your brain. This is your brain on tea. Any questions?

No comments: