2.1 - History of Smoking



Smoking today is considered a relatively common practice, however, there was a period in time when smoking tobacco was relatively unknown practice to much of the world! This section attempts to acquaint participants with a basic understanding of where the smoking practice came from and asks them to think critically about how it became such a prominent social practice.


1.Check out the CBC Documentary entitled Butting Out: the Slow Death of Smoking .
2. Check out other resources such as :

  • WHO History of Tobacco Chart
  • The Tobacco Timeline
  • The Tobacco Timeline
  • Other sources: books, magazines and other internet sites

    3. Identify events in the history of tobacco that you think are interesting and not widely known. Be analytical and creative with this exercise. Points could include events like:
    • The Mayans adopted tobacco use and depicted Gods using tobacco
    • Christopher Columbus was given "certain dried leaves which give off a distinct fragrance"
    • Rodrigo de Jerez became the first person to smoke in Europe and terrified the population so much that he was thrown into jail for three years by the Spanish Inquisition
    • The first cigarette factory was opened in Walworth,England in 1856 by Robert Golag
    • The first Romanov Csar declared the use of tobacco a deadly sin in Russia and forbids possession
    4. Construct a "Did You Know?" timeline on smoking which highlights moments in the history of smoking (or the history of non-smoking campaigns) that they deem to be important. Justify in a short paragraph below each entry why each historical point is significant or of interest.

    Teachers can identify a range of points for students depending on the importance of the lesson and the level of the students. As a general guide, the number of points should range from 4/5 - 10/15.
    Some interesting online programs that can be used to generate timelines include
    • Dipity - a free, online tool that allows users to generate visually stunning timelines including multimedia content such as audio and video
    • Capzles - free, online timeline generator
    • Preceden - free, online timeline generator in a more traditional format
    Research and include content from multiple sources such as video and audio. You could even narrate their own timeline.

    5. Present your timeline in front of the class or circulate it as a link through the Class Discussion page.

    Learning Objectives

    • Understand smoking as a social phenomenon rooted in a set of historical circumstances
    • Gain insight into how smoking was adapted
    • Gain an understanding of the preliminary factors that lead to the widespread adoption of smoking
    • Understand the origins of the tobacco plant and its significance to certain societies

    Continue to 2.2 Gender and Smoking »