Rather than blaming Sir Walter Raleigh, Spanish and Portuguese sailors smoked tobacco for many years and it is likely that the habit of pipe smoking had been adopted by British sailors around the year 1565.
However, when Raleigh arrived back in England in 1586, he brought with him colonists from the settlement on the Roanoke Island, situated in Dare County on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, United States. It was named after the historical Roanoke Carolina Algonquian people who inhabited the area in the 16th century at the time of English exploration. These colonists brought with them tobacco, maize and potatoes.
Whereas potatoes were viewed with great suspicion on England's shores, tobacco was thought to be good for your health. The use of tobacco by this time was well known on the Continent. The book, translated from Spanish called, ‘Of the Tabaco and of His Greate Vertues’, recommended its use for the relief of toothache, falling fingernails, worms, halitosis, lockjaw and even cancer.
How little they knew.
Colonists puffing away on their pipes started a craze at Court. Two years later, Sir Walter Raleigh tempted Queen Elizabeth I to try smoking. This was copied by the population as a whole and by the early 1660s the habit was commonplace and starting to cause concern.
In 1604, King James I wrote ‘A Counterblaste to Tobacco’, in which he described smoking as a ‘custome lothesome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black and stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless’. He imposed an import tax on the leaf, which in 1604 was 6 shillings 10 pence to the pound. The Catholic Church even tried to discourage the use of tobacco by declaring its use to be sinful and banning it from holy places.
Despite these warnings, the use of tobacco grew. In 1610 Sir Francis Bacon, philosopher, statesman and jurist, noted the rise in tobacco use and that it was a difficult habit to quit.
At Jamestown in Virginia in 1609, colonist John Rolfe became the first settler to successfully grow tobacco on a commercial scale. Jamestown sent the first shipment of tobacco to England in 1614.
From Paris, the trend of taking snuff became the aristocracy’s favourite way of enjoying tobacco.
Then smoking was recommended as a defence against bad air during the Great Plague of 1665.
Tobacco imports continued throughout the 17th and 18th centuries as the demand for tobacco increased, and the practice of smoking became widely accepted in Britain. Source: Historic UK.
I must admit, I tried a cigarette as a young teen. I didn't like it. But what makes some people want to carry on smoking despite the unpleasant effect?
Could the reason be the countless generations before them who have been addicted to tobacco? I'm inclined to think so, believing in reincarnation as I do. Perhaps they need to make a strong stand and deny the craving so they can prevent being drawn into a future life as an addict. But, that's just my theory, and that of the renown psychic healer Edgar Cayce, who died before I was born.
My husband has smoked since he was a boy—60 years. He cannot give up, try as he might. And he's tried everything so far invented. He wants to continue, no matter the harm it's doing both him and me because he insists on smoking inside our home. He needs the comfort of his habit, the feel of a cigarette in his hand, now that he's suffering with cancer—unrelated to smoking, I might add.
Smoking takes money, effort and time, covers surfaces with ash, and burns your clothes. Smoking removes a person's self-respect.
Don't start youngsters.
How has smoking affected you?