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The History of Cigarettes and Tobacco

Smoking and pleasure are often words that are associated with each other, being that the cigarette gives the smoker a relaxing, settling pleasure. For the smoker, the cigarette gives their adrenaline the initial kick-start for the day. Or it can be what calms them down during the day.

The popularity of smoking tobacco for pleasure is credited to Sir Walter Raleigh.  Many would follow his lead in the colonial industry and the Spanish would pick up a cigar, the French would dip snuff and the English their pipes, all to enjoy the pleasure that tobacco gave them.

Some will say that the Dark Ages continued as the Colonialism had an impact on slave trade. Today though, it is credited with twisting the perception of globalism. While England would be quick to accept the habit of smoking as a joyful one, it meant that the supply of tobacco would need to be fulfilled, much like their love of tea. As such, England would get their teams from China or India and from America, their tobacco.

In 1613, the first person to successful cultivate Nicotiana tobacco was John Rolfe, who would then ship it over to the United Kingdom. As tobacco’s popularity spread through American and Europe, it made its way to Africa and other parts of the world.  The Japanese would take to tobacco quickly and silver pipes were given to the Samurai knights to smoke while their incense trays would become what we call the ashtray.

In Spain, there was dramatic changes with smoking practices. As we mentioned here before, hand-rolled cigars were a favorite among the Spanish. Their tobacco industry would thrive on their love, and that love for others around the world, for the rolled-up tobacco product. As the demand for this productbe came high, so did the prices.

As a result, the poor single women would take to creating smaller versions of the then cigar and create the first cigarette. Before long, the French would change the name the Spanish had given this product from ‘cigarito’ to ‘cigarette’ ad begin manufacturing them by 1830.

Modern Times

Later, seeing the need to mass produce this product, a patent would be issued to James Bonsack and his machine that produced 200 cigarettes per minute.  This machine would eliminate the need to pay workers to roll the tobacco, making them more uniformed.

Manufacturing wasn’t the only change in tobacco’s history around this time though.  Adding to the history of smoking tobacco in America, advertising would come into play. And from there, with advertising doing what it was meant to do, cigarettes became even more popular and the demand increase and the conveyor system was added to the machine that rolled the cigarettes for mass production.

Women would take up smoking, seeing it as a sign of ‘torches of freedom’ that empowered the social roles that were bestowed upon them. But as with any “good” thing, there must be some dark cloud brought to light with smoking too, and thus lung cancer was correlated with smoking by doctors.

Prior to that though, they had already linked tobacco smoking with lip cancer, and by the 20’s when the first reports from studies would begin to appear, a war of sorts would begin between advertising tobacco and the world of medical science.

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