Chronography of Tobacco and Smoking

Page last modified 31/5/2022


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See Morals and Fashions page for more social morals timelines


Progressive bans on smoking



2007, Belgium banned smoking in all restaurants and bars serving food.

1/9/1987, Belgium became one of the first countries to ban smoking inside public buildings, two decades before Britain followed suit.



2005, Bhutan banned smoking in all public places.

15/11/2004, Bhutan became the first country to ban all sales of cigarettes and tobacco. Anyone caught selling these products could be charged with smuggling.



6/1969, Canada banned tobacco advertising on radio and TV.



2005, Cuba banned smoking in workplaces.



2007, Denmark banned smoking in restaurants, bars and clubs



2007, France banned smoking in workplaces and on public transport.



3/2004, Ireland became the first EU country to ban smoking in the workplace.



2005, Italy banned smoking in enclosed public places, cafes and restaurants.



2004, The Netherlands banned smoking in workplaces and on public transport.


New Zealand

2004, New Zealand banned smoking in indoor public places including bars and restaurants.


North Korea

7/2007, Smoking was banned in Kim Jong Il�s home, his office, and in any public place he might visit.



2004, Norway banned smoking in public buildings, cafes, bars and restautrants.



2006, Spain banned smoking in workplaces and on public transport.



5/2017, Cigarettes sold in the UK could now only be retailed in plain packets.

10/2/2014, In the UK, MPs voted to ban smoking in cars carrying children.

7/2007, The UK banned smoking in �enclosed workplaces�, including bars and restaurants.

4/2007, Wales banned snoking in public places.

24/1/2005, JD Wetherspoon announced that all its 650 pubs were to be smoke-free from 2006, with 60 of its London pubs banning smoking by May 2005.

31/7/1965, The last advert for cigarettes appeared on British TV.

8/2/1965. The British Government, Health Minister Kenneth Robinson, announced a ban on cigarette advertising on TV, to take effect on 31/7/1965.



1/1/1998, California banned smoking in all its bars and restaurants.

2/1/1997, The US State of California extended its smoking ban to bars and other drinking establishments.

1988, In the US, smoking was banned on all airline flights of less than 2 hours duration.

1971, Cigarette adverts were banned on US radio and television.

27/7/1966, In the USA, cigarette packets had to carry labels warning of the health risks.


General health awareness

15/1/1998, Five cigarette manufacturers agreed a settlement with the State of Texas for US$ 7.25 billion in compensation for the treatment costs of tobacco-related diseases. This was the largest payment in history. However this settlement was dwarfed on 20/11/1998 by a settlement of US$206 billion by the 4 largest US tobacco firms to agree claims by all US States.

7/1/1993, In the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency released the results of a 4-year study proving that second-hand cigarette smoke was killing 3,000 non-smokers a year through lung cancer, as well as causing asthma attacks and respiratory infections in babies.

1992, Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals, in Switzerland, produced the first nicotine skin patch.

24/6/1992, The family of US woman Rose Cipollone, who died of lung cancer after 42 years of smoking, succeeded in a lawsuit against the cigarette companies.

16/5/1988, The US Surgeon-General declared that nicotine�s �pharmacological and behavioural processes� were addictive in similar ways to heroin and cocaine.

31/5/1987, The World Health Organisation first designated this day �No Tobacco Day�, to highlight the health problems caused by smoking.

29/3/1985, Luther Terry, US Surgeon-General whose report in 1964 concluded that smoking caused cancer, died.

1976, Adult smoking prevalence in the USA had decreased, but total cigarette consumption wa sup, due to a growing population and the increasing popularity of cigarettes with teenagers, especially girls.

1980, Nicorette chewing gum (registered in the USA 1981) became available in the UK, as a method of getting off cigarette addiction.

1971, Awareness of the health risks of passive smoking began to increase.

1964, Public pressure forced the tobacco industry to stop advertising in college newspapers, sports programs and on college radio.

11/1/1964. Health experts in America published the first warnings that cigarettes could be dangerous for your health.

1961, US cigarette producers spent US$ 115 million on TV advertising, up from US$ 40 million in 1957. Cancer fears were threatening their sales.

12/7/1957, US Surgeon-General Leroy E Burney announced the US Public Health Service�s belief that there was a direct causal relationship between smoking and lung cancer.

