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Who smoked the first cigarette in history?

01.06.2023 08:09 AM
Who smoked the first cigarette in history?
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Who smoked the first cigarette in history?

According to historical sources, the Mayan people were the first to light a cigarette in the world, and its flame has endured to this day. However, it underwent numerous transformations before evolving into its present form. Inscriptions found in archaeological sites depict ancient Mayan priests smoking during religious ceremonies. The Mayan civilization, known for its magnificent temples, magical rituals, art, and corn fields, is also recognized as the birthplace of tobacco and cigarettes.

In more recent times, smoking can be traced back to 1492 when it was rediscovered in America. It then made its way to Europe, eventually spreading across the globe starting in the 17th century. Initially, tobacco was consumed through chewing, pipes, and cigars, which were exclusively enjoyed by the wealthy. However, with the onset of commercial industrialization in the 19th century, smoking began to appear in advertisements and media before facing recent bans.

Among Native Americans, tobacco played a significant role, particularly in religious ceremonies where its high nicotine content induced a state of intoxication when chewed. This played a crucial role in shamanic rituals and communication with the spiritual realm. Nicotine was also employed by the Iroquois for toothaches, by the indigenous peoples of central Mexico for earaches, by the Cherokee tribe as a general pain reliever, and by Guatemalans as a wound disinfectant.

Moreover, nicotine played a social role as gifts strengthening social bonds, as offerings to deities, and during political gatherings where pipes were passed among the attendees. Just as Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the Americas, he is also credited with introducing smoking to Europe. In 1531, tobacco was first cultivated in Europe, specifically in Santo Domingo. By 1600, tobacco had spread throughout Europe and England, even serving as a form of currency for a century. Northern Europeans embraced pipes, while Spaniards and those in the Caribbean favored cigars.

By the 18th century, smoking became increasingly prevalent, and in the latter half of the 19th century, large-scale commercial production began, with machines producing 200 cigarettes per minute. This cheap production facilitated the widespread availability of cigarettes in markets. Following its introduction to Europe, tobacco smoking and cultivation extended to other regions of the world, including India, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and West Africa, by the early 17th century.

When the pipe was introduced to Asia, it quickly gained popularity and was crafted from a variety of materials such as wood, bamboo, jade, ivory, metal, and ceramics. As for the hookah, its origins are likely rooted in India. The term "shisha," commonly used to refer to it, originates from Iran and means "bottle." The hookah then made its way to Turkey during the era of the sultans, who greatly admired it. Sultan Abdul Hamid II was particularly fond of the hookah in the Ottoman palaces, according to the Turkish newspaper "Daily Sabah."

The hookah arrived in Turkey in the 16th century and spread further during the 17th century, but its use was limited to specific social groups. It was later introduced to Egypt as a gift from Turkey to Muhammad Ali Pasha, where it gained popularity among the Mamluks and remained a privilege of certain societal classes, typically enjoyed in private residences.

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