Member only
Episode
250

A History of Smoking

Apr 1, 2022
History
-
24
minutes

There are over a billion smokers across the world, and over 7 trillion cigarettes are smoked every year.

In this episode, we'll look at the history of smoking, from the "discovery" of tobacco by Christopher Columbus to how tobacco companies keep us smoking, even when we know the dangers to our health.

Continue learning

Get immediate access to a more interesting way of improving your English
Become a member
Already a member? Login
Subtitles will start when you press 'play'
You need to subscribe for the full subtitles
Already a member? Login
Download transcript & key vocabulary pdf
Download transcript & key vocabulary pdfDownload transcript & key vocabulary pdfDownload transcript only available after your trial

Transcript

[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:00:12] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about the history of smoking. Now people have smoked all sorts of things for thousands of years, but nothing has ever been more popular than tobacco.

[00:00:38] Tobacco, and cigarettes in particular, have a fascinating but sordid history; we’ve known about the dangers of smoking for decades, perhaps even centuries. And yet, smoking has long been marketed as something glamourous, cool, and aspirational

[00:00:57] So, today, we are going to look at the early history of tobacco, why people started smoking in the first place, how it became one of the world’s largest industries, and what the future of smoking might look like. 

[00:01:13] Now, depending on where and where you grew up, one of the smells that is probably most recognisable and familiar to you is the smell of cigarette smoke. 

[00:01:26] If you’re over 30, you doubtless saw many people smoking indoors, and you also probably saw an ashtray on nearly every coffee table you sat at. 

[00:01:38] And you may even remember your office or workplace being filled with the smell of cigarette smoke.

[00:01:46] These days, of course, it’s a bit different. It is illegal to smoke in indoor public spaces in much of the United States, and Europe. Many other countries, even the historically cigarette-loving China have also instituted strict smoking bans. 

[00:02:07] New Zealand has even gone a step further and proposed a plan to one day end smoking entirely in the country, by banning the sale of cigarettes to the youngest generation, making it illegal for anyone born after 2008 to buy cigarettes. 

[00:02:27] Yet in spite of all of these measures, more than one billion people, 14% of the entire global population, still smoke cigarettes, and the cigarette industry is still among the most profitable in the world. 

[00:02:43] But how exactly did cigarettes, and tobacco smoking in general, become as widespread as it did?

[00:02:53] Well, when we imagine someone smoking, we probably imagine them smoking cigarettes. But the activity of smoking is, of course, much much older than the cigarette. 

[00:03:06] Tobacco is thought to have been cultivated and smoked for thousands of years by indigenous peoples in the Americas. 

[00:03:14] For these indigenous groups across North and South America, tobacco played a very different role than it does in many cultures today. 

[00:03:24] These groups considered tobacco to be sacred, to be holy and used it in ceremonies, for prayer, and for medicinal purposes. 

[00:03:35] Many indigenous communities still use tobacco this way, though not nearly as much as they once did. 

[00:03:43] The turning point in tobacco’s history, however — at least as far as the rest of the world is concerned — happened in 1492, when the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus arrived on the island of Cuba. As you probably know, he actually thought he had arrived in China, but that’s a story for another episode. 

[00:04:07] In Cuba, Columbus encountered members of the island’s native population, and observed something rather curious; they had rolled some leaves into tubes, had set fire to one end of them, and they were breathing in the smoke. 

[00:04:27] When Columbus tried smoking these mysterious leaves himself, he found that he rather liked how it made him feel. 

[00:04:37] Smoking on the whole was new to Columbus and his men, as almost nobody in Europe smoked at the time. 

[00:04:46] The leaves were tobacco — or ‘cohíba’ in the indigenous Taíno language. Columbus, however, heard the Taíno word ‘tabako’ — a word which actually referred to those rolled tubes the locals were smoking, not the plant itself — anyhow the name stuck. 

[00:05:08] Although this was the first time Columbus had puffed on a cigarette, it wasn’t actually the first time he had encountered tobacco. 

[00:05:17] Before landing in Cuba, on the Bahamian island known today as San Salvador, he had been given tobacco leaves as a gift by the natives. But he didn’t know what they were, or what to do with them, so he simply threw them overboard, he threw them into the water off his ship. 

[00:05:37] Columbus brought tobacco leaves and seeds back with him to Spain, he taught people how to smoke them, and the habit caught on amongst the Spanish. Portuguese sailors brought tobacco, and the pastime of smoking, back to their country too. 

[00:05:55] And Tobacco continued to spread rapidly throughout the continent.

[00:06:00] In the late 16th century, the French diplomat Jean Nicot encountered a tobacco plant in Lisbon, in Portugal, while on a trip from his native France. 

[00:06:12] Nicot, who had learned of tobacco’s supposed curative properties, sent some tobacco seeds to the then-queen of France, Catherine de Médici, who suffered badly from headaches.

[00:06:26] The tobacco seeds he sent came with instructions. She was to crush the seeds into powder and inhale it, to breathe it up into her nose. 

[00:06:41] This apparently proved successful, and the practice of inhaling ground tobacco seeds — a preparation known as ‘snuff’ — caught on

[00:06:53] Snuff-taking, as it was called, took hold in France, quickly spreading to England and the rest of Europe. 

[00:07:01] Pipe smoking became popular during this time as well. 

[00:07:06] As with Catherine de Médici, tobacco was used as a treatment for all sorts of health problems, even cancer. The claims about its medicinal properties were, of course, dubious at best. 

[00:07:21] Tobacco’s global expansion had truly started, and smoking became a popular activity all across Europe, north Africa, the Middle East, and China. 

[00:07:32] The centre for global production was in the harsh slave plantations of the southern United States, but it was also being grown in places like India, China, and West Africa. 

[00:07:46] Now, while cigarettes are thought to have been invented as far back as the 1600s, by beggars in Seville, Spain, the pre-rolled cigarette didn’t really take hold until the 19th century. 

[00:08:02] This was mainly because, prior to that point, they were made almost entirely by hand. There were some machines that existed, but they simply weren’t very efficient.

[00:08:14] This made the pre-rolled cigarette a relatively high-end luxury item, one which the average person couldn’t really afford — a far cry from the packs of pre-rolled cigarettes sold nowadays. 