27/6/1957, The Medical Research Council announced that smoking caused cancer.

26/6/1957. The UK government began an anti-smoking campaign, despite fears that this would cause tax revenue to fall. As recently as 1956, the Health Minister, Mr R Turton, had said there was no proof that smoking caused any harm, but recent reports in the UK and USA now suggested links to some bronchial and heart diseases.

7/5/1956. The UK Health Minister refused to back an anti-smoking campaign because he wasn�t convinced it was harmful.

12/1/1954, A UK official committee linked cigarettes with cancer.

24/1/1927, The British Medical Association warned that cancer deaths, especially of the chest and tongue, had risen sharply in the past 20 years. Smoking had become much more popular over this period.

25/1/1926, British surgeon Sir Berkeley Moynihan said cancer of the tongue was partly caused by smoking.


Rise of filter tip cigarettes

27/5/1959, Sales of filter tipped cigarettes helped tobacco manufacturers maintain sales after recent reports linking smoking to cancer.

1926, Du Maurier produced the first filter cigarette. In te 1930s filter tips were advertised as �removing many of the throat irritants� from smoking.

1907, The first filter tip cigarettes were produced. Cork was initially used for the filter.


General other tobacco chronology

1933, �Mentholated� cigarettes were on sale, marketed as being more sophisticated than ordinary ones.

1930, Hollywood helped glamourise cigarette smoking by having film stars smoke in many films.

10/8/1928, British cigarette smoking was rising fast (see Cigarette Cards, 1902). In 1924 the country consumed 77,458,000 lbs of tobacco, up from 23,766,000 lbs in 1907, according to figures from the Imperial economic Committee. In 1927 Britons consumed 3.4 lbs of tobacco per head. All the increase was from cigarettes; pipe smoking and cigars had declined. Cigarette sales were boosted by marketing techniques such as free cards, and cigarette smoking had become a powerful symbol of female emancipation. Younger females also saw the habit as romantic. However some doctors were concerned about links to the rise in various cancers.

21/3/1923. Scientists in Paris claimed smoking is beneficial.

11/4/1921, Iowa became the first US State to impose a cigarette tax, of 2 cents per pack. By 1991 this tax stood at 36 cents.

28/10/1912, Birth of Sir Richard Doll, British cancer specialist who proved the link between cigarette smoking and cancer.

1910, US cigarette sales reached 8.6 billion; 62% of sales were controlled by the American Tobacco Trust, set up in 1890. US tobacco companies spent US$ 18.1 million on advertising this year.

2/8/1907, Dr Herbert Tidswell, a Devon GP, spoke out at a meeting of the British Medical Association about the undesirability of allowing children to smoke. He claimed smoking could cause cancer, but other doctors were unconvinced that moderate smoking was dangerous.

1902, Cigarette Cards were first used in cigarette packets. They were a powerful sales tool, used until well after World War Two, as people tried to collect full sets of them. By 1936 there vwere �cartophilists�, those who collected, arranged and studied such cards; a hobby which peaked in the 1930s and 40s.

27/2/1883, Oscar Hammerstein patented the first practical cigar rolling machine

1853, In Cuba, Don Luis opened the world�s first mechanised factory for mass-producing cigarettes.

1843, The Manufacture Francaise des Tabacs (French Tobacco Factory) opened as the world�s first commercial cigarette factory.

1761, The first association between tobacco and cancer was observed by London physician John Hill. He reported six cases of �polypusses� related to excessive use of snuff in his work, �Cautions Against the Immoderate Use of Snuff�.

1612,Tobacco cultivation began in Virgina, USA.

1604, King James I of England described smoking tobacco as �a custome lothsome to the eye, hatefull to the nose, harmful to the braine, dangerous to the lungs, and in the blacke and stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomless�. He imposed large import taxes on tobacco.

1550, Tobacco first brought to Europe, from the Americas, and cultivated in Spain.


UK smoking prevalence


All adults












































US smoking prevalence %


Adults 21+

Adult males

Adult females














US cigarette production, consumption (m = millions)




Per capita, adults 18+

% smokers



547,200 m







42(M), 31(F)



517,100 m







52(M), 34(F)



524,000 m




130,000 m





82,200 m





66,700 m





48,000 m

43,000 m




35,300 m





8,600 m

10,000 m




50 m





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