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This article examines resuscitation practices in the second half of the eighteenth century, especially the new use of tobacco smoke enema machines on people who had been extracted from water with no signs of life. Drownings accounted for a small number and proportion of urban deaths, yet governments promoted resuscitation techniques at considerable expense in order to prevent such deaths. The visibility of drowning in religious, urban, and civic life encouraged engagement with new approaches. Analyzing the deployment of resuscitation practices illuminates three key features of premodern public health interventions: the focus of governments on the logistics of these interventions, the participation of physicians and surgeons at all levels of the professional hierarchy, and the importance of communication.