[00:08:30] The one thing that made a huge impact on the industry was a little invention called the Bonsack Machine. In 1880, a man named James Bonsack invented a machine that could roll up to 210 cigarettes a minute. 

[00:08:49] This was a huge deal, to say the least.

[00:08:53] Bonsack went into business with a man named James Buchanan Duke, and by the late 1880s, the men were making 4 million cigarettes daily. 

[00:09:06] Cigarettes could now be mass-produced, which reduced the cost, and made them available to almost anyone, and as any smoker knows, it’s far more convenient to not have to roll your own cigarettes.

[00:09:21] Cigarettes were even famously included in soldiers’ ration packs during World War I, as a way for them to cope with both boredom and the stresses of trench warfare. Sales of cigarettes also boomed during World War II.

[00:09:39] As a result, by 1950, around half of the adult population in the industrialised world smoked cigarettes. 

[00:09:49] Now, most people today are at least somewhat aware of the dangers of smoking, and whether or not you are a smoker you don’t need me to tell you that smoking is not a very good idea from a health point of view. 

[00:10:04] But back in, say, the 1940s or 50s, people just didn’t have the information we have today. 

[00:10:12] There were rumours that smoking led to a higher rate of certain diseases, and smokers tended to cough more and have trouble breathing compared to non-smokers, but there wasn’t hard, scientific evidence about the dangers of smoking. 

[00:10:31] On January 12th, 1964, however, the New York Times published a story that erased that doubt altogether. 

[00:10:41] The headline, printed on the newspaper’s front page in big, bold letters, read: ‘Cigarettes Peril Health, U.S. Report Concludes.’ 

[00:10:52] Peril, by the way, means harm, causes danger to.

[00:10:57] Cigarette smoking, the article stated, contributed so substantially to the U.S. death rate that immediate action would need to be taken to prevent further harm. 

[00:11:10] These days, it’s common knowledge that cigarettes can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. There are graphic adverts and public service announcements that show just how bad the effects of smoking can be on our health. 

[00:11:28] Yet when Surgeon General Luther Terry released his report during a January 11th press conference, it was a bombshell

[00:11:39] So, why exactly did the report have such a huge effect on people? 

[00:11:44] Well, prior to the report’s release, doctors were unable to prove that there was a definitive link between smoking and cancer. 

[00:11:53] Yes, people certainly felt some of the effects, from throat irritation, to coughing, to shortness of breath. 

[00:12:01] And doctors were also starting to notice that people who smoked were often more likely to develop certain diseases. 

[00:12:10] Yet, no one knew exactly how bad the risks were. 

[00:12:14] To understand just how disturbing this news must have been, it’s useful to remember quite how important smoking was in many peoples’ daily lives. 

[00:12:25] Tobacco is, of course, an addictive substance. It contains the chemical compound of nicotine, which is a stimulant

[00:12:34] Simply put, nicotine makes you feel good, and it was that feeling that Christopher Columbus enjoyed so much on his trip to Cuba. 

[00:12:44] But tobacco isn’t just physically addictive; it’s a major part of many people’s daily routine, particularly their social lives. 

[00:12:54] Whether it is with the morning coffee, at a break at work or over a drink at a pub after work, as any smoker knows, the cigarette is often a fundamental part of social life, and this was especially so during the years before the Surgeon General’s warning.

[00:13:14] Now this, as it turns out, the fact that the cigarette was an integral part of life, was not entirely accidental

[00:13:23] Cigarette companies were, and to some extent still are, masters at advertising. 

[00:13:30] From around the 1920s onward, adverts for cigarettes were colourful and elaborate, and companies spared no expense in their design. 

[00:13:41] Tobacco companies knew that they were all selling the same end product, dried tobacco leaves wrapped in paper, but they needed to persuade people that their product was unique.

[00:13:54] Cigarettes started to show up in a number of Hollywood films, smoked by some of the most glamourous actors and actresses of the time, from James Dean to Audrey Hepburn. They were also advertised in magazines, on the television and on the radio. 

[00:14:12] The messages were not subtle

[00:14:15] Adverts for companies like Camel, Marlboro, and Lucky Strike portrayed smoking in an aspirational light, with photos of beautiful women, ruggedly handsome men, and happy couples. 

[00:14:28] Smoking was cool, it was something done by the beautiful, the rich and the famous.

[00:14:35] Much like adverts for things like cars, clothing, and cologne, cigarette adverts promoted a lifestyle, not just a product. 

[00:14:46] And many of these adverts even claimed that their cigarettes were healthier than the others; one 1946 print advert for the brand Camel claimed that “More Doctors Smoke Camel Than Any Other Cigarette.” 

[00:15:01] Some even claimed that their cigarettes were safe for pregnant women. 

[00:15:06] There were also ‘light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes, which were marketed as a healthier choice. 

[00:15:13] Nowadays, these claims seem rather suspect

[00:15:17] But, back then, of course the information about smoking’s health risks just wasn't as widespread; people had no reason to believe any differently. 

[00:15:28] But despite the best efforts of the tobacco industry, it was fighting a losing battle against the scientific evidence.

[00:15:37] In fact, by 1958, 44 percent of Americans already believed smoking caused cancer, and a number of medical associations warned that tobacco use could cause lung and heart disease. 

[00:15:53] To counter, to fight this growing belief in the ill effects of tobacco, in 1958 some of the largest American tobacco companies formed the Tobacco Institute, an organisation which aimed to undermine the research that linked smoking with disease. 

[00:16:14] Once it was established, the Tobacco Institute was hell-bent on trying to preserve its product’s reputation.

[00:16:23] Yet, try as it might, it was fighting a losing battle.

[00:16:28] Since the Surgeon General Luther Terry released his bombshell report in 1964, dozens of other reports have come out that linked smoking to chronic illness and death.

[00:16:41] People might have liked smoking, they might have liked the feeling of smoking cigarettes but they didn’t like the idea of dying, and smokers started quitting the habit and teenagers stopped taking it up, at least to the same degree that they had in previous years.

[00:17:00] But it was in the 1980s and 1990s, that tobacco companies started to feel the legal consequences of being more concerned with profit than public health. 

