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Smoking and Tobacco

When and how did smoking start?



When did cigerettes first become invented? Also how did smoking start,was it with the Native Americans?


According to The Times, Guardian, BBC Online, FOREST, Tobacco.org "Tobacco in its original state is native only to the Americas, and began growing in 6000 BC." Please see an excerpt from that website:

1493 AD  Rodrigo de Jerez became the first European smoker in history. One of Christopher Columbus' fellow explorers, he took his first puff of the New World's version of the cigar in Cuba. When he returned home he made the mistake of lighting up in public and was thrown into prison for three years by the Spanish Inquisition - becoming the world's first victim of the anti-smoking lobby!

1000 BC  People start using the leaves of the tobacco plant for smoking and chewing. How and why tobacco was first used in the Americas no one knows. The first users are thought to have been the Mayan civilizations of Central America. Its use was gradually adopted throughout the nations of Central and most of North and South America.

6000 BC  Tobacco starts growing in the Americas. Tobacco in its original state is native only to the Americas.Sources: The Times, Guardian, BBC Online, tobacco.org, FOREST


Another good reference (a comprehensive listing of references) is a "Bibliography on History of Cigarette Smoking" compiled by a University of California, San Francisco student, Jennifer Jo Miller-Smith:

"This bibliography was created for a research project on the history of the cigarette and the development of a working-class niche market. It includes works on the history of tobacco, history of advertising, and other tobacco-related sources in the social studies or humanities fields covering the years 1920 to 2000. Most of the sources listed are of a scholarly nature, generally either monographs or other secondary sources. A few, however, are less conventional web-based sources."


For more information:

Go to the Smoking and Tobacco health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Kathy Vesha, RN, BSN, MA
Kick It!
The James
The Ohio State University