Who Invented Cigarettes?

A cigarette is made up of finely cut tobacco rolled in paper and used for smoking. The cigarettes that are widely available in the market today are milder compared to cigar tobacco. Most commercially produced cigarettes are made the same way; they are treated with sugar and butterfat to cover the bitter taste of nicotine. Nowadays, tobacco companies also use tobacco that has been modified or freebased so that the nicotine delivery will be a lot faster. 

A cigarette is smaller than a cigar, and it uses processed leaf and paper wrapping that is usually white. While cigar uses a tobacco leaf or a paper dipped in tobacco extract for its wrapper. It is also much bigger compared to a cigarette. 

History of Cigarretes

According to studies, the earliest forms of cigarettes were a bit similar to their big predecessor, the cigar. The earliest evidence of cigarette use was recorded back in the 9th century in Mexico and Central America in the form of smoking tubes and reeds. The Aztecs and the Maya smoked tobacco as well as other psychoactive drugs during their religious rituals. In fact, some of their temple and pottery engravings depicted deities and priests smoking. Other natives of Central America, Mexico, and other parts of South America also used crushed tobacco leaves that they rolled in a corn husk or other vegetable wrappers. 

During the early 16th century, the beggars in Sevilla started to pick up discarded cigarette butts. They shred them and roll them up using scraps of paper so that they could smoke them, too. They were eventually known as the poor man’s smokes or the cigarillos or Little Cigars. During the late 18th century, these little cigars gained popularity and respect that their use spread to Portugal and Italy. From there, they were carried by Portuguese traders to Russia and the Levant. 

During the Napoleonic Wars, the British and French troops became familiar with these cigarillos. That is why the French started calling them cigarettes. Forty years after the Napoleonic Wars, another set of French and British troops fought the Crimean war, where they became familiar with the Turkish cigarettes. It was also during this time when cigarettes are also starting to become popular in the United States. Eventually, the British made their own blend of cigarettes and filled them with pure Virginia tobacco. However, the U.S market made a cigarette preference with a combination that included some Turkish tobacco. 

Back then, all cigarettes were hand-made in factories or by the smoker itself. In the factory, cigarettes go through the process of table, pasting, and packaging. In 1880, James A. Bonsack was given a U.S patent for a cigarette machine wherein tobacco was put onto a continuous strip of paper and automatically pasted, closed, then cut to equal lengths using a rotary cutting knife. When other tobacco companies say that this was a fast and effective way of manufacturing cigarettes, the machine that Bonsack created was imported to England. This machine helped develop the cigarette industry in several European countries. 

Over the years, cigarette manufacturers learned how to improve the cultivation and process of making cigarettes. That’s why they were able to lower the acid content of cigarette tobacco and made it easier for almost everyone to inhale. This significantly contributed to the major expansion and popularity of cigarette smoking during the early 20th century. During the first World War, the partiality against women smoking was broken, so the practice became widespread among women in the United States and Europe during the 1920s. 

During the 1950s and ‘60s, several medical research has produced evidence that linked cigarette smoking with illnesses such as emphysema, lung cancer, and heart disease. This is why some countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, tried to impose measures to discourage people from smoking cigarettes. However, despite growing awareness of the health risks regarding smoking cigarettes, smoking continued to increase during the 1980s and ‘90s, especially in less developed countries.