History of Smoking

History of Smoking

From first discovery to mass cultivation, tobacco smoking quickly grew into a global trend. But how did smoking become so popular? Track the origins of tobacco use and see how the leafy plant spread across the globe.

Smoking by the numbers

1 billion

Global Number of cigarette smokers

80,000 to 100,000 kids take up smoking each day!

15 billion cigarettes are sold each day

That's 10 million every minute!

Half of cigarette users will die due to smoking-related illnesses

Tobacco use killed 100 million people in the 20th century

This is expected to increase to 1 billion people in the 21st century

Global Cigarette Consumption (billions of cigarettes)

1880 1

1890 10

1900 10

1910 250

1920 400

1930 700

1940 1,000

1950 1,600

1960 2,100

1970 3,100

1980 4,400

1990 5,400

2000 5,800

2010 6,250

Timeline Of Tobacco

c. 16,000 BCE

Early humans first come into contact with tobacco plants

c. 5,000 BCE

Tobacco is first cultivated

c. 1 CE

Tobacco plants spread across all of the Americas


The Mayans scatter across the continent, spreading smoking with them


Christopher Columbus discovers tobacco

The explorer is presented with dried tobacco leaves as gifts

He throws them away


Explorer Rodrigo de Jerez, while in Cuba, becomes the first European smoker


Fernando Cortez brings tobacco back to Spain


The lower classes in Spain begin smoking an early version of the cigar


Tobacco is first cultivated in Europe

16th Century

Tobacco use spreads across Europe and England

Often used as a currency


Monardes, a Spanish doctor, claimed tobacco could cure 36 different illnesses

Examples: toothache, bad breath, worms, and falling fingernails


England's King James I imposes the first heavy tax on tobacco


During the plague, boys at Eton Public School were forced to smoke a pipe every morning for strength

17th Century

Tobacco becomes a regularly imported good in the UK


A German doctor lins lip cancer with pipe smoking


A US doctor writes extensively on the dangers of smoking


The cigar first reaches the UK

House of Parliament establishes a smoking room


Nicotine is discovered by scientists who claim it is a dangerous poison


The paper-rolled cigarette is invented in Turkey


First US cigarette factory opens

Late 19th Century

Cigarette manufacturing machines first developed

These could produce 200 cigarettes per minute


Children's Act bans tobacco sales to youth under 16


Cigarettes are included in the rations for soldiers in WWI


Tobacco producers begin targeting women

Hollywood stars helped spread tobacco use by women


During WWII, President Roosevelt established tobacco as a protected crop


Cigarette tax increased 43%

Cigarette consumption decreased 14% among British males


Doctors discover the link between smoking and lung cancer


US Surgeon General confirms that smoking causes lung cancer

Advertising tobacco on television and radio is banned

Cigarette manufacturers are now required to place health warnings on cigarette packs


The first bans on smoking in public transportation and cinemas are enacted


National No Smoking Day is launched


Smoking advertisements are banned in the UK

21st Century

A growing number of states and countries ban smoking in public places

More comprehensive awareness and quitting campaigns are launched

History of Smoking

shared by paul.chai on Jun 21, 2013 in Technology

History of Smoking

shared by paul.chai on Jun 21, 2013 in Technology


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The History of Smoking from 16,000 BCE until today, where quit smoking programs were launched. Also learn about the statistics of smoking by the numbers
Category: Technology
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