The history of smoking

“When they travel, have a kind of herb dried, who, with a cane and an earthen cup in the end, with fire and the dried herbs put together, do suck through the cane and the smoke thereof, which smoke satisfieth their hunger, and therewith they live four or five days without meat or drink,” writes John Sparke about native Floridians' use of tobacco, which was introduced to Europeans in 1564.

Thus Europeans learned of the habit through interaction with native tribes, and, according to an article on the History Today blog by Stephen Coleman, by 1588, early Virginians had “tried their way of inhaling the smoke" for themselves. "Tobacco, wrote Thomas Harriot, tutor to Sir Walter Raleigh, "opened the pores and passages, purged the body of excessive humours, and preserved it from many infections common in England, but unknown in America."

Coleman's article, Background to Smoking: The Growth of a Social Habit, follows the first known use of tobacco in the Americas to the popularization of cigarettes during World War I.