The History Of Cigar Smoking

Though knowing the history of cigar smoking is perhaps not at all important for the enjoyment of smoking, it is still interesting to consider that tobacco was only introduced to Europe a little more than 500 years ago, but it spread rapidly and with success and by the mid-16th century cigar smoking was already familiar throughout Europe. Moreover, even in the middle of the 19th century, cigar smoking was still much more predominant than cigarette smoking.

The Very Beginnings Of Cigar Smoking

Although we cannot know for sure when tobacco was first grown and when cigars were first smoked, we can be quite certain that Columbus brought tobacco to Europe. Most probably, though the inhabitants of the Caribbean Sea and Mesoamerica have smoked cigars from the beginning of the 10th century. Two of Columbus’ sailors, Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres must have been the first Europeans smoking a cigar, when they disembarked in Cuba and took some puffs from some primitively prepared cigars. Following this, many sailors took up the habit of smoking cigars, and smoking eventually spread to Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and finally to Great Britain.

Cigar Smoking Spread In Europe

Smoking really started spreading in Europe from the mid 16th century, and by the 1580s, it was in fashion among the upper classes. Some thought it had beneficial health effects, though some resented it like James I of England. Initially, men had to smoke it outdoors, in the stable or in the kitchen and women often frowned upon the habit. The first tobacco plantations were set up in America in Virginia and Maryland, but tobacco was still smoked only in pipes. The cigar itself is thought to have arrived in the mid 18th century, when Israel Putnam returned from Cuba, with a selection of Havana cigars. Production started before long, cigar factories were set up, by the early 19th century, domestic production was taking off. Production in Britain began in 1820.Around the same time, cigar smoking became so popular that European trains introduced smoking cars, and hotels and clubs set up smoking rooms.

Cigar Smoking The Last 200 Years

With the spread of smoking, cigarettes, paper cigars also appeared in the early 19th century, and provided a cheap alternative. Cigarette-making machines were introduced around the 1880s, and cigarette smoking became dominant over cigar smoking by World War I. The production of machine-made cigars began in Cuba as well, as the demand for cheap cigarettes grew. Smoking has become less popular since the risks of cigar smoke have been researched and published, however, in the last 20 years there has been a revival in the popularity of handmade cigars. Nowadays, Cuban handmade cigars are thought to be the best around the world.

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