Tobacco smoking is the practice of burning tobacco and inhaling the smoke. The practice was believed to begin as early as 5000–3000 BC, Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 17th century where it followed common trade routes. In 1950, British researchers demonstrated a relationship between smoking and cancer. Evidence continued to mount in the 1980s, which prompted political action against the practice, rates of consumption since 1965 in the developed world have either peaked or declined. However, they continue to climb in the developing world, Smoking is the most common method of consuming tobacco, and tobacco is the most common substance smoked. The agricultural product is mixed with additives and then combusted. The resulting smoke is inhaled and the active substances absorbed through the alveoli in the lungs. Combustion was traditionally enhanced by addition of potassium or other nitrates, many substances in cigarette smoke trigger chemical reactions in nerve endings, which heighten heart rate, alertness, and reaction time, among other things. Dopamine and endorphins are released, which are associated with pleasure. As of 2008 to 2010, tobacco is used by about 49% of men and 11% of women aged 15 or older in 14 low-income and middle-income countries, the gender gap tends to be less pronounced in lower age groups. Many smokers begin during adolescence or early adulthood, after an individual has smoked for some years, the avoidance of withdrawal symptoms and negative reinforcement become the key motivations to continue. In a study conducted by Jennifer OLoughlin and colleagues, first smoking experiences of students were studied. They found out that the most common factor leading students to smoke is cigarette advertisements, Smoking by parents, siblings and friends also encourage students to smoke. The practice worked its way into shamanistic rituals, many ancient civilizations — such as the Babylonians, the Indians, and the Chinese — burnt incense during religious rituals. Smoking in the Americas probably had its origins in the ceremonies of shamans but was later adopted for pleasure or as a social tool. The smoking of tobacco and various hallucinogenic drugs was used to achieve trances, adults as well as children enjoyed the practice. It was believed that tobacco was a gift from the Creator, apart from smoking, tobacco had a number of uses as medicine. As a pain killer it was used for earache and toothache, in 1612, six years after the settlement of Jamestown, John Rolfe was credited as the first settler to successfully raise tobacco as a cash crop
Aztec women are handed flowers and smoking tubes before eating at a banquet, Florentine Codex, 16th century.
Gentlemen Smoking and Playing Backgammon in an Interior by Dirck Hals, 1627.
Newsies smoking at Skeeter's Branch, St. Louis, MO. Photograph by Lewis Hine, 1910
Tendu Patta (Leaf) Collection for Beedi industries