Infrastructurist

Brief History of Tobacco Use in the United States of America 

Prior to the mid-1990s some of the largest companies in the USA were in the tobacco industry. Despite some knowledge of the health risks which smoking caused, it wasn’t until states began to sue those businesses, and the industry hasn’t recovered since. Whilst smoking may be on its way out, tobacco use looks set to stay. What many don’t know is just how long tobacco products have been used in civilization, and today we are going to take a look at a brief history of tobacco and the products which have been used over the years.

Origins of Tobacco 

There is documented use of tobacco from almost 8,000 years ago, and we have seen evidence of ancient civilizations using wild tobacco in many different ways. We know that the Native Americans gifted tobacco to Columbus upon his arrival, at which time it was considered as having healing and restorative powers. In terms of commercial use, rolled tobacco came from Europe to the US, and this is when we first saw widespread use of the product. 

Commercial Cigarettes 

In terms of cigarettes being sold ready-made, this didn’t actually happen until the beginning of the 20th century. As soon as the products went to market they were an instant success, and it is reported that over 3 billion cigarettes were sold in 1901 alone. Given this great appeal, more and more tobacco companies were created and began to sell various types of cigarettes to customers. 

Riches and Ubiquity 

There is no doubt at all that tobacco companies throughout the 20th century were some of the richest on Earth. Given the amount of money available to these companies, competition amongst them was fierce, and this lead to a huge investment into marketing. It seems rather odd now, looking back at just how commonly you would find the name of a cigarette supplier in advertising. From sporting events to entertainment shows, magazine pages and billboards, cigarette brands were everywhere. Many actually suggest that the advancement of marketing has much to do with the sheer volume of money which the cigarette brands pumped into it. 

Bursting The Bubble 

As mentioned in the title, the bubble would eventually burst for these companies. Legal issues and worrying health concerns prompted the industry to be fined for huge sums, banned from advertising and gradually removed from culture. This may have been the end of the dizzying highs, but tobacco use still continues. 

There are many products on the market such as snus and nicotine pouches which have also been used for centuries. These products have always been incredibly popular and there is no reason why this industry will not continue. When people think about tobacco they instantly consider cigarettes, but as that industry dies, we will once again see that tobacco still has a place in the world. 

As you can see, tobacco, in terms of the use of the plant, has always been a key part of our society in the USA, and it looks set to remain that way. 

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