The most traded product on the planet is the cigarette. People smoke tobacco cigarettes all over the world, and the global cigarette industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, with roughly 15 billion cigarettes bought every single day throughout the world. This translates to roughly 10 million cigarettes being smoked each minute.
But how did smoking become so big and so popular? Continue reading for a short history on the evolution of smoking to get a clearer idea of why this hobby isn’t going anywhere.
Let’s go way back to when humans first discovered fire and how to create it. In 50,000 BC, it all happened, and humans discovered smoke in addition to the fire itself.
By 5,000 BC, humans began using tobacco in medicinal and ritualistic practices throughout the Americas. They continued using fire in order to burn the tobacco and create large clouds of smoke.
Tobacco continued to grow popular throughout the ages and, by 1,000 BC, the Mayans began chewing on tobacco leaves, as well as burning the leaves and inhaling the smoke. In essence, a cultural habit was forming.
Later, in the year 100 AD, Brazilians invented the first cigarette when they rolled tobacco leaves in sheets of paper that could then be lit and smoked very easily.
The year that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he also made it a point to bring tobacco leaves back to Spain in order to give them as a gift to Queen Isabella.
In 1556, the very first Englishman was seen smoking.
Sir Walter Raleigh, who was a famous poet, writer, solider, courtier, politician, aristocrat, explorer, and spy, began popularising tobacco throughout England. He is credited with introducing tobacco and potatoes to the United Kingdom.
Shortly thereafter, in 1588, the first hookah pipe was invented by an Iranian physician. This hookah can also be referred to as a shisha.
In 1606, James the 1st attempted to impose a tax on tobacco at the rate of 4,000%.
The very first tobacco cash crop was sold by John Rolfe in 1612.
In 1634, the patriarch of Moscow decided to place a ban on tobacco smoking.
Despite the ban, smoking tobacco continued to grow in popularity. By 1650, the hobby was so popular that people started using tobacco as a form of money.
By the year 1700, the UK was addicted to smoking tobacco. Roughly 38 million pounds of tobacco were being shipped to this part of the world by popular demand.
Pipe smoking became more popular, as well as the preferred method of smoking tobacco, by the year 1750.
Things were about to change when, in 1826, nicotine (in its true form) was first discovered. This would be added to cigarettes to make them even more addictive.
Machines that were specifically designed for producing tobacco cigarettes were invented in 1850. This made the mass production of cigarettes possible, thereby bringing smoking to the masses like never before.
Women in New York City were banned from smoking tobacco cigarettes in 1908, thanks to a law that was passed that year.
Boris Aivaz changed the tobacco cigarette industry again in 1925, when he invented the filter that’s found on one end of the cigarette.
In the 1950s, scientists in the United States who had begun studying the effects of cigarettes on the human body found that the habit can actually lead to the development of cancer.
As news continued to spread about the harmful effects of smoking, countries started taking action. In the United Kingdom and the United States, for example, any advertisements promoting the use of tobacco were banned.
Health warnings were first seen on packs of cigarettes in 1966. This was to further dissuade people from smoking because it was so dangerous. But people kept smoking nonetheless.
Major airlines created smoking and non-smoking sections for the first time in 1973 in order to accommodate those individuals who did not want to be exposed to second-hand smoke from those who were still using tobacco cigarettes despite all of the information against their use.
Although it didn’t catch on elsewhere right away, 1990 was the first year that a state in the United States took action to make smoking illegal in public places. Vermont became the first state to prohibit smoking indoors.
At a United States Supreme Court hearing in 1998, tobacco companies claimed contributory negligence.
The smoking industry was truly revolutionised in 2006, when the electronic cigarette was created. This device doesn’t contain any of the thousands of harmful chemicals found in regular tobacco cigarettes. E-cigs don’t contain urea, benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia, carbon monoxide, arsenic, or hydrogen cyanide, which are all found in traditional tobacco cigarettes. However, they do contain nicotine.