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Causes, Smoking: Tobacco history

Description:
This section reviews the history of the tobacco plant Nicotiana rustica which grows wild in the Americas.
Transcript:
Tobacco history The tobacco plant Nicotiana rustica grows wild in the Americas. Its leaves were smoked, chewed, and brewed in teas by many Indian tribes. Tobacco smoking was used primarily in rituals, since it was believed that words and thoughts ascended to the Creator on the smoke. Hence, smoking the “peace pipe” was an oath to speak the truth in the presence of the Creator. Columbus and other early explorers of the new world first observed tobacco smoking among Native Americans in the late 15th century. Sailors helped to popularize tobacco use in Spain and Portugal early in the 16th century. High-quality Nicotiana tobaccum was first planted in the Jamestown colony in 1613. Tobacco rapidly became a major cash crop in the colonies, especially in the South. Tobacco was broadly introduced to Europe by Jean Nicot, for whom the genus Nicotiana is named. While ambassador to Portugal, in 1560 he sent tobacco to his queen, Catherine de Medici, as a remedy for her migraine headaches. Tobacco then gained the reputation as a wonder cure for everything from rabies to asthma – and even as a preventative of the plague. Queen Elizabeth’s royal explorer and dandy Sir Walter Raleigh popularized tobacco smoking for pleasure in the late 1600s. During the 18th and 19th centuries, cigars, pipes, chew, and snuff were the major tobacco products. Cigarettes came to Britain with soldiers returning in 1856 from the Crimean War, where their French and Turkish allies had taught them to hand roll tobacco in thin papers. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers were the first to receive a tobacco ration. Cigarettes were first mass-produced in the U.S. in the 1880s by James Buchanan (“Buck”) Duke, of Durham, North Carolina. Duke also pioneered advertising when he began to package cigarettes with collectible trading cards. By the first decade of the 20th century, Duke had amassed 150 companies under the banner of the American Tobacco Company. This set the stage for the rapid acceleration of cigarette smoking in the U.S.
Keywords:
american tobacco company, civil war confederate soldiers, sir walter raleigh, civil war confederate, genus nicotiana, migraine headaches, tobacco plant, tobacco history, tobacco smoking
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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