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Chapter 14: Past Attacks on Smoking
A common misconception is that the war on smoking we are currently
experiencing is a result of the scientific discovery that smoking is harmful,
and that it is done to protect the health of the people. What people are not aware of, though, is that
this is not the first time in history smoking has been targeted. I mentioned in chapter 5 how the Nazis banned smoking and tried linking it to
cancer, but this was not the first attack either.
since smoking was introduced there have been people who despise it. There have
been those who dislike the smell, or find second-hand smoke irritating. There are those who believe that inhaling
smoke must be harmful and thus hate it, and there are those who simply
hate it for no real reason. Truth be
told, there have been people who hated smoking from day one. Christopher Columbus himself was one such
person. When he and his crew, Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres, reached Cuba
in 1492, his crew tried smoking the pipe whilst Columbus spoke against it, even
referring to his crew as descending to the level of “savages” and wrote
that ““it was not within their power to refrain from indulging in the
habit.” It was his crew, de Jerez
and de Torres, who put tobacco on their boat to take to Europe, thus introducing it to the Europeans for the
first time. Instantly, people hated it
just as much as others loved it, and the Catholic Church considered it ungodly
and heretical as it was a plant of the godless ‘Red Indians’.
The 1600s were a time of smoking regulation.
first-time offenders were whipped, had their noses slit, and were sent to
Siberia. Second-time offenders were executed. In
the rule of Sultan Murad IV, smokers were castrated for their habit and up to 18
smokers a day were being executed.
also killed smokers, by decapitation.
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