What’s inside a cigarette?

Tobacco smoking is a practice which has changed little since American natives first stuffed the tobacco they cultivated in the hills of what is today modern Mexico into hollow reeds.

Cigarette components

Cigarette components

As the practice spread through the Americas, different cultures wrapped their tobacco in vegetable leaves or corn husks, or put it in pipes for smoking.

Spanish explorers enjoyed smoking and returned to the Old World with cigars (tobacco wrapped in tobacco leaves). In the beginning of the 16th century, beggars in Seville, Spain developed the first paper-rolled cigarettes when they collected discarded cigar butts, shredded them, and rolled them in scraps of paper. Although the Spanish elite first dismissed them as recycled garbage, these cigarillos, or little cigars, eventually gained popularity during the 18th century.

Cigarette smoking spread to Italy and Portugal, and eventually to the rest of Europe and into Asia.

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