Chronography of Tobacco and Smoking

Page last modified 12 August 2023


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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 September 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 November 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

13 December 2022, New Zealand passed a law effectively making it impossible for anyone aged 14 or under there to ever start smoking. The country introduced a minimum age for buying tobacco products, that will rise by one year every year from now. In 2022, 8% of New Zealanders smoked daily, down from 9.4% in 2021, one of the lowest rates in the world.

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.



March 1993, Singapore banned under-18s from buying cigarettes or smoking in public



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 February 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.

29 November 2006, Allen Carr, British anti-smoking campaigner, died (born 2 September 1934).

24 January 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.

10 November 2004, The Scottish Executive announced it was to ban smoking in public places from June 2006.

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

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

2 September 1934, Allen Carr, British anti-smoking campaigner, was born (died 29 November 2006).



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

2 January 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 July 1966, In the USA, cigarette packets had to carry labels warning of the health risks.


General health awareness

4 October 2002, Betty Bullock of Newport Beach, California, a terminally ill cancer patient, won US$ 28 million punitive damages against the Philip Morris tobacco company for suppressing evidence on the link between smoking and cancer.

6 June 2001, A jury in Washington awarded lifelong smoker Richard Boeken, 56, US$ 3 billion after deciding that tobacco giant Philip Morris was responsible for his cancer.

15 January 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 November 1998 by a settlement of US$206 billion by the 4 largest US tobacco firms to agree claims by all US States.

7 January 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 June 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 May 1988, The US Surgeon-General declared that nicotine�s �pharmacological and behavioural processes� were addictive in similar ways to heroin and cocaine.

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

29 March 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 January 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 July 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 June 1957, The Medical Research Council announced that smoking caused cancer.

26 June 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 May 1956. The UK Health Minister refused to back an anti-smoking campaign because he wasn�t convinced it was harmful.

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

24 January 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 January 1926, British surgeon Sir Berkeley Moynihan said cancer of the tongue was partly caused by smoking.


Rise of filter tip cigarettes

27 May 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 August 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 March 1923. Scientists in Paris claimed smoking is beneficial.

11April 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 October 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.

1908, New York made smoking by women in public illegal.

2 August 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.

1896, Although women in Britain has smoked in private since around 1890, the Duchesse de Clermont-Tonnerre shocked guests at the Savoy Hotel, London, by lighting up in the dining room.

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

1854, During the Crimean War, British soldiers acquired the habit of smoking cigarettes from the Turkish soldiers. Previously, smoking in Britain was more an activity for the wealthy.

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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