Smoking is considered a very bad and dangerous habit today, yet 70 years ago the American doctors used to recommend their pregnant patients to smoke in order to get rid of constipation. Thus women who had just given birth to babies were not prohibited to smoke in the hospital.
If you think people nowadays do unusual things, you should check out our comparatively recent history. You’ll see that our ancestors used to do even weirder things. But their actions were actually legal.
GIGGAG has a compilation of scary things that were permissible in the past.