• Russell A. HarleyJr.


Nicotiana tabacum is America’s most famous plant. There is little evidence to support the thesis that mandrake of the Old Testament (Genesis 30) was tobacco, but the evidence is strong that tobacco was smoked in the new world 2,000 years ago by Mayan Indians. Columbus and other early European explorers described Indians chewing tobacco, using tobacco as snuff, and smoking tobacco in pipes and large and small cigars. The name was derived from the Haitian Indian word for a forked tubular inhaler called a “tabac”1 (Fig. 25-1). The forked end of the tabac was placed in the nostrils while the other end held the burning leaf or snuff. Central and South American Indians called tobacco “zig,” and the word for smoking was “zikar.” While searching for the great Chinese Khan, Luis de Torres and Jerez, members of Christopher Columbus’ first expedition, found Indian men and women smoking cigars on Hispanola 500 years ago. Jerez bears the distinction of being described as the first European habituated to tobacco.2,3


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Tobacco Smoke Environmental Tobacco Smoke Passive Smoking Pulmonary Emphysema 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

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  • Russell A. HarleyJr.

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