[00:17:13] In 1996, a man named Dr. Jeffrey Wigand — a former executive at the U.S. tobacco company Brown & Williamson — revealed that his company had added harmful chemicals to its products in order to make them more addictive

[00:17:31] Perhaps the most groundbreaking case, however, was something called the Master Settlement Agreement. In 1998, Brown & Williamson, along with three of the U.S.’ largest tobacco companies, would be forced to pay $206 billion — around €350 billion in today’s money— over a period of 25 years. 

[00:17:57] The money went towards covering tobacco-related healthcare costs in the United States, and the settlement put an end to many of the industry’s most harmful marketing efforts. 

[00:18:10] Many individuals have also succeeded in suing tobacco companies over smoking-related health issues. One of the most famous was Howard Engle, a paediatrician who, along with a group of other plaintiffs, other people in the case, successfully sued the tobacco industry in 1994 for smoking-related health problems, forcing the tobacco companies to pay out $145 billion. 

[00:18:41] And since the start of the 1990s, the leaders of the tobacco industry continue to face lawsuits like these, and they have paid out hundreds of billions of Euros in damages to both victims of smoking-related illnesses and their families. 

[00:18:59] And yet, Big Tobacco — the name given to the world’s most powerful tobacco companies — shows no sign of going anywhere.

[00:19:09] Even though smoking rates in the United States and the U.K. have been falling for decades, and global rates have been falling on the whole, population growth has meant that more cigarettes are being smoked by more people than ever before. 

[00:19:26] Indeed, in 2019 there were an estimated 7.41 trillion cigarettes smoked worldwide by 1.14 billion people.

[00:19:38] And although there are more cigarettes being smoked than ever before, and there is no shortage of current customers for Big Tobacco, the percentage of adults who smoke is falling, and the percentage of teenagers taking up the habit is also falling.

[00:19:56] This might be a good thing as far as public health is concerned, but it presents a rather large problem for Big Tobacco. 

[00:20:06] Big Tobacco knows that it has an incredibly addictive product that its users physically need to use multiple times a day and have great trouble stopping using. 

[00:20:18] With over a billion smokers worldwide, cigarette companies make vast amounts of money, but the business model isn’t sustainable long-term because fewer and fewer young people are taking up smoking and, well, it’s not a nice thing to say but the nature of smoking is that it doesn’t help its customers live a long and healthy life.

[00:20:41] In developing countries with less regulation about tobacco advertising, Big Tobacco can continue to use the same strategies that worked to get hundreds of millions of Americans and Europeans smoking, but in more regulated environments they need to innovate and develop new products.

[00:21:02] E-cigarettes, or “vapes”, for example, which allow the user to inhale nicotine through vapour, have - as I'm sure you know - become enormously popular in recent years. 

[00:21:16] This is particularly true among the younger generation; in 2018, over 20 percent of high school students in the U.S. vapedvaped is the word for using an e-cigarette – vs just 8% for cigarettes. 

[00:21:33] Many vape brands, it just so happens, are owned by Big Tobacco. 

[00:21:38] Although vaping is considerably less harmful than smoking, it still isn’t without its dangers, and there have been hundreds of deaths and thousands of lung injuries caused by vaping in the US alone.

[00:21:52] Now, with everything we now know about the tobacco industry, one very large question remains: what does the future of smoking look like?

[00:22:02] As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, New Zealand plans to enact a law that will effectively ban anyone currently 14 years old or younger from purchasing cigarettes for their entire lives. 

[00:22:17] The U.K. government also recently announced its goal to make England smoke-free by the year 2030.

[00:22:26] Tobacco companies like Philip Morris have even proposed what they’re calling a ‘smoke-free future,’ in which cigarettes are replaced entirely by smoke-free tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes. 

[00:22:41] Yet there’s still no evidence that switching to e-cigarettes will help cigarette smokers quit tobacco for good. 

[00:22:49] So, all of this begs the question: will we ever live in a smoke-free world? And will mankind ever be able to wean itself off its addiction to tobacco?

[00:23:01] Well, one thing’s for sure. 

[00:23:04] Big Tobacco has been fighting hard for hundreds of years, and for all its talk about a smoke-free future, it sure isn’t going down without a fight

[00:23:15] OK then, that is it for today's episode on the history of smoking. I hope it's been an interesting one, and that you've learnt something new.

[00:23:25] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode.

[00:23:29] What is the culture towards smoking in your country?

[00:23:32] How has this changed over the course of your lifetime?

[00:23:36] What do you think when you hear that a tobacco company wants to help create a “smoke free future”? I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started.

[00:23:47] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com, and get chatting to other curious minds.

[00:23:55] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:24:01] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

Continue learning

Get immediate access to a more interesting way of improving your English
Become a member
Already a member? Login

[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:00:12] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about the history of smoking. Now people have smoked all sorts of things for thousands of years, but nothing has ever been more popular than tobacco.

[00:00:38] Tobacco, and cigarettes in particular, have a fascinating but sordid history; we’ve known about the dangers of smoking for decades, perhaps even centuries. And yet, smoking has long been marketed as something glamourous, cool, and aspirational

[00:00:57] So, today, we are going to look at the early history of tobacco, why people started smoking in the first place, how it became one of the world’s largest industries, and what the future of smoking might look like. 

[00:01:13] Now, depending on where and where you grew up, one of the smells that is probably most recognisable and familiar to you is the smell of cigarette smoke. 

[00:01:26] If you’re over 30, you doubtless saw many people smoking indoors, and you also probably saw an ashtray on nearly every coffee table you sat at. 

[00:01:38] And you may even remember your office or workplace being filled with the smell of cigarette smoke.

[00:01:46] These days, of course, it’s a bit different. It is illegal to smoke in indoor public spaces in much of the United States, and Europe. Many other countries, even the historically cigarette-loving China have also instituted strict smoking bans. 

[00:02:07] New Zealand has even gone a step further and proposed a plan to one day end smoking entirely in the country, by banning the sale of cigarettes to the youngest generation, making it illegal for anyone born after 2008 to buy cigarettes. 

[00:02:27] Yet in spite of all of these measures, more than one billion people, 14% of the entire global population, still smoke cigarettes, and the cigarette industry is still among the most profitable in the world. 

[00:02:43] But how exactly did cigarettes, and tobacco smoking in general, become as widespread as it did?

