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Tobacco (From Mr NANA, Provincial High School of Kaya)

The first European smoker was Christopher Columbus towards the end of the 15th Century. He picked up the habit after meeting the Indians of San Salvador, who had already invented cigars, pipes and snuff.
Subsequently, Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas became the wealthiest and most powerful colonies of the New World thanks to the thriving trade of supplying recently addicted Europeans with tobacco. In fact, their tobacco production was so intensive and lucrative that the eager colonists had to be ordered to grow crops in order to feed the population.
Later, in the aftermath of the Civil War, the devastated South was literally saved by tobacco.

But the tobacco business really started rolling in 1911 when the first blended cigarettes were produced by R.J. Reynolds Industries. They were Called Camels and were quickly followed by rival brands such as Lucky Strike and Chesterfields. Very soon, people were smoking here, there and everywhere – Smoking had become smart, fashionable and modern. Advertisers hit the jack pot with such Catch-phrases as “so round, so firm, so fully packed”, and characters like the Marlboro Man and Top manufacturer Philip Morris became household names. Generations of moviegoers worshipped puffing Star from Groucho Max to Humphrey Bogart, from Rita Hayworth to James Dean.

Be that as it may, the Golden Leaf-less affectionately known as the Evil Weed-has always had its fair share of enemies who despised Smokers and were disgusted by their habit. They sensed long before the discoveries of medical Science, that it was not particularly good for the health. Nearly four centuries ago in 1604, King James I, feeling a certain repulsion for pipe-smoking Londoners, condemned smoking as” a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to nose, harmful to the brain and dangerous to the lungs”. Protestant preachers in the mid-1800 s asserted that smoking undermined morals and led to heavy rum drinking. At the time of Prohibition in the twenties, public outrage was so strong that nine States prohibited cigarettes.

From a magazine article


Snuff = powder ;
smart = clever ; sting ; quick
Aftermath = period which follows an event and the effects which it causes
Jack pot = largest prize offered in a competition
Blended = mixed ; to assert = state or claim opinion
To puff = to smoke
Undermined = weaken (ed)
Loathsome = disgusting ; hateful ; Lungs = poumons


1) Why were the Colonists ordered to grow other crops to feed the population? (3 lines) (4 pts)
2) What has made cigarettes so popular according to the text and what were the trade- marks of the most famous cigarettes? (5 lines) (5 pts)
3) Where did the cigarettes enemies come from and what were the arguments of each one of them? (5 lines) (5 pts)
4) Say in a 6 to 8 lines paragraph what consequences cigarettes smoke can have on the human body. (3 pts)


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