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Tobacco timeline


This timeline is adapted from one cited on the internet at

6000 BCE – Native Americans first start cultivating the tobacco plant
c. 1 BCE – Indigenous American tribes start smoking tobacco in religious ceremonies and for medicinal purposes
1492 – Christopher Columbus first encounters dried tobacco leaves. They were given to him as a gift by the American Indians
1492 – Tobacco plant and smoking introduced to Europeans
1531 – Europeans start cultivation of the tobacco plant in Central America
1558 – First attempt at tobacco cultivation in Europe fail
1571 – European doctors start publishing works on healthy properties of the tobacco plant, claiming it can cure a myriad of diseases, from toothache to lockjaw and cancer
1600 – Tobacco used as cash-crop – a monetary standard that lasts twice as long as the gold standard
1602 – King James I condemns tobacco in his treatise A Counterblast to Tobacco
1614 – Tobacco shops open across Britain, selling the Virginia blend tobacco
1624 – Popes ban use of tobacco in holy places, considering sneezing (snuff) too close to sexual pleasures
1633 – Turkey introduces a death penalty for smoking but it doesn’t stay in effect for long and is lifted in 1647
1650 – Tobacco arrives in Africa – European settlers grow it and use it as a currency
1700 – African slaves are first forced to work on tobacco plantations, years before they become a workforce in the cotton fields
1730 – First American tobacco companies open their doors in Virginia
1753 – Tobacco genus named by a Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus – nicotiana rustica and nicotiana tabacum named for the first time
1791 – British doctors find that snuff leads to increased risk of nose cancer
1794 – First American tobacco tax
1826 – Nicotine isolated for the first time
1847 – Philip Morris opens their first shop in Great Britain, selling hand-rolled Turkish cigarettes
1961 – First American cigarette factory produces 20 million cigarettes
1880 – Bonsack develops the first cigarette-rolling machine
1890 – American Tobacco Company opens its doors
1990 – 4 billion cigarettes are sold this year and manufacture is on the rise
1902 – Philip Morris starts selling cigarettes in the US – one of the brands offered is Marlboro
1912 – First reported connection between smoking and lung cancer
1918 – An entire generation of young men returns from war addicted to cigarettes
1924 – Over 70 billion of cigarettes are sold in the US
1925 – Philip Morris starts marketing to women, tripling the number of female smokers in just 10 years
1947 – Lorillard chemist admits that there is enough evidence that smoking can cause cancer
1950 – 50% of a cigarette now consists of the cigarette filter tip
1967 – Surgeon General definitively links smoking to lung cancer and presents evidence that it is causing heart problems
1970 – Tobacco manufacturers legally obliged to print a warning on the labels that smoking is a health hazard
1970 – 1990 – Tobacco companies faced with a series of lawsuits. Courts limit their advertising and marketing
1992 – Nicotine patch is introduced – in the following years more cessation products will start being developed
1996 – Researchers find conclusive evidence that tobacco damages a cancer-suppressor gene
1997 – Liggett Tobacco Company issues a statement acknowledging that tobacco causes cancer and carries a considerable health risk
1997 – Tobacco companies slammed with major lawsuits – ordered to spend billions of dollar on anti-smoking campaigns over the next 25 years predominantly focused on educating the young on dangers of smoking
1997 – For the first time in history a tobacco company CEO admits on trial that cigarettes and related tobacco products cause cancer. His name was Bennett Lebow
1990 – 2000– Bans on public smoking come into effect in most states in America, as well as in other countries in the world

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