TOBACCO was first used in Central America in 1,000 BC by the Mayan civilisation. They chewed and smoked the leaves.
The expeditions of Christopher Columbus to the New World brought tobacco to Europe in the 15th Century.
It arrived in England in the 16th Century at the court of Elizabeth I and smoking – pipes and cigars – became popular.
King James I called smoking “an invention of Satan” in 1604, and in the same century it was declared a deadly sin in Russia where practitioners could be punished by having their lips slit or suffering a flogging.
In Turkey, Persia and India it brought the death penalty. Even the Pope banned it, but it still became popular.
Cigarettes appeared for the first time in the mid 19th century.
As early as 1571, smoking was promoted as a healthy pastime, when Monardes, a Spanish doctor, wrote a paper listing 36 illnesses which he believed could be cured by tobacco.
They included toothache, falling fingernails, worms, halitosis and, you guessed it, cancer.
Boys at Eton were ordered to smoke a pipe of tobacco a day to ward off the plague in 1665.