In regions like India and Sub-Saharan Africa, it merged with existing practices of smoking (mostly of cannabis).
In Europe, it introduced a new type of social activity and a form of drug intake which previously had been unknown.
Reports from the first European explorers and conquistadors to reach the Americas tell of rituals where native priests smoked themselves into such high degrees of intoxication that it is unlikely that the rituals were limited to just tobacco.
In 1612, six years after the settlement of Jamestown, John Rolfe was credited as the first settler to successfully raise tobacco as a cash crop.
In the case of cigarette smoking these substances are contained in a mixture of aerosol particles and gasses and include the pharmacologically active alkaloid nicotine; the vaporization creates heated aerosol and gas into a form that allows inhalation and deep penetration into the lungs where absorption into the bloodstream of the active substances occurs.
In some cultures, smoking is also carried out as a part of various rituals, where participants use it to help induce trance-like states that, they believe, can lead them to spiritual enlightenment.Perception surrounding smoking has varied over time and from one place to another: holy and sinful, sophisticated and vulgar, a panacea and deadly health hazard.In the 20th century, smoking came to be viewed in a decidedly negative light, especially in Western countries.Smoking generally has negative health effects, because smoke inhalation inherently poses challenges to various physiologic processes such as respiration.Diseases related to tobacco smoking have been shown to kill approximately half of long-term smokers when compared to average mortality rates faced by non-smokers.Many ancient civilizations, such as the Babylonians, Indians and Chinese, burnt incense as a part of religious rituals, as did the Israelites and the later Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches.Smoking in the Americas probably had its origins in the incense-burning ceremonies of shamans but was later adopted for pleasure, or as a social tool.Other smoking implements include pipes, cigars, bidis, hookahs, and bongs.Smoking can be dated to as early as 5000 BCE, and has been recorded in many different cultures across the world.The demand quickly grew as tobacco, referred to as "golden weed", revived the Virginia Company from its failed gold expeditions.In order to meet demands from the old world, tobacco was grown in succession, quickly depleting the land.