Smoking tobacco has had a long and interesting history in our society. As popular as it has been for the last 5 centuries, the product is not without controversy.
First used by the Native Americans, it was quickly snatched up by Spanish colonists (1492) in order to propagate it’s splendor in the European nations. This commodity was soon adopted around the world as a social substance and in some cases as a symbol of class (snuff was used by Charles II and the French court by the 1660s). Manufacturing of tobacco began in Seville, Spain and then later in Virginia, increasing the readily available nature of the product.
Tobacco’s first enemy was found in 1830. The U.S. temperance movement created the first anti-tobacco association along with the Progressive movement’s other encouragements against drugs, alcohol, and other detriments to hygiene. Despite this, tobacco was still very popular and was even encouraged during wartime — cigarettes were included as rations during World War I and II.
It wasn’t until well into the 20th century that the link between smoking and cancer became absolutely clear. With this information, the image of tobacco changed. Larger warnings on cigarette packs were suddenly demanded, smoking was declared a cause of death, and devices like the nicotine patch and e-cigarettes were invented to create less dependence on the product.6