How did the use of tobacco start?
Tobacco has a long history. The first reports that indicate that people are aware of the use of tobacco as a stimulant come from North and Central America. Reliefs of pipe-smoking Maya priests have been found in temples from about 1000 BC. Tobacco came to Europe as a sought-after commodity in the sixteenth century. Yet the use of tobacco has been limited to a relatively small user group for centuries. The cigarette industry took off in 1881, when the first cigarette machines came into use. This made smoking cigarettes less exclusive and therefore accessible to more people. Cigarette smoking only really became popular after the First and Second World Wars. In 1945, the liberators in the Netherlands distributed cigarettes and chocolate, among other things. Since the 80s and 90s it has become increasingly clear what the risks of smoking are. Since then, we have become increasingly aware of the health risks associated with smoking.