A Brief Glance at Cigarette Smoking: How authentic is it for the Reenactor?The practice of cigarette smoking gradually made its way from Latin Americato Spain and Portugal, then to Italy, the Levant (lands bordering the easternshore of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas), and across the Middle East toSouth Russia. The cigarette originally was composed of a hollow cane filled with coarsely ground tobacco and later as small tubes made ofcornhusks. Gradually, they were made with coarse paper (rice paper was notused until well after the Civil War).
By: Stephen Ratterman
During the Crimean War (1853-1856), British soldiers were introduced tothe habit by Turkish and Russian soldiers. The British then helped introduce the cigarette to the rest of Western Europe during their travelback to England after the war. Soon the cigarette was commonly found inFrance but was smoked usually by the more daring and avant-garde woman.
Eventually, cigarettes came to England but were not accepted or widespread untilafter the American Civil War. American visitors to Europe carried the cigarette home as anovelty or curiosity rather than a primary smoking device.
The use and experimentation with cigarettes by ladies in this country in their attemptsto appear as "sophisticated" as their Parisian counterparts caused great concern -- somuch so that in 1854 etiquette books began to condemn cigarette smoking among proper,well-brought up young ladies. The use of cigarette smoking by men was almostnon-existent in that cigarette smoking was considered a "feminine habit." Also, theextremely high cost of cigarettes compared to the readily available cigar, pipe, and themost popular of all, chewing tobacco, further reduced cigarette smoking. Anotherrestricting factor in cigarette usage was that prior to the Civil War, the only readilyavailable cigarettes to the open U.S. market were handmade in a factory in Cuba. Afactory powered by stream was in use in Havana by 1853 but it wasn’t until 1870 thatcrude attempts were made to manufacture cigarettes by machines in the United States. Aslate as 1869 only 1,750,000 cigarettes were made in the States.
In summary, cigarette smoking was known in this country, but only as a veryexpensive novelty and indulged in by a more daring and risqué woman who generallywould not be accepted by the better social circles. Or ,if used among those whoconsidered themselves properly reared, it was not a habit favored by men. REFERENCES:
Smoking Antiques by Amoret and Christopher Scott, pub. by Shire Publications,LTD., Haverforvest, England 1981.The Might Leaf: Tobacco Through the Centuries by Jerome Brookes, pub. byLittle, Brown