The word tobacco comes from the word "tabacco," which was a two pronged tube that was used by Central American natives to take snuff.

• The Maya considered tobacco as divine incense that would bring rain in the dry season
• Native Americans used tobacco in pipes, cigars and cigarettes. Tobacco was also used as a syrup to be swallowed or applied to gums, chewed or snuffed or administered rectally as a ceremonial enema
• In the 18th century tobacco smoking in Turkey and the middle eastern countries was considered a crime
• The Russian Tsars publicly tortured smokers and exiled them to Siberia
• Snuffing became fashionable in France and spread throughout the European aristocracy
• The wide spread use of tobacco caused an international debate over its harms and benefits. Proponents of tobacco described it as a holy healing herb and recommended the use of tobacco as a cure for many illnesses. Opponents of tobacco considered it as an evil plant
• In an attempt to limit the use of tobacco King James I of England raised the import tax on tobacco
• Regardless of the harsh rules the use of tobacco dramatically increased in Europe
• In 1642 Pope Urban VIII issued a decree forbidding the use of tobacco in church

History of tobacco use in the United States

• At the beginning of the 20th century chewing and snuffing were the most common ways of using tobacco. In the U.S. cigars became popular in the early 1800s
• Around 1920 cigarette smoking was more popular than cigars
• In the middle of 20th century smoking became fashionable and was a sign of sophistication and maturity
• In 1964 the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Surgeon General reported that cigarette smoking was causally related to lung cancer
• In 1965 Congress passed the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act requiring health warning on all cigarette packages
• In 1965 the National Clearinghouse for Smoking and Health was set up by Congress. This organization is responsible for the monitoring and review of medical literature regarding the health consequences of smoking
• Since November 1, 1970 all cigarette packages and cartons have a warning label
• In 1971 tobacco advertising on radio and television was prohibited
• In 1973 Congress enacted the "Little Cigar Act" banning little cigar ads from television and radio
• In 1978 Utah enacted the first state law banning tobacco advertising on any billboard street signs, street cars or buses
• The 1979 publication "Smoking and Health: A Report of Surgeon General" contained information on research regarding the effects of tobacco on cardiovascular disease, cancer, peptic ulcers, bronchial and pulmonary disease, and pregnancy
• The 1981 Surgeon General's Report "The Changing Cigarette" provided more information on the health hazards of smoking
• The 1982 Surgeon General's Report focused on smoking and cancer
• The 1983 Surgeon General's Report focused on smoking and cardiovascular disease
• The 1984 Surgeon General's Report focused on smoking and chronic obstructive lung disease
• In 1984 Congress enacted the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act requiring health warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements
• The 1986 Surgeon General's Report focused on the health consequences of involuntary smoking
• In 1986 Congress enacted the Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act requiring the three health warnings on smokeless tobacco packages and banning smokeless tobacco advertising on broadcast media. Minnesota enacted the first state law to ban free distribution of smokeless tobacco samples
• Congress doubled the federal excise tax on cigarettes to 16 cents per pack from 1983 to 1985
• Legislation was enacted in 1992 and mandated that States adopt and enforce restrictions on tobacco sales to minors
• A transdermal nicotine patch was introduced in 1992
• In 1993 the FDA prohibited over the counter smoking deterrent products because they had not been shown to be effective
• In 1994 a Surgeon General's Report focused on tobacco use among youth. Congress enacted the Pro-Children Act of 1994 requiring funded children's services to become smoke-free
• The Philip Morris Company recalled its cigarette brands due to the presence of contaminants in 1995. FDA Commissioner Kessler testifies that cigarettes may qualify as drug delivery systems bringing them within the jurisdiction of the FDA.
• Mississippi became the first state to sue the tobacco industry to recover Medicaid costs for tobacco related illnesses
• Today many tobacco companies are paying billions of dollars as compensation to states for health care costs of smokers.

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