[00:02:53] Well, when we imagine someone smoking, we probably imagine them smoking cigarettes. But the activity of smoking is, of course, much much older than the cigarette. 

[00:03:06] Tobacco is thought to have been cultivated and smoked for thousands of years by indigenous peoples in the Americas. 

[00:03:14] For these indigenous groups across North and South America, tobacco played a very different role than it does in many cultures today. 

[00:03:24] These groups considered tobacco to be sacred, to be holy and used it in ceremonies, for prayer, and for medicinal purposes. 

[00:03:35] Many indigenous communities still use tobacco this way, though not nearly as much as they once did. 

[00:03:43] The turning point in tobacco’s history, however — at least as far as the rest of the world is concerned — happened in 1492, when the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus arrived on the island of Cuba. As you probably know, he actually thought he had arrived in China, but that’s a story for another episode. 

[00:04:07] In Cuba, Columbus encountered members of the island’s native population, and observed something rather curious; they had rolled some leaves into tubes, had set fire to one end of them, and they were breathing in the smoke. 

[00:04:27] When Columbus tried smoking these mysterious leaves himself, he found that he rather liked how it made him feel. 

[00:04:37] Smoking on the whole was new to Columbus and his men, as almost nobody in Europe smoked at the time. 

[00:04:46] The leaves were tobacco — or ‘cohíba’ in the indigenous Taíno language. Columbus, however, heard the Taíno word ‘tabako’ — a word which actually referred to those rolled tubes the locals were smoking, not the plant itself — anyhow the name stuck. 

[00:05:08] Although this was the first time Columbus had puffed on a cigarette, it wasn’t actually the first time he had encountered tobacco. 

[00:05:17] Before landing in Cuba, on the Bahamian island known today as San Salvador, he had been given tobacco leaves as a gift by the natives. But he didn’t know what they were, or what to do with them, so he simply threw them overboard, he threw them into the water off his ship. 

[00:05:37] Columbus brought tobacco leaves and seeds back with him to Spain, he taught people how to smoke them, and the habit caught on amongst the Spanish. Portuguese sailors brought tobacco, and the pastime of smoking, back to their country too. 

[00:05:55] And Tobacco continued to spread rapidly throughout the continent.

[00:06:00] In the late 16th century, the French diplomat Jean Nicot encountered a tobacco plant in Lisbon, in Portugal, while on a trip from his native France. 

[00:06:12] Nicot, who had learned of tobacco’s supposed curative properties, sent some tobacco seeds to the then-queen of France, Catherine de Médici, who suffered badly from headaches.

[00:06:26] The tobacco seeds he sent came with instructions. She was to crush the seeds into powder and inhale it, to breathe it up into her nose. 

[00:06:41] This apparently proved successful, and the practice of inhaling ground tobacco seeds — a preparation known as ‘snuff’ — caught on

[00:06:53] Snuff-taking, as it was called, took hold in France, quickly spreading to England and the rest of Europe. 

[00:07:01] Pipe smoking became popular during this time as well. 

[00:07:06] As with Catherine de Médici, tobacco was used as a treatment for all sorts of health problems, even cancer. The claims about its medicinal properties were, of course, dubious at best. 

[00:07:21] Tobacco’s global expansion had truly started, and smoking became a popular activity all across Europe, north Africa, the Middle East, and China. 

[00:07:32] The centre for global production was in the harsh slave plantations of the southern United States, but it was also being grown in places like India, China, and West Africa. 

[00:07:46] Now, while cigarettes are thought to have been invented as far back as the 1600s, by beggars in Seville, Spain, the pre-rolled cigarette didn’t really take hold until the 19th century. 

[00:08:02] This was mainly because, prior to that point, they were made almost entirely by hand. There were some machines that existed, but they simply weren’t very efficient.

[00:08:14] This made the pre-rolled cigarette a relatively high-end luxury item, one which the average person couldn’t really afford — a far cry from the packs of pre-rolled cigarettes sold nowadays. 

[00:08:30] The one thing that made a huge impact on the industry was a little invention called the Bonsack Machine. In 1880, a man named James Bonsack invented a machine that could roll up to 210 cigarettes a minute. 

[00:08:49] This was a huge deal, to say the least.

[00:08:53] Bonsack went into business with a man named James Buchanan Duke, and by the late 1880s, the men were making 4 million cigarettes daily. 

[00:09:06] Cigarettes could now be mass-produced, which reduced the cost, and made them available to almost anyone, and as any smoker knows, it’s far more convenient to not have to roll your own cigarettes.

[00:09:21] Cigarettes were even famously included in soldiers’ ration packs during World War I, as a way for them to cope with both boredom and the stresses of trench warfare. Sales of cigarettes also boomed during World War II.

[00:09:39] As a result, by 1950, around half of the adult population in the industrialised world smoked cigarettes. 

[00:09:49] Now, most people today are at least somewhat aware of the dangers of smoking, and whether or not you are a smoker you don’t need me to tell you that smoking is not a very good idea from a health point of view. 

[00:10:04] But back in, say, the 1940s or 50s, people just didn’t have the information we have today. 

[00:10:12] There were rumours that smoking led to a higher rate of certain diseases, and smokers tended to cough more and have trouble breathing compared to non-smokers, but there wasn’t hard, scientific evidence about the dangers of smoking. 

[00:10:31] On January 12th, 1964, however, the New York Times published a story that erased that doubt altogether. 

[00:10:41] The headline, printed on the newspaper’s front page in big, bold letters, read: ‘Cigarettes Peril Health, U.S. Report Concludes.’ 

[00:10:52] Peril, by the way, means harm, causes danger to.

[00:10:57] Cigarette smoking, the article stated, contributed so substantially to the U.S. death rate that immediate action would need to be taken to prevent further harm. 

[00:11:10] These days, it’s common knowledge that cigarettes can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. There are graphic adverts and public service announcements that show just how bad the effects of smoking can be on our health. 

[00:11:28] Yet when Surgeon General Luther Terry released his report during a January 11th press conference, it was a bombshell

[00:11:39] So, why exactly did the report have such a huge effect on people? 

[00:11:44] Well, prior to the report’s release, doctors were unable to prove that there was a definitive link between smoking and cancer. 

