On 7th May 1956 Health Minister R.H. Turton rejected calls for a Government campaign against smoking as not proved as a causal link between lung cancer. In June 1957 a link was accepted.
Today in 1965 the Labour government announced a ban on TV cigarette adverts, after a link between smoking and disease was assumed in 1957 and smoking has been under attack ever since.
By the end of the 17thc tobacco originally a luxury had become so popular that there were 7,000 tobacconists in London and tobacco had become a cure all for maladies such as VD, migraine and the plague.
On Columbus’s second voyage American Indians had been seen sniffing strange powder and the snuff habit caught on, also drinking a tobacco-concoction medicinally was thought to be cure for pox.
John Rolfe who married the Indian Pocahontas, had developed local tobacco and was given the import monopoly in the new colony of America.
The first report of smoking in England is of a sailor seen ‘emitting smoke from his nostrils’, in 1556. It was a Frenchman Jean Nicot from whose name ‘Nicotine’ is derived who introduced tobacco to France in 1560 and it was from France not the New World that tobacco reached England. The term ‘smoking’ is of the late 17th, previously it was known as ‘drinking smoke’.
It was Raleigh’s patronage in the 17thc which helped to spread the habit of smoking and was to be one more indictment of James I (VI) for the Scot’s King could not bear the ‘noxious weed’ and wrote a tract ‘A Counterblast to Tobacco’.
This attitude was surprising as tobacco was another profitable product of Empire available for taxation and which by the 17thc its use had spread in England and Holland much to the benefit of the English Colony of Virginia.
The active ingredient of tobacco is nicotine an alkaloid which is one of the naturally occurring tobacco smoke compounds and containing mostly basic nitrogen atoms.(1)
In a bid to give up cigarettes the practice of ‘vaping’ using electronic cigarettes containing Nicotine ‘E- Liquids’, has become the fashion which avoids inhalation of deleterious tobacco smoke, but still supplies the Nicotine many crave.
(1) Nicotine comes from the Nightshade Family and is present in potatoes and tomatoes with many finding whilst smoking it aided concentration and clearness of memory whilst reducing anxiety. Research is investigating its possible beneficial effects on Parkinson Disease.
Daily Mail. 15.4.2017 article on beneficial use of tobacco in medicine/Pic.