In this episode, we talk about the history of smoking.
  • The origin of tobacco can be traced back to 6000 BC, in the American continent. It was considered medicinal and used as a painkiller.
  • Smoking cannabis can be traced back to 2000 BC, India. It is also mentioned in Atharvaveda.
  • Cannabis smoking in the middle east was common, especially Hookah. Even women took part in it privately.
  • Christopher Columbus played a big part in getting it to the European continent
  • 1531 - first tobacco cultivation in Europe.
  • By 1600, tobacco became an integral part of the society as a good section started smoking.
  • In 1560, Jean Nicot took tobacco with him to Spain from France
  • In 1571, a Spanish doctor named Nicolas Monardes, apparently “found out” tobacco could cure 36 health problems (what a joke!)
  • In 1588, Thomas Harriet, a Virginian, said that smoking gives the daily dose of tobacco. Not surprisingly, he died of nose cancer.
  • English King James I was one of the first to speak against smoking
  • Tobacco used as an exchange during these time. The barter system did rely on tobacco.
  • Africa was introduced to tobacco by Arab traders in the 13th century, It was popularised by French merchants in 1600 by bringing tobacco to Senegal & Gambia.
  • The 17th century saw Japanese use a device called Kiseru. It was a long-stemmed device.
  • In 1760, Pierre Lorillard set up the Lorillard Tobacco Company in NYC. it is the oldest tobacco company in the US.
  • Nicotine was discovered in 1826 and found to be harmful to humans.
  • 1836, Samuel Green mentioned that tobacco is an insecticide, a poison which can kill.
  • Chinese got into the habit of smoking opium due to colonialism. The British got them addicted to opium and it resulted in the Opium Wars.
  • Chewing tobacco became popular amongst cowboys in the 19th century. It was more popular than smoking.
  • By 1901, smoking was catching up with 6 billion cigars and 3 billion cigarettes sold.
  • In 1902, Britisher, Philip Morris set up Marlboro brand
  • 1913, R. J. Reynolds set up the Camel brand of cigarettes.
  • World Wars saw a tremendous increase in smoking. It was called soldier’s smoke and was included in the soldier’s ration.
  • By 1923, Camel took over 45% of the market in the US.
  • Which led to Marlboro marketing it as women’s cigarette in 1924. They called it Mild as May. The number of women smokers tripled over the next few years.
  • Nazi Germany has one of the most powerful anti-smoking movement.
  • During the 1950s evidence of smoking leading to lung cancer began popping up.
  • In 1952, Kent Brand developed Micronite, a cigarette which contains asbestos. It was shelved shortly afterwards.
  • In 1953, Dr Ernst L. Wynders found that cigarette tar causes a tumour in mice
  • In 1956, first menthol cigarette was released by RJ Reynolds called Salem.
  • In 1964, regulations in cigarette advertisements were placed after the finding on Smoking and Health report made it clear that smoking causes lung cancer.
  • In 1965, Britain takes cigarette commercials off television
  • In 1966, health warnings started popping up on packets
  • In 1968, Bravo, a non-tobacco cigarette brand made of lettuce. Mega Failure!
  • The US takes off cigarette advertisements in 1971
  • the first national Great American Smokeout takes place in 1977. It is an annual event which takes place on the third Thursday of every November.
  • In 1982, it is found out that second-hand smoking also leads to lung cancer
  • In 1985, lung cancer overtakes breast cancer as the number one cause of women’s death.

India and Smoking

  • The first act to add a statutory warning on packets came into existence in 1975
  • Public smoking banned in Kerala in 1999. The first state in India to do that.
  • On September 8, 2000, the complete ban on tobacco and smoking advertisements came into effect.
  • On Dec 1, 2004, prohibition of selling tobacco products within 100 yards of any educational institutions came into effect.
  • In 2007, Chandigarh became first city smoke-free. Shimla followed.
  • On Oct 2, 2008, public smoking was banned nationwide public
  • In May 2009, mandatory pictorial warning covering at least 40% of the label came into effect. It also stated the use of only two languages on the packet.
  • Hookah ban carried out in many cities during 2011-12
  • On October 2, 2012, theatres implemented to play “Sponge” and “Mukesh” - two awareness advertisements before movies.
  • On October 2, 2013, these were replaced by “Child” and “Dhuan”.

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