[00:11:53] Yes, people certainly felt some of the effects, from throat irritation, to coughing, to shortness of breath. 

[00:12:01] And doctors were also starting to notice that people who smoked were often more likely to develop certain diseases. 

[00:12:10] Yet, no one knew exactly how bad the risks were. 

[00:12:14] To understand just how disturbing this news must have been, it’s useful to remember quite how important smoking was in many peoples’ daily lives. 

[00:12:25] Tobacco is, of course, an addictive substance. It contains the chemical compound of nicotine, which is a stimulant

[00:12:34] Simply put, nicotine makes you feel good, and it was that feeling that Christopher Columbus enjoyed so much on his trip to Cuba. 

[00:12:44] But tobacco isn’t just physically addictive; it’s a major part of many people’s daily routine, particularly their social lives. 

[00:12:54] Whether it is with the morning coffee, at a break at work or over a drink at a pub after work, as any smoker knows, the cigarette is often a fundamental part of social life, and this was especially so during the years before the Surgeon General’s warning.

[00:13:14] Now this, as it turns out, the fact that the cigarette was an integral part of life, was not entirely accidental

[00:13:23] Cigarette companies were, and to some extent still are, masters at advertising. 

[00:13:30] From around the 1920s onward, adverts for cigarettes were colourful and elaborate, and companies spared no expense in their design. 

[00:13:41] Tobacco companies knew that they were all selling the same end product, dried tobacco leaves wrapped in paper, but they needed to persuade people that their product was unique.

[00:13:54] Cigarettes started to show up in a number of Hollywood films, smoked by some of the most glamourous actors and actresses of the time, from James Dean to Audrey Hepburn. They were also advertised in magazines, on the television and on the radio. 

[00:14:12] The messages were not subtle

[00:14:15] Adverts for companies like Camel, Marlboro, and Lucky Strike portrayed smoking in an aspirational light, with photos of beautiful women, ruggedly handsome men, and happy couples. 

[00:14:28] Smoking was cool, it was something done by the beautiful, the rich and the famous.

[00:14:35] Much like adverts for things like cars, clothing, and cologne, cigarette adverts promoted a lifestyle, not just a product. 

[00:14:46] And many of these adverts even claimed that their cigarettes were healthier than the others; one 1946 print advert for the brand Camel claimed that “More Doctors Smoke Camel Than Any Other Cigarette.” 

[00:15:01] Some even claimed that their cigarettes were safe for pregnant women. 

[00:15:06] There were also ‘light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes, which were marketed as a healthier choice. 

[00:15:13] Nowadays, these claims seem rather suspect

[00:15:17] But, back then, of course the information about smoking’s health risks just wasn't as widespread; people had no reason to believe any differently. 

[00:15:28] But despite the best efforts of the tobacco industry, it was fighting a losing battle against the scientific evidence.

[00:15:37] In fact, by 1958, 44 percent of Americans already believed smoking caused cancer, and a number of medical associations warned that tobacco use could cause lung and heart disease. 

[00:15:53] To counter, to fight this growing belief in the ill effects of tobacco, in 1958 some of the largest American tobacco companies formed the Tobacco Institute, an organisation which aimed to undermine the research that linked smoking with disease. 

[00:16:14] Once it was established, the Tobacco Institute was hell-bent on trying to preserve its product’s reputation.

[00:16:23] Yet, try as it might, it was fighting a losing battle.

[00:16:28] Since the Surgeon General Luther Terry released his bombshell report in 1964, dozens of other reports have come out that linked smoking to chronic illness and death.

[00:16:41] People might have liked smoking, they might have liked the feeling of smoking cigarettes but they didn’t like the idea of dying, and smokers started quitting the habit and teenagers stopped taking it up, at least to the same degree that they had in previous years.

[00:17:00] But it was in the 1980s and 1990s, that tobacco companies started to feel the legal consequences of being more concerned with profit than public health. 

[00:17:13] In 1996, a man named Dr. Jeffrey Wigand — a former executive at the U.S. tobacco company Brown & Williamson — revealed that his company had added harmful chemicals to its products in order to make them more addictive

[00:17:31] Perhaps the most groundbreaking case, however, was something called the Master Settlement Agreement. In 1998, Brown & Williamson, along with three of the U.S.’ largest tobacco companies, would be forced to pay $206 billion — around €350 billion in today’s money— over a period of 25 years. 

[00:17:57] The money went towards covering tobacco-related healthcare costs in the United States, and the settlement put an end to many of the industry’s most harmful marketing efforts. 

[00:18:10] Many individuals have also succeeded in suing tobacco companies over smoking-related health issues. One of the most famous was Howard Engle, a paediatrician who, along with a group of other plaintiffs, other people in the case, successfully sued the tobacco industry in 1994 for smoking-related health problems, forcing the tobacco companies to pay out $145 billion. 

[00:18:41] And since the start of the 1990s, the leaders of the tobacco industry continue to face lawsuits like these, and they have paid out hundreds of billions of Euros in damages to both victims of smoking-related illnesses and their families. 

[00:18:59] And yet, Big Tobacco — the name given to the world’s most powerful tobacco companies — shows no sign of going anywhere.

[00:19:09] Even though smoking rates in the United States and the U.K. have been falling for decades, and global rates have been falling on the whole, population growth has meant that more cigarettes are being smoked by more people than ever before. 

[00:19:26] Indeed, in 2019 there were an estimated 7.41 trillion cigarettes smoked worldwide by 1.14 billion people.

[00:19:38] And although there are more cigarettes being smoked than ever before, and there is no shortage of current customers for Big Tobacco, the percentage of adults who smoke is falling, and the percentage of teenagers taking up the habit is also falling.

[00:19:56] This might be a good thing as far as public health is concerned, but it presents a rather large problem for Big Tobacco. 

[00:20:06] Big Tobacco knows that it has an incredibly addictive product that its users physically need to use multiple times a day and have great trouble stopping using. 

[00:20:18] With over a billion smokers worldwide, cigarette companies make vast amounts of money, but the business model isn’t sustainable long-term because fewer and fewer young people are taking up smoking and, well, it’s not a nice thing to say but the nature of smoking is that it doesn’t help its customers live a long and healthy life.

