Daniel Carlat, MDDr. Carlat has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with or financial interests in any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.
Archeological evidence suggests that tobacco grew in the Americas as long ago as 6000 B.C., and that the custom of smoking it began with the Mayans, sometime around 1000 B.C. The first European to smoke is thought to be Rodrigo de Jerez, who, with Christopher Columbus, observed the custom in Cuba in 1493. When he returned home to Spain, people were so put off by the image of smoke coming out of his nose and mouth (a likely sign of the devil) that he was imprisoned by the Spanish Inquisition. But as smoking spread throughout the world, fears about its effect on health ultimately arose. In 1602, an anonymous author indicated that that tobacco may generate illnesses similar to those seen in chimney workers, and in 1798 Benjamin Rush wrote on the health effects of smoking. In 1950, the British Medical Journal first published evidence of a link between smoking and cancer. In 1965, Congress required cigarette packages to include a warning from the Surgeon General on smoking and health. Gradually, both smoking and cigarette advertising were banned in many venues. Nevertheless, in 1994, seven tobacco executives gave sworn testimony to Congress that nicotine isn’t addictive. (They did reverse themselves in 1998, and even acknowledged that smoking can cause cancer.) In recent years, more and more areas are becoming smoke-free including, with a significant cultural change, some psychiatric units.