Chapter 10 – Tobacco
The Aboriginal peoples here were using tobacco
Columbus recorded that the people of San Salvador presented him with tobacco leaves on October 12,1492
Inhaling smoke was called drinking
o You either “took” (used snuff) or “drank” (smoked) tobacco.
The word tobacco came from one of two sources.
o Tobacco referred to a two-pronged tube used by Aboriginal people to take snuff
o Developed its current usage from the province of Tobacos in Mexico, where everyone used the herb.
Rodrigo de Jerez, introduced tobacco drinking to Europe.
Early Medical Uses
Used for “persistent headaches,” “cold or catarrh,” and “abscesses and sores on the head.”
o Successful in “curing” the migraine headaches of Catherine de Medici, queen of Henry II of France
o Called the herbe sainte, “holy plant,” and the herbe a tous les maux, “the plant against all evils”
o Named the plant genus Nicotiana
When a pair of French chemists isolated the active ingredient in 1828 they called it nicotine.
Dr. William Vaughn – predicted adverse effects on reproductive functioning in men and women
Was gradually removed tobacco from the doctor’s black bag, and nicotine was dropped from the United States
Pharmacopoeia in the 1890s.
The Spread of Tobacco Use
More than 60 species of Nicotiana
Two major ones:
1. Nicotiana tobacum
Indigenous only to South America
The Spanish had a monopoly on its production for more than a hundred years
2. Nicotiana rustica
Existed in the West Indies and eastern North America
British took with them seeds of the rustica species and planted them in England, but it never grew well.
John Rolfe got some seeds of the Spanish tobacum species
o By 1619, as much Virginia a tobacco as Spanish tobacco was sold in London.
o King James prohibited the cultivation of any tobacco in England and declared the tobacco trade a royal
30 Years’ War spread smoking throughout central Europe
Canada has three major tobacco companies:
o Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited
o Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Incorporated
o JTI-Macdonald Corporation
90% of the tobacco grown in Canada is produced in a highly concentrated area in south-western Ontario
By 1770 very few people were smoking.
The reign of King George III (1760-1820) was the time of the big snuff. Chewing Tobacco
Boston passed an ordinance in 1798 forbidding anyone from possessing a lighted pipe or “segar” on public
o A concern for the fire hazard involved in smoking
o Repealed in 1880
The amount of tobacco for smoking did not equal the amount for chewing until 1911 and did not surpass it until
Many brands of Canadian cigarettes are made from 100% pure Virginia tobacco.
The start of the twentieth century was the approximate high point for chewing tobacco
Middle point from chewing tobacco to cigarettes
Cigar manufacturers suggested that cigarettes were drugged with opium and people could not stop using them
and that the paper was bleached with arsenic and, thus, was harmful.
They had some help from Thomas Edison
Cigar sales reached their highest level in 1920
Lower cost and changing styles led to the emergence of cigarettes
The Crimean War circulated the cigarette habit throughout Europe
The first British cigarette factory was started in 1856 by a returning veteran of the Crimean War
The date of the first patent on a cigarette-making machine was 1881
o Contained just a hint of Turkish tobacco
o Eliminating most of the imported tobacco made the price lower
o Had 40% of the market and stayed in front until after World War II
The first ad showing a woman smoking appeared in 1919
o The woman was pictured as Asian
King-size cigarettes appeared in 1939 in the form of Pall Mall, which became the top seller
Tobacco under Attack
In 1604, King James of England wrote and published a strong anti-tobacco pamphlet stating that tobacco was
“harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the lungs.”
New York City
o Made it illegal in 1908 for a woman to use tobacco in public
o In the Roaring Twenties women were expelled from schools and dismissed from jobs for smoking
“Cancer by the Carton” drew public attention to the issue of cancer and led to a temporary decline in cigarette
Major U.S. tobacco companies recognized the threat and responded vigorously in two important ways
1. The formation of the supposedly independent Council for Tobacco Research to look into the health
claims (not actually independent, instead was undermining the scientist’s research)
2. The mass marketing of filter cigarettes and cigarettes with lowered tar and nicotine content.
In the early 1960s, the U.S. surgeon general’s office formed an Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health.
o Its first official report, released in 1964, stated clearly that cigarette smoking was a cause for increased
lung cancer in men
o In 1965, cigarette packages were required to include the surgeon general’s warning.
o All television and radio advertising of cigarettes was banned in 1971
o Smoking was banned on intercity buses and domestic airline flights in 1989
Almost 6300 non-smokers die each year in Canada from exposure to second-hand smoke Tobacco History in Canada
In 1908 the Tobacco Restraint Act was passed in Canada
o Banned sales of cigarettes to those younger than 16 years of age
o Was never enforced
The link between smoking and lung cancer was established in the medical literature in the 1950s
o But they kept it hidden from the public
o The government began requiring cigarette manufacturers to list the additives and their amounts in each
o Federal laws were enacted to prohibit tobacco advertising and ensure smoke-free workplaces.
o The Tobacco Products Control Act (TPCA), which prohibited all tobacco advertising, required health
warnings on tobacco packaging, and restricted promotional activities, came into effect
o Federal law was enacted to raise the legal age for buying tobacco to 18
o Bigger and stronger warning messages were required on cigarette packs
o Found evidence of cigarette smoke in fetal hair
First biochemical proof that the offspring of non-smoking mothers can be affected by passive
o Supreme Court of Canada squashed the federal ban on tobacco advertising, and tobacco companies
launched an aggressive advertising campaign, using billboards, newspaper ads. And event sponsorships.
o Tobacco Act was passed, and its associated regulations imposed:
General restrictions on manufacturers and distributors
Restricted promotion, packaging, and products
The Quest for “Safer” Cigarettes
Nicotine appears to be the constituent in tobacco that keeps smokers coming back for more
o If the content changes, behaviour changes (more puffs, inhaling deeper)
o No satisfaction if it is totally removed
By the 1980s low tar and nicotine cigarettes dominated the market.
Safer doesn’t mean “safe”
o Changes in puff rate and depth of inhalation would compensate for the lower yield per puff, and there
might be no advantage to switching.
o Developed a cigarette that, in the laboratory, significantly reduced the number of tumours in mice
compared with the company’s standard brand.
o Lawyers told Liggett not to publish results – would admit standard brand was hazardous
o Did not market the cigarette, led to lawsuit
o Attempted to market Premier, a sort of non-cigarette cigarette in 1988
The product contained catalytic crystals coated with a tobacco extract but no obvious tobacco.
Produced no smoke, but inhaling through them allowed the user to absorb some nicotine.
Unable to find a legal way to sell the product and was forced to drop it
o Marketed Eclipse in 2004
Another high-tech “cigarette” that it was said “may present less risk,” and produces up to 80%
less smoke than a regular cigarette
Contains tobacco, but it is not burned – the user lights a carbon element that heats a small
aluminum tube that in turn heats the tobacco, releasing vapours and a small amount of smoke. Current Cigarette Use
Above average among those attending university in Quebec (18.3%) and the Atlantic provinces (16.9%) and
lowest among those from British Columbia (9.6%) and the Prairies (8.9%)
Almost perfectly inverse linear relationship between number of years of education and the percentage of that
group that smokes cigarettes.
Since 1985, smoking prevalence has decreased in all age groups, with an overall average decrease of 14%.
That 82% of adolescents ages 15-19 years and 70% of Inuit ages 18-45 years are current smokers.
The most common types of oral smokeless tobacco are:
o loose-leaf (Red Man, Levi Garrett, Beech Nut), which is sold in a pouch
common with baseball players
sales increased by about 50% in the 70s
o moist snuff (Copenhagen, Skoal), which is sold in a can