The Breeze

The History Of Smoking and the Future Of Vaping

This Article discusses the historical background and medical problems that evolved around smoking, along with an opinionated final paragraph.

Aidan Pollock, Contributor

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Around 4000 B.C.E, it was common place for Native Americans to sit around a fire singing traditional shamanistic songs, smoking tobacco. Around 2018 C.E. some students in SBRHS stand in a circle in the bathroom talking and inhaling extremely dangerous chemicals. While this may seem like a severely over dramatic comparison between these two situations, they both involve socialization in a circle, while smoking/vaping some kind of substance. Both of which are extremely dangerous for the participants.

Of course, this article is inspired by the recent vaping problems occurring during this school year, and I thought that it would be interesting to throw my hat into the ring.

Although, first known uses occurred as far back as 4,000 B.C.E. in ritual uses, the first recreational uses of tobacco date back to the early to late-1500’s. These recreational uses began in Europe, despite the tobacco plant originating in the Americas. The recreational uses began after the Spanish began growing the tobacco in small amounts and shipping it back over to Europe. The tobacco leaves became a huge success in Europe, causing the demand for the leaves to rise drastically, with no method to raise supply. Enter England in 1608 with their failing settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. The settlement would have failed, had it not been for the man named John Smith, who saved the settlement from starvation. A few years later, the citizens in Jamestown began to grow tobacco as if it was the Green Gold, which it was. This made Virginia vastly rich, despite the fact that King James I reportedly said that he hated tobacco, calling it the “Stinking weed.”

The tobacco plant remained profitable all through-out the American Revolution up until the prominence of King Cotton in the early half of the 1800’s. Up until the depletion of the fertility of the Chesapeake region, tobacco had been a prominent cash crop, but the demand for tobacco was going down as the European market began to be wiped out by the French Revolution.

Despite this, the tobacco companies kept turning a profit due to the extensive American market, despite the Civil War becoming a problem for them. In fact, the Tobacco industry brought in a tax revenue for the United States at about $38.9 million between 1879 and 1880, a third of the nation’s income. It wasn’t until medical science began to link cigarettes to lung cancer in the late 20th century, that the industry began to slow down economic growth.

The number of smokers continued to decrease until 2003 when Hon Lik invented the first modern vape. Despite never being his intention, tobacco companies began to jump on the chance to make money again and began to market the vape as a revolutionary, non-addictive replacement to cigarettes, despite knowing full well that they would put the addictive chemical, nicotine into the aerosol, a compressed gas carrying large quantities of sometimes dangerous chemicals. Despite everyone saying that these vapes are safe, there is significant historical evidence to assume that the tobacco companies are going to make as much money off of these before the lawsuits come rolling in regarding false advertising and distributing dangerous drugs. Although being a social tool used by impressionable teens, we cannot forego the historical evidence that shows that Tobacco Companies are willing to sacrifice the health of users for their own monetary benefits.

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About the Writer
Aidan Pollock, Contributor

Aidan Pollock is a freshman in SBRHS. He creates history based articles weekly, a majority of which are “Today In History” and he posts them every non-holiday Monday. He participates in the Journalism part-time elective, and cooperates with another peer Aidan Karpicz when writing larger articles on more relevant themes.

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The History Of Smoking and the Future Of Vaping