A Concise History Of Tobacco Smoking

Humanity’s love affair with tobacco smoking dates back to 5000 BC in the Americas. There is no archeological proof as to whether a cigar holder was already in use at that time. For sure, however, smoke pipes were already in vogue then, as ancient Mayan artifacts would prove. From its inception, smoking was resorted to as a social act, a stress reliever, and an addicting vice. As a bad habit, it was never immune from persecution from the beginning. To illustrate, some rulers from ancient to later periods of human history punished their followers for smoking tobacco. Just some of these rulers were Murad IV of the Ottoman Empire, Manchu of China’s Qing Dynasty, and the Patriarch of Moscow in 1634.

Despite efforts to control it, the tobacco trade would reach its zenith during the colonization activities of European countries in North and South America, and in Asia. The British trade with China would further boost the increasingly flourishing and lucrative trade. As a smoking accessory, cigar holders must have been invented somewhere in the middle of the 19th century. E.A. S. Watt, in his 1905 book The Love Letters of a Genius, recounts the experience of a certain Prosper Merimee who received a cigar holder as a gift from a Siamese ambassador in 1861.
Henry A. Stone from Brooklyn, New York patented the invention of this accessory in 1881. Apart from the prestige that owning the cigar accessory carries, it plays a key role towards keeping cigars fresh and in good shape. In an article on August 9, 1979 in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, Glenne Currie quotes the comedian George Burns as saying: “I don’t bother with Cuban cigars…I use a holder. And with a holder a 35-cent cigar smokes just as good…”

The anti-smoking movement, both in organized and disorganized forms would continue to impinge on the smoking populace of which the late comedian was a powerful spokesperson. Despite the rising tide of healthy living advocacy in the 1980s, and later, a rash of class action suit settlements beginning in the 1990s, smoking with a limited amount of tobacco content would persist, proving that an old habit just does not die.

Today, although a cigar holder comes in different formats, it is slowly becoming a novelty. Its chief function is to encase a cigar and keep it in perfect shape and form while keeping the tobacco content fresh. The most common version is a single aluminum or stainless steel tube. However, some models can hold two sticks or more and in this case, designers usually enhance the holder with leather or suede binding. Although demand for cigars has been declining since 1997, humanity’s love affair with Big Tobacco would persist only this time in cigarette format. The cigarette holder would gain ground during the first seven decades of the 20th century. Nowadays, however, the filter built into most cigarettes seems to have totally displaced the holder’s function.

Source – Goarticles.com


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