[00:20:41] In developing countries with less regulation about tobacco advertising, Big Tobacco can continue to use the same strategies that worked to get hundreds of millions of Americans and Europeans smoking, but in more regulated environments they need to innovate and develop new products.

[00:21:02] E-cigarettes, or “vapes”, for example, which allow the user to inhale nicotine through vapour, have - as I'm sure you know - become enormously popular in recent years. 

[00:21:16] This is particularly true among the younger generation; in 2018, over 20 percent of high school students in the U.S. vapedvaped is the word for using an e-cigarette – vs just 8% for cigarettes. 

[00:21:33] Many vape brands, it just so happens, are owned by Big Tobacco. 

[00:21:38] Although vaping is considerably less harmful than smoking, it still isn’t without its dangers, and there have been hundreds of deaths and thousands of lung injuries caused by vaping in the US alone.

[00:21:52] Now, with everything we now know about the tobacco industry, one very large question remains: what does the future of smoking look like?

[00:22:02] As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, New Zealand plans to enact a law that will effectively ban anyone currently 14 years old or younger from purchasing cigarettes for their entire lives. 

[00:22:17] The U.K. government also recently announced its goal to make England smoke-free by the year 2030.

[00:22:26] Tobacco companies like Philip Morris have even proposed what they’re calling a ‘smoke-free future,’ in which cigarettes are replaced entirely by smoke-free tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes. 

[00:22:41] Yet there’s still no evidence that switching to e-cigarettes will help cigarette smokers quit tobacco for good. 

[00:22:49] So, all of this begs the question: will we ever live in a smoke-free world? And will mankind ever be able to wean itself off its addiction to tobacco?

[00:23:01] Well, one thing’s for sure. 

[00:23:04] Big Tobacco has been fighting hard for hundreds of years, and for all its talk about a smoke-free future, it sure isn’t going down without a fight

[00:23:15] OK then, that is it for today's episode on the history of smoking. I hope it's been an interesting one, and that you've learnt something new.

[00:23:25] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode.

[00:23:29] What is the culture towards smoking in your country?

[00:23:32] How has this changed over the course of your lifetime?

[00:23:36] What do you think when you hear that a tobacco company wants to help create a “smoke free future”? I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started.

[00:23:47] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com, and get chatting to other curious minds.

[00:23:55] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:24:01] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:00:12] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about the history of smoking. Now people have smoked all sorts of things for thousands of years, but nothing has ever been more popular than tobacco.

[00:00:38] Tobacco, and cigarettes in particular, have a fascinating but sordid history; we’ve known about the dangers of smoking for decades, perhaps even centuries. And yet, smoking has long been marketed as something glamourous, cool, and aspirational

[00:00:57] So, today, we are going to look at the early history of tobacco, why people started smoking in the first place, how it became one of the world’s largest industries, and what the future of smoking might look like. 

[00:01:13] Now, depending on where and where you grew up, one of the smells that is probably most recognisable and familiar to you is the smell of cigarette smoke. 

[00:01:26] If you’re over 30, you doubtless saw many people smoking indoors, and you also probably saw an ashtray on nearly every coffee table you sat at. 

[00:01:38] And you may even remember your office or workplace being filled with the smell of cigarette smoke.

[00:01:46] These days, of course, it’s a bit different. It is illegal to smoke in indoor public spaces in much of the United States, and Europe. Many other countries, even the historically cigarette-loving China have also instituted strict smoking bans. 

[00:02:07] New Zealand has even gone a step further and proposed a plan to one day end smoking entirely in the country, by banning the sale of cigarettes to the youngest generation, making it illegal for anyone born after 2008 to buy cigarettes. 

[00:02:27] Yet in spite of all of these measures, more than one billion people, 14% of the entire global population, still smoke cigarettes, and the cigarette industry is still among the most profitable in the world. 

[00:02:43] But how exactly did cigarettes, and tobacco smoking in general, become as widespread as it did?

[00:02:53] Well, when we imagine someone smoking, we probably imagine them smoking cigarettes. But the activity of smoking is, of course, much much older than the cigarette. 

[00:03:06] Tobacco is thought to have been cultivated and smoked for thousands of years by indigenous peoples in the Americas. 

[00:03:14] For these indigenous groups across North and South America, tobacco played a very different role than it does in many cultures today. 

[00:03:24] These groups considered tobacco to be sacred, to be holy and used it in ceremonies, for prayer, and for medicinal purposes. 

[00:03:35] Many indigenous communities still use tobacco this way, though not nearly as much as they once did. 

[00:03:43] The turning point in tobacco’s history, however — at least as far as the rest of the world is concerned — happened in 1492, when the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus arrived on the island of Cuba. As you probably know, he actually thought he had arrived in China, but that’s a story for another episode. 

[00:04:07] In Cuba, Columbus encountered members of the island’s native population, and observed something rather curious; they had rolled some leaves into tubes, had set fire to one end of them, and they were breathing in the smoke. 

[00:04:27] When Columbus tried smoking these mysterious leaves himself, he found that he rather liked how it made him feel. 

[00:04:37] Smoking on the whole was new to Columbus and his men, as almost nobody in Europe smoked at the time. 

[00:04:46] The leaves were tobacco — or ‘cohíba’ in the indigenous Taíno language. Columbus, however, heard the Taíno word ‘tabako’ — a word which actually referred to those rolled tubes the locals were smoking, not the plant itself — anyhow the name stuck. 

[00:05:08] Although this was the first time Columbus had puffed on a cigarette, it wasn’t actually the first time he had encountered tobacco. 

[00:05:17] Before landing in Cuba, on the Bahamian island known today as San Salvador, he had been given tobacco leaves as a gift by the natives. But he didn’t know what they were, or what to do with them, so he simply threw them overboard, he threw them into the water off his ship. 

[00:05:37] Columbus brought tobacco leaves and seeds back with him to Spain, he taught people how to smoke them, and the habit caught on amongst the Spanish. Portuguese sailors brought tobacco, and the pastime of smoking, back to their country too. 

[00:05:55] And Tobacco continued to spread rapidly throughout the continent.

[00:06:00] In the late 16th century, the French diplomat Jean Nicot encountered a tobacco plant in Lisbon, in Portugal, while on a trip from his native France. 

[00:06:12] Nicot, who had learned of tobacco’s supposed curative properties, sent some tobacco seeds to the then-queen of France, Catherine de Médici, who suffered badly from headaches.

[00:06:26] The tobacco seeds he sent came with instructions. She was to crush the seeds into powder and inhale it, to breathe it up into her nose. 

[00:06:41] This apparently proved successful, and the practice of inhaling ground tobacco seeds — a preparation known as ‘snuff’ — caught on

[00:06:53] Snuff-taking, as it was called, took hold in France, quickly spreading to England and the rest of Europe. 

[00:07:01] Pipe smoking became popular during this time as well. 

[00:07:06] As with Catherine de Médici, tobacco was used as a treatment for all sorts of health problems, even cancer. The claims about its medicinal properties were, of course, dubious at best. 

[00:07:21] Tobacco’s global expansion had truly started, and smoking became a popular activity all across Europe, north Africa, the Middle East, and China. 

[00:07:32] The centre for global production was in the harsh slave plantations of the southern United States, but it was also being grown in places like India, China, and West Africa. 

[00:07:46] Now, while cigarettes are thought to have been invented as far back as the 1600s, by beggars in Seville, Spain, the pre-rolled cigarette didn’t really take hold until the 19th century. 

[00:08:02] This was mainly because, prior to that point, they were made almost entirely by hand. There were some machines that existed, but they simply weren’t very efficient.

[00:08:14] This made the pre-rolled cigarette a relatively high-end luxury item, one which the average person couldn’t really afford — a far cry from the packs of pre-rolled cigarettes sold nowadays. 

[00:08:30] The one thing that made a huge impact on the industry was a little invention called the Bonsack Machine. In 1880, a man named James Bonsack invented a machine that could roll up to 210 cigarettes a minute. 

[00:08:49] This was a huge deal, to say the least.

[00:08:53] Bonsack went into business with a man named James Buchanan Duke, and by the late 1880s, the men were making 4 million cigarettes daily. 

[00:09:06] Cigarettes could now be mass-produced, which reduced the cost, and made them available to almost anyone, and as any smoker knows, it’s far more convenient to not have to roll your own cigarettes.

[00:09:21] Cigarettes were even famously included in soldiers’ ration packs during World War I, as a way for them to cope with both boredom and the stresses of trench warfare. Sales of cigarettes also boomed during World War II.

[00:09:39] As a result, by 1950, around half of the adult population in the industrialised world smoked cigarettes. 

[00:09:49] Now, most people today are at least somewhat aware of the dangers of smoking, and whether or not you are a smoker you don’t need me to tell you that smoking is not a very good idea from a health point of view. 

[00:10:04] But back in, say, the 1940s or 50s, people just didn’t have the information we have today. 

[00:10:12] There were rumours that smoking led to a higher rate of certain diseases, and smokers tended to cough more and have trouble breathing compared to non-smokers, but there wasn’t hard, scientific evidence about the dangers of smoking. 

[00:10:31] On January 12th, 1964, however, the New York Times published a story that erased that doubt altogether. 

[00:10:41] The headline, printed on the newspaper’s front page in big, bold letters, read: ‘Cigarettes Peril Health, U.S. Report Concludes.’ 

[00:10:52] Peril, by the way, means harm, causes danger to.

[00:10:57] Cigarette smoking, the article stated, contributed so substantially to the U.S. death rate that immediate action would need to be taken to prevent further harm. 

[00:11:10] These days, it’s common knowledge that cigarettes can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. There are graphic adverts and public service announcements that show just how bad the effects of smoking can be on our health. 

[00:11:28] Yet when Surgeon General Luther Terry released his report during a January 11th press conference, it was a bombshell

[00:11:39] So, why exactly did the report have such a huge effect on people? 

[00:11:44] Well, prior to the report’s release, doctors were unable to prove that there was a definitive link between smoking and cancer. 

[00:11:53] Yes, people certainly felt some of the effects, from throat irritation, to coughing, to shortness of breath. 

[00:12:01] And doctors were also starting to notice that people who smoked were often more likely to develop certain diseases. 

[00:12:10] Yet, no one knew exactly how bad the risks were. 

[00:12:14] To understand just how disturbing this news must have been, it’s useful to remember quite how important smoking was in many peoples’ daily lives. 

[00:12:25] Tobacco is, of course, an addictive substance. It contains the chemical compound of nicotine, which is a stimulant

[00:12:34] Simply put, nicotine makes you feel good, and it was that feeling that Christopher Columbus enjoyed so much on his trip to Cuba. 

[00:12:44] But tobacco isn’t just physically addictive; it’s a major part of many people’s daily routine, particularly their social lives. 

[00:12:54] Whether it is with the morning coffee, at a break at work or over a drink at a pub after work, as any smoker knows, the cigarette is often a fundamental part of social life, and this was especially so during the years before the Surgeon General’s warning.

[00:13:14] Now this, as it turns out, the fact that the cigarette was an integral part of life, was not entirely accidental

[00:13:23] Cigarette companies were, and to some extent still are, masters at advertising. 

[00:13:30] From around the 1920s onward, adverts for cigarettes were colourful and elaborate, and companies spared no expense in their design. 

[00:13:41] Tobacco companies knew that they were all selling the same end product, dried tobacco leaves wrapped in paper, but they needed to persuade people that their product was unique.

[00:13:54] Cigarettes started to show up in a number of Hollywood films, smoked by some of the most glamourous actors and actresses of the time, from James Dean to Audrey Hepburn. They were also advertised in magazines, on the television and on the radio. 

[00:14:12] The messages were not subtle

[00:14:15] Adverts for companies like Camel, Marlboro, and Lucky Strike portrayed smoking in an aspirational light, with photos of beautiful women, ruggedly handsome men, and happy couples. 

[00:14:28] Smoking was cool, it was something done by the beautiful, the rich and the famous.

[00:14:35] Much like adverts for things like cars, clothing, and cologne, cigarette adverts promoted a lifestyle, not just a product. 

[00:14:46] And many of these adverts even claimed that their cigarettes were healthier than the others; one 1946 print advert for the brand Camel claimed that “More Doctors Smoke Camel Than Any Other Cigarette.” 

[00:15:01] Some even claimed that their cigarettes were safe for pregnant women. 

[00:15:06] There were also ‘light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes, which were marketed as a healthier choice. 

[00:15:13] Nowadays, these claims seem rather suspect

[00:15:17] But, back then, of course the information about smoking’s health risks just wasn't as widespread; people had no reason to believe any differently. 

[00:15:28] But despite the best efforts of the tobacco industry, it was fighting a losing battle against the scientific evidence.

[00:15:37] In fact, by 1958, 44 percent of Americans already believed smoking caused cancer, and a number of medical associations warned that tobacco use could cause lung and heart disease. 

[00:15:53] To counter, to fight this growing belief in the ill effects of tobacco, in 1958 some of the largest American tobacco companies formed the Tobacco Institute, an organisation which aimed to undermine the research that linked smoking with disease. 

[00:16:14] Once it was established, the Tobacco Institute was hell-bent on trying to preserve its product’s reputation.

[00:16:23] Yet, try as it might, it was fighting a losing battle.

[00:16:28] Since the Surgeon General Luther Terry released his bombshell report in 1964, dozens of other reports have come out that linked smoking to chronic illness and death.

[00:16:41] People might have liked smoking, they might have liked the feeling of smoking cigarettes but they didn’t like the idea of dying, and smokers started quitting the habit and teenagers stopped taking it up, at least to the same degree that they had in previous years.

[00:17:00] But it was in the 1980s and 1990s, that tobacco companies started to feel the legal consequences of being more concerned with profit than public health. 

[00:17:13] In 1996, a man named Dr. Jeffrey Wigand — a former executive at the U.S. tobacco company Brown & Williamson — revealed that his company had added harmful chemicals to its products in order to make them more addictive

[00:17:31] Perhaps the most groundbreaking case, however, was something called the Master Settlement Agreement. In 1998, Brown & Williamson, along with three of the U.S.’ largest tobacco companies, would be forced to pay $206 billion — around €350 billion in today’s money— over a period of 25 years. 

[00:17:57] The money went towards covering tobacco-related healthcare costs in the United States, and the settlement put an end to many of the industry’s most harmful marketing efforts. 

[00:18:10] Many individuals have also succeeded in suing tobacco companies over smoking-related health issues. One of the most famous was Howard Engle, a paediatrician who, along with a group of other plaintiffs, other people in the case, successfully sued the tobacco industry in 1994 for smoking-related health problems, forcing the tobacco companies to pay out $145 billion. 

[00:18:41] And since the start of the 1990s, the leaders of the tobacco industry continue to face lawsuits like these, and they have paid out hundreds of billions of Euros in damages to both victims of smoking-related illnesses and their families. 

[00:18:59] And yet, Big Tobacco — the name given to the world’s most powerful tobacco companies — shows no sign of going anywhere.

[00:19:09] Even though smoking rates in the United States and the U.K. have been falling for decades, and global rates have been falling on the whole, population growth has meant that more cigarettes are being smoked by more people than ever before. 

[00:19:26] Indeed, in 2019 there were an estimated 7.41 trillion cigarettes smoked worldwide by 1.14 billion people.

[00:19:38] And although there are more cigarettes being smoked than ever before, and there is no shortage of current customers for Big Tobacco, the percentage of adults who smoke is falling, and the percentage of teenagers taking up the habit is also falling.

[00:19:56] This might be a good thing as far as public health is concerned, but it presents a rather large problem for Big Tobacco. 

[00:20:06] Big Tobacco knows that it has an incredibly addictive product that its users physically need to use multiple times a day and have great trouble stopping using. 

[00:20:18] With over a billion smokers worldwide, cigarette companies make vast amounts of money, but the business model isn’t sustainable long-term because fewer and fewer young people are taking up smoking and, well, it’s not a nice thing to say but the nature of smoking is that it doesn’t help its customers live a long and healthy life.

[00:20:41] In developing countries with less regulation about tobacco advertising, Big Tobacco can continue to use the same strategies that worked to get hundreds of millions of Americans and Europeans smoking, but in more regulated environments they need to innovate and develop new products.

[00:21:02] E-cigarettes, or “vapes”, for example, which allow the user to inhale nicotine through vapour, have - as I'm sure you know - become enormously popular in recent years. 

[00:21:16] This is particularly true among the younger generation; in 2018, over 20 percent of high school students in the U.S. vapedvaped is the word for using an e-cigarette – vs just 8% for cigarettes. 

[00:21:33] Many vape brands, it just so happens, are owned by Big Tobacco. 

[00:21:38] Although vaping is considerably less harmful than smoking, it still isn’t without its dangers, and there have been hundreds of deaths and thousands of lung injuries caused by vaping in the US alone.

[00:21:52] Now, with everything we now know about the tobacco industry, one very large question remains: what does the future of smoking look like?

[00:22:02] As I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, New Zealand plans to enact a law that will effectively ban anyone currently 14 years old or younger from purchasing cigarettes for their entire lives. 

[00:22:17] The U.K. government also recently announced its goal to make England smoke-free by the year 2030.

[00:22:26] Tobacco companies like Philip Morris have even proposed what they’re calling a ‘smoke-free future,’ in which cigarettes are replaced entirely by smoke-free tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes. 

[00:22:41] Yet there’s still no evidence that switching to e-cigarettes will help cigarette smokers quit tobacco for good. 

[00:22:49] So, all of this begs the question: will we ever live in a smoke-free world? And will mankind ever be able to wean itself off its addiction to tobacco?

[00:23:01] Well, one thing’s for sure. 

[00:23:04] Big Tobacco has been fighting hard for hundreds of years, and for all its talk about a smoke-free future, it sure isn’t going down without a fight

[00:23:15] OK then, that is it for today's episode on the history of smoking. I hope it's been an interesting one, and that you've learnt something new.

[00:23:25] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode.

[00:23:29] What is the culture towards smoking in your country?

[00:23:32] How has this changed over the course of your lifetime?

[00:23:36] What do you think when you hear that a tobacco company wants to help create a “smoke free future”? I would love to know, so let’s get this discussion started.

[00:23:47] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com, and get chatting to other curious minds.

[00:23:55] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:24:01] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]