HISTORY OF CIGARETTE
The earliest forms of cigarettes were largely indistinguishable from their predecessor, the cigar. Cigarettes have been attested in Central America around the 9th century in the form of reeds and smoking tubes. The Maya, and later the Aztecs, smoked tobacco and various psychoactive drugs in religious rituals and frequently depicted priests and deities smoking on pottery and temple engravings. The cigarette and the cigar were the most common methods of smoking in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America until recent times.
The South and Central American cigarette used various plant wrappers; when it was brought back to Spain, maize wrappers were introduced, and by the 17th century, fine paper. The resulting product was called papelate and is documented in Goya‘s paintings La Cometa, La Merienda en el Manzanares, and El juego de la pelota a pala (18th century).
By 1830, the cigarette had crossed into France, where it received the name cigarette; and in 1845, the French state tobacco monopoly began manufacturing them.
In the English-speaking world, the use of tobacco in cigarette form became increasingly popular during and after the Crimean War, when British soldiers began emulating their Ottoman Turkish comrades and Russian enemies, who had begun rolling and smoking tobacco in strips of old newspaper for lack of proper cigar-rolling leaf. This was helped by the development of tobaccos that are suitable for cigarette use, and by the development of the Egyptian cigarette export industry.
Francisco Goya’s La Cometa, depicting a man smoking an early quasi-cigarette.
The widespread smoking of cigarettes in the Western world is largely a 20th century phenomenon – at the start of the century the per capita annual consumption in the USA was 54 cigarettes (with less than 0.5% of the population smoking more than 100 cigarettes per year), and consumption there peaked at 4,259 per capita in 1965. At that time about 50% of men and 33% of women smoked (defined as smoking more than 100 cigarettes per year). By 2000, consumption had fallen to 2,092 per capita, corresponding to about 30% of men and 22% of women smoking more than 100 cigarettes per year, and by 2006 per capita consumption had declined to 1,691;] implying that about 21% of the population smoked 100 cigarettes or more per year.
During World War I and World War II, cigarettes were rationed to soldiers. During the Viet Nam War, cigarettes were included with C-ration meals. It was only in 1975 that the government quit putting cigarettes in military rations. During the second half of the 20th century, the adverse health effects of cigarettes started to become widely known and text-only health warnings became commonplace on cigarette packets. Warnings became prevalent but unpopular, mainly due to the political influences held by tobacco growers. The United States has not yet implemented graphical cigarette warning labels, which are considered a more effective method to communicate to the public the dangers of cigarette smoking. Canada, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and the United Kingdom however, have both textual warnings and graphic visual images displaying, among other things, the damaging effects tobacco use has on the human body.
The cigarette has evolved much since its conception; for example, the thin bands that travel transverse to the “axis of smoking” (thus forming circles along the length of the cigarette) are alternate sections of thin and thick paper to facilitate effective burning when being drawn, and retard burning when at rest. Synthetic particulate filters remove some of the tar before it reaches the smoker. Furthermore, filters serve as an alternative to pipes which cause more damage to the lungs than traditionally rolled cigarettes.