Historical Facts about Tobacco

Published on September 3rd, 2012 00:00

Tobacco crop was used for the first time by the people of the pre-Columbian Americas. Native Americans grew this plant and smoked in pipes mostly for medical aims and ceremonies. Christopher Columbus brought tobacco seeds in Europe; however Europeans haven’t enjoyed a true tobacco product until 16th century, when diplomats as France’s Jean Nicot started to advertise smoking. Already in 1556, tobacco reached France, in 1556 Portugal and in 1559 it was introduced in Spain.

The first commercial crop was grown in Virginia in 1612 by Englishman John Rolfe. For more than six years, it was the colony’s main export product. The fast growth of tobacco as a profitable crop has increased the demand slave labor in North America. Initially, tobacco was made mostly for pipe smoking and chewing. Cigars were not popular until the early 1800s. First cigarettes were introduced in row condition and were not preferred by population in the USA until the Civil War, with the launch of “Bright” tobacco, a yellow leaf cultivated in Virginia and North Carolina. Cigarette sales boosted again with the introduction of the “White Burley” tobacco leaf and the creation of cigarette-making machine, sponsored by tobacco baron James Buchanan in 1880.

The hazardous health effects were not initially known, in fact most European doctors considered that the tobacco can be very effective in medicinal purposes. By the early 20th century, when tobacco consumption was spread everywhere, publications addressing the health effects of smoking started to be published in many medical journals. In 1994, the American Cancer Society started to notify about the possible hazardous effects of smoking, although it underlined that there are no evidences of the ling between smoking and cancer.

The tobacco industry reacted quickly and very soon started to advertise filtered cigarettes and low-tar smoking products that guaranteed a healthier smoking process. The public reacted on this introduction and sales were increasing again. The following huge hit to the tobacco industry took place in 1960s with the creation of the Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health, which presented a huge report entitled “Smoking and Health.”
At present tobacco industry faces a completely different legal situation. Within more than three decades, the law has changed drastically. Nowadays, state laws hold cigarette manufacturers more responsible for the effects of their products.

tobacco history

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer.
Copyright © 2012 tobaccopub.net. All rights reserved.

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