History of Tobacco
While who exactly was the first to smoke tobacco has been lost to history
Jordan Goodman, in his book Tobacco in History, theorizes that tobacco was first cultivated thousands of years ago in the Americas, around the regions of Mexico and Brazil.
People grew this plant for medicinal and ceremonial purposes and possibly mixed it with other plants to create a hallucinogenic drug.
However, evidences indicate that these people did not use or smoke the plant regularly as a common habit.
Another likely explanation lies with the practices of herbalists within South American tribes. These people knew their plants, as otherwise, the mushrooms or unidentified berries would have killed them off long ago.
Chances are, these people grown tobacco, sniffed it and realized that how good it would be if they set fire to it, as well.
Use of Tobacco for medicinal & ritual purpose
Although in present Tobacco is responsible for many health issues, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases, but earlier this plant was used for medicinal, as well as ritual purposes.
Earlier, throughout South and North America, tobacco was used consumed in many ways: it was chewed, sniffed, smoked, eaten, juiced, smeared over bodies, and used in eye drops and enemas.
It was used for medicinal plant as a remedy for many ailments, consumed by both men and women, and also used to create a mystical connection to the spiritual world.
The purifying smoke of tobacco was blown over fields before planting, over women prior to sex, blown into warriors’ faces before battle, it was offered to gods as well as accepted as their gift.
The current scenario
But cigarettes have become dangerous than ever due to the tactics adopted by tobacco companies over the last 50 years.
In a research it found that today’s smokers have a much higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than in 1964 – despite smoking fewer cigarettes.
The increased nicotine levels, ventilated filters, bronchodilators, ammonia compounds, Tabaco-specific Nitrosamines, Levulinic acid, menthol, sugar and Acetaldehyde have contributed towards increased consumption and addiction for cigarettes.
The use of these substances is the leading cause of preventable illness and death as increased use of cigarettes cause many different cancers as well as chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis, heart disease, pregnancy-related problems, and many other serious health problems.
Tobacco smoke which was believed to carry blessings, protection and most of all purification, has now transformed into one of the most dangerous drugs, killing more than 7 million people each year.
Around 6 million deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 8, 90,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.