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Tobacco Story

Tobacco and its active ingredient, nicotine, is one of the most powerfully addictive and dangerous plants in the world. It belongs to the solanaceae plant family and is native to South America.  It is sometimes called the 'henbane of Peru' and is can be identified as any one of 70 plant species of the genus 'Nicotiana'.  The cultivation and use of tobacco began in the Americas and dates back to 5000 BC. Evidence has been found to indicate that Native Americans were smoking the leaves over 2000 years ago! 

Its use spread to Europe during the Age of Discovery and on to India, China, Africa, and the Middle East within a century. Tobacco leaves weren’t just smoked; they were also believed to cure migraine headaches, keep the Plague at bay and, unbelievably, treat coughs and cancer! In 1604, King James described the plant as ‘loathsome’. He said it was harmful to the brain and adversely affected the lungs.  In fact, nicotine is a so powerful a neurotoxin that it is an ingredient in the manufacture of insecticide! Billions of people all over the world use tobacco every day.

Would you believe that the cultivation of tobacco plants today requires almost 10 million acres of land around the world?  Did you know that today the global industrial worth of tobacco is estimated to be $300 billion?