Who Invented Smoking?

My apologies to any smokers who are about to read this blog post.  If you enjoy your habit or are easily insulted, do not continue reading.  My intention is not to make smokers feel bad, but to consider the question why do so many people smoke?

Whoever invented smoking must have been either bored or strange.  Think of all the things that guy (or gal) had to light on fire, stick in his mouth, and suck on before he discovered tobacco.  How many different things do you think people tried smoking over the years?  I am sure someone dried out cabbage or a little broccoli, or even beetle dung,  rolled it up in paper, or stuffed it into a pipe, and gave it a puff  to see what would happen.

Finally tobacco and some other smokable materials were found and people began spreadimg the word.  “Hey Buddy!  Stick this in your mouth, light it on fire, and inhale…….Cool right?”

I am not sure that is how it went but I would love to know.

Over the years people have smoked and smoked, and we have studied and studied, and learned all about it.  We learned that there is very little to be gained from smoking, and a lot to lose. It may be a worse idea now, than it was in the beginning when humans were experimenting with all kinds of materials.  Think about the following choice presented to a person considering becoming a smoker:

Option A:

You can start smoking and look forward to bad breath, yellow teeth, premature and excessive wrinkles, 50% increase in your chance of erectile dysfunction, greater risk of cataracts and ulcers,  reduced ability to taste food, yellow fingernails, a deep manly voice (for men and women), a cough that will never go away, fewer days to live, a lower quality of life during those fewer years, a higher risk of cancer, a frustrating battle if you ever decide to quit, a more difficult time climbing mountains or playing sports, but you might fit in a little better with a particular group of friends.

Option B:

None of the above.

Given that choice which would you choose?

Isn’t it amazing how many people still choose Option A?  It calls into question the rationality of human beings all together.  Is it just conformity or is there another social force at work?  Is it rebellion?  Since most people pick up smoking in their teens, is it just their way of rebelling against a world that does not accept them as adults?   Wouldn’t that be equally irrational?  Imagine the mind of a young teen thinking, “OK , since you tell me I can’t or I shouldn’t smoke, I ‘ll show you! I’ll start killing myself slowly to get back at you!” How crazy is that?

Maybe I am missing something.  Maybe there is more to it than I imagine.  Feel free to enlighten me!

    • me
    • March 25th, 2010

    Early use

    Aztec women are handed flowers and smoking tubes before eating at a banquet, Florentine Codex, 16th century.
    The history of smoking dates back to as early as 5000–3000 BC when the agricultural product began to be cultivated in South America; consumption later evolved into burning the plant substance either by accident or with intent of exploring other means of consumption.[1] The practice worked its way into shamanistic rituals.[16][page needed] Many ancient civilizations, such as the Babylonians, Indians and Chinese, burnt incense as a part of religious rituals, as did the Israelites and the later Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches. Smoking in the Americas probably had its origins in the incense-burning ceremonies of shamans but was later adopted for pleasure or as a social tool.[2] The smoking of tobacco and various hallucinogenic drugs was used to achieve trances and to come into contact with the spirit world.
    Eastern North American tribes would carry large amounts of tobacco in pouches as a readily accepted trade item and would often smoke it in pipes, either in defined ceremonies that were considered sacred, or to seal a bargain,[17] and they would smoke it at such occasions in all stages of life, even in childhood.[18][page needed] It was believed that tobacco was a gift from the Creator and that the exhaled tobacco smoke was capable of carrying one’s thoughts and prayers to heaven.[19]
    Apart from smoking, tobacco had a number of uses as medicine. As a pain killer it was used for earache and toothache and occasionally as a poultice. Smoking was said by the desert Indians to be a cure for colds, especially if the tobacco was mixed with the leaves of the small Desert Sage, Salvia Dorrii, or the root of Indian Balsam or Cough Root, Leptotaenia multifida, the addition of which was thought to be particularly good for asthma and tuberculosis.[20]

    from wikipedia,

    Smoking will kill you

    • This is some great information!! Thanks for posting it for people to learn more!

  1. April 2nd, 2010

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