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6,000 B.C.

Native Americans begin to grow tobacco plants. Tobacco is originally used for religious and medicinal purposes.

Over 8,000 years ago, Native Americans in the Americas began cultivating tobacco plants, not only for their practical uses but also incorporating them into religious ceremonies and medicinal practices. The tobacco plant held cultural significance, serving as a vital part of Native American traditions.


Tobacco is introduced to Europe after Christopher Columbus is given dried tobacco leaves as a gift from the Native Americans.

The introduction of tobacco to Europe took place in 1492 when Christopher Columbus received dried tobacco leaves as a gift from Native Americans in the Caribbean. This exchange marked the beginning of the global diffusion of smoking, as tobacco became a commodity transcending geographical boundaries and cultural contexts.


Tobacco use increases throughout Europe and Africa.

In the 17th century, the use of tobacco witnessed a significant surge throughout Europe and Africa. It became a popular social activity, with tobacco consumption extending beyond medicinal and religious purposes. The widespread adoption of tobacco in various forms shaped social dynamics and cultural practices during this period.


The first American tobacco companies open their doors.

The 18th century saw the opening of the first American tobacco companies, signaling the formalization and expansion of the tobacco industry. These companies played a crucial role in shaping the production, distribution, and consumption of tobacco products, contributing to the growth of a global market.


Scientists isolate nicotine from tobacco for the first time.

A breakthrough in scientific understanding occurred in 1828 when researchers successfully isolated nicotine from tobacco for the first time. This discovery paved the way for a deeper exploration of the chemical components of tobacco, laying the foundation for future studies on the addictive and harmful nature of nicotine.


Scientists Doll and Hill publish the first evidence linking smoking with lung cancer.

A turning point in public health occurred in 1954 when scientists Richard Doll and A. Bradford Hill published pioneering evidence linking smoking to lung cancer. This groundbreaking research raised widespread awareness about the severe health risks associated with tobacco use, leading to increased public scrutiny and regulatory measures.


Adult smoking rates peaked in the United States. 

In 1963, adult smoking rates peaked in the United States, with approximately 42% of the population being smokers. This marked a critical juncture in tobacco consumption patterns, leading to increased awareness of the health implications associated with widespread smoking. A total of 523 billion cigarettes were smoked during this year, highlighting the prevalence of tobacco use.


The Surgeon General Report is published in the United States, officially recognizing the correlation between smoking and lung cancer.

The Surgeon General's Report of 1964 was a seminal moment in public health. The report not only linked smoking to lung cancer but also identified it as a cause of heart disease. This revelation prompted a significant shift in public perception and set the stage for subsequent anti-smoking campaigns and regulations.


New legislation requires health warnings to appear on cigarette packages.

The introduction of health warnings on cigarette packages in 1966 was a proactive measure to inform consumers about the risks of smoking. This regulatory step represented a commitment to public health and aimed to empower individuals to make informed choices about tobacco consumption.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves nicotine gum as a method to help people quit smoking.

The approval of nicotine gum by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1984 provided smokers with a novel tool for quitting. Nicotine replacement therapies, including gum, patches, and lozenges, became essential components of smoking cessation programs, offering support to those attempting to break free from nicotine addiction.


The first laws are passed which prohibits smoking in restaurants and airplanes.

The implementation of laws prohibiting smoking in specific public spaces, such as restaurants and airplanes, in 1987 marked a milestone in protecting non-smokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. This move reflected a growing understanding of the adverse health effects associated with passive smoking.


Smoking is officially banned on all public airlines.

The comprehensive ban on smoking on all public airlines in 1989 was a significant achievement in creating smoke-free air travel environments. This not only safeguarded the health of passengers and crew members but also contributed to changing societal norms regarding smoking in enclosed spaces.


Nicotine patches are introduced.

The introduction of nicotine patches in 1992 provided a convenient and discreet method for individuals looking to quit smoking. Nicotine patches delivered controlled doses of nicotine without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, aiding in the process of tobacco cessation.


The U.S. Surgeon General releases a report confirming that secondhand smoke in any capacity is harmful to health.

The U.S. Surgeon General's report in 2006 not only confirmed the harmful effects of secondhand smoke but also emphasized its association with respiratory illnesses in children. This underscored the urgency of implementing policies to protect non-smokers, especially in public spaces.


E-cigarettes are introduced.

The introduction of e-cigarettes in 2007 marked a controversial shift in smoking habits. While touted by some as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes, concerns were raised about their appeal to youth and the long-term health effects of vaping.


The sale of flavored cigarettes, except menthol, are prohibited.

The prohibition of flavored cigarettes in 2009 aimed to curb the attractiveness of these products, particularly among young people. Flavored cigarettes were perceived as more palatable and appealing, making them a target for regulatory measures.


Indiana becomes a smoke-free state, prohibiting smoking in most public places and workplaces.

Indiana's decision to become a smoke-free state in 2012 was part of a broader national trend toward creating healthier public spaces. This legislation contributed to reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and promoting overall community well-being.


Breathe Easy Hamilton County is established.

Breathe Easy Hamilton County, established as a local initiative, works to engage in community-based efforts to raise awareness about the hazards of smoking and promote tobacco-free living. 


Indiana passes the Federal Tobacco 21 law which raises the minimum age of sale of all tobacco products to 21.

The passage of the Federal Tobacco 21 law in 2020 aimed to address concerns about youth access to tobacco products by raising the minimum age of sale to 21. This legislative measure aligned with public health goals to reduce the initiation of smoking among young people.


The sale of flavored e-cigarette cartridges is prohibited.

The prohibition of flavored e-cigarette cartridges in 2020 was a response to the growing popularity of flavored vaping products, particularly among youth. This regulatory step aimed to mitigate the allure of flavored e-cigarettes and prevent their use among younger populations.

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