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This section of the website is intended for
and informational purposes of thinking adults. Anyone who
has been raised since the turn of the 20th century already knows that tobacco can be addictive and
lead to various forms of cancer. If
you do not smoke, it would seem illogical to start. We, in no way,
encourage people to use any form of tobacco product.
In his 1954 work entitled, "The Gentle
Art of Smoking", Alfred H. Dunhill was nostalgic for a past when
smoking was an "art" and enjoyed as a pleasurable pastime in
elegant smoking rooms. He remarked
that the "furious tempo of modern life" had resulted in tobacco, in the
form of ubiquitous cigarettes, being used as a narcotic to calm frayed
nerves and becoming a habit and therefore no longer pleasurable. Common
sense dictates that anything you do to your body in excess (a habit) is
A Brief History of Global Tobacco Use
19th Century Tobacco Roller
|Tobacco is native to the Americas.
The methods and purposes for use of the plant were as varied as the
aboriginal cultures that used it. As Europeans began their
exploration and expansion in the 16th and 17th centuries, tobacco
use was rapidly adopted and integrated into their own cultures.
Predominantly, the method that Europeans first encountered was how
its use was popularized in their home countries.
The Spaniards were introduced to
cigars by the natives of the Caribbean Islands and Central America
and they still generally prefer Havanas. The French adopted
snuff and the English, pipe smoking.
colonies, where a great deal of tobacco was cultivated, smoking (or
drinking) of tobacco was done using pipes. The picture to the
right shows a twist of sweet tobacco and the accoutrements necessary to
make fire and smoke. Since it was considerable work to smoke (there
were no matches), smoking was typically limited at times of leisure and
By the beginning of the 1800s and
continuing through much of that century, the majority of Americans who used tobacco,
chewed tobacco. On the frontier, even in areas where tobacco was
not grown as a cash crop, folks grew patches for personal consumption.
Their general form of curing was to adopt an ancient Indian practice of
twisting tobacco leaves tightly together into rope about one foot long
and back-braiding it onto itself into a form commonly referred to as a
twist (see picture above).
Twists fit perfectly into pockets and
pouches were it was easily accessible. Biting off a piece and holding it into the cheek formed a
"chaw". Since this form of tobacco was portable and required no
fire to use, it was rapidly adopted - especially among agrarian workers.
Chewing or smokeless tobacco was safer to use around dry materials like
hay and straw, was a salivant and kept mouths from parching during hard
physical work, offered an instant antiseptic for cuts and scrapes,
allowed both hands to be free for the task at hand, and since it is an
appetite suppressant, made the long period from breakfast to dinner more
As the 19th Century progressed into the
20th, chewing and smoking of pipes and cigars lost favor to the once
looked upon as crude, cigarette. Since cigarettes were convenient
and easy to use, tobacco use became habitual and therefore the issue of
health as we know it today.
"Tobacco and Kentucky", 1975, W.
"The Colonial Merchant: Sources and
Readings", 1966, Stuart Bruchey
"Tidings from the 18th Century",
1993, Beth Gilgun, pgs. 224-229
"The Gentle Art of Smoking",
Alfred H. Dunhill, 1954