The History of Tobacco as We Know it Today
According to studies, tobacco growing started roughly 8,000 years ago in North & South America. However, Native Americans didn’t start using the plant until about 3,000 years ago. As the story goes, tobacco was used in several different ways including, but not limited to, religious ceremonies and medicinal practices.
In fact, tobacco was thought of as a cure-all plant. Indeed, Natives used this herb to dress wounds and to kill bodily pain. It is also believed that they used the plant to relieve toothaches by chewing on the tobacco itself. Therefore, it’s probably safe to say, the practice of chewing tobacco is older than smoking it.
The oldest known document that supports evidence of the Natives smoking tobacco didn’t appear until the mid-1600s. So before those dates, not much is known about smoking tobacco.
As the History of Tobacco Spreads East to Europe and Beyond
Historians document that on October 15th, 1492, after Christopher Columbus sailed the Atlantic Blue, he was offered dried tobacco leaves as a gift upon his arrival to the Americas.
Soon after, tobacco was brought back to Europe by the boat-load. From that point forward, the plant would flourish across the continent.
As it is a well-known fact, Europeans believed that tobacco had healing powers that could cure almost anything, except for death. They even thought it cured bad breath and cancer, which is completely the opposite of what we believe today! Pretty amazing, right? Yeah, we thought so too!
On top of that, in 1571 a Spanish doctor and author by the name of Nicolas Monardes wrote a widely accepted book about medicinal plants in the New World (America), which he claimed tobacco could cure over 36 heath related illnesses!
By the 1600s, tobacco use in America & Europe had become so popular and widely consumed, that it was often used as money! In other words, tobacco was just as good as gold, literally! So as you can see, the history of tobacco has played a major role in society, including ours today!
The History of Tobacco Companies in America
During the Revolutionary War in 1776, tobacco was so important that America used the herb as collateral for loans from France, which helped fund the battle. However, it was at that point, tobacco brands were born!
First, Pierre Lorillard, a French decent gentleman founded the Lorillard Tobacco Company in New York City. The idea obviously set in well with other tobacco and cigar aficionados because from this point on, the game would never be the same again.
In fact, Lorillard is now owned by Reynolds America, which is a British American Tobacco company still thriving today! Plus, it’s now the old tobacco company in the USA.
By 1847, Phillip Morris was established. Selling hand-rolled Turkish blend cigarettes, this tobacco brand was going forward. Since then, they’ve continued to be a top player in the industry.
Two years later, in 1847, J.E. Liggett was introduced to the public, they’re still relevant today as well. And in 1875, good ole RJ Reynolds hit the market, they’re still just as popular today as they were back then.
Once 1902 rolled around, the British Phillip Morris company sets up shop in NYC, they’re the great minds behind the now-famous Marlboro brand.
As the demand for cigarettes grew across the globe, RJ Reynolds introduced the Camel brand in 1913, it proved to be a worldwide best-seller, just as it today!
Shaping the Tobacco Industry as We Know it Today
Speaking of Camel cigarettes, by 1923 the brand dominated 45% of the tobacco market, worldwide. The following year, Marlboro launched a campaign targeting women, and it was a success! With the slogan “Mild as May,” female smokers tripled by 1935.
Also, Lucky Strike proved to be a top-pick as well, they controlled 38% if the market throughout the 1930s.
However, once 1939 rolled around, Pall Mall introduced it’s American blend cigarettes, soon after, they became the biggest cigarette brand in the US. But then in 1954, RJ Reynolds changed the way we smokes cigarettes, perhaps forever!
That’s right; this is the year that Winstons hit the market. Now, these bad boys, which are still in demand today, featured a filter, which proved to be a hot success, obviously! Then two years later in 1956, RJ launched Salem, the first-ever menthol cigarette, also still available today!
So as you can see, the History of Tobacco in America runs deep! As of the 2000s, Online Tobacco Stores now dominate the market. But then again, at great prices and home delivery, it simply doesn’t get much better than this! Makes you wonder, what will they come up with next?