- Origins were probably in Early Egypt, Judah, China have no reference to tobacco.
- Raleigh said to have brought it to England.
- Effeects, physical and mental.
- Not necessary, and easily dispensed with.
We do not know with certainty which of the nations was first used tobacco. The old countires, Egypt, China, and Syria, have no references in their literature or inscriptions to the use of the herb. The first contact that Englishmen made with users of the “weed” was when Elizabethan sailors visited South America and found the inhabitants using the leaves to smoke in stone pipes. Raleigh brought some home, it is said, and used it privately. Once a servant combing in quietly and, seeing smoke arising from his master, quickly threw water over him.
Tobacco is a plant with broad green leaves and grows in warm temperate climates. The best varities come from North America, in particular from the State of Virginia. The use of tobacco is almost general in western Europe. The revenue from the taxation of tobacco in Britain produces hundreds of millions of pounds. It is used in France, in Russia, in every European country. Some use it in pipes; »ther prefer cigarettes or cigars.
Tobacco produces a fragrant smoke, and one of the products of tobacco smoke is nicotine. This is a poison, which if insufficient quantities, would destroy life. It is used sometimes in a spray to kill insects in gardens. In tobacco smoking, there is very little, but it is enough to affect the nerves. Strangely enough, it seems first to upset the nervous system, and then to soothe it. It is like alcohol, in that a little of the poison has the effect of relieving and bad effects made by the same poison on the previous day. But moderate smoking has little effect.
On the credit side, to smoke a little is a comfort to a tired man, it has a soothing mental effect and helps him to forget the trouble of the day. Whether it is the expensive cigar of the rich man, imported from Manila or Havana, or the rough “didi” of the villager, tobacco has an appeal for all classes. It is merely a habit, and the man who has never smoked does not understand the desire to smoke. On the whole, tobacco is not a good investment for money in times when food and clothes are scarce, and we are inclined to think that Raleigh did not do a good turn when he brought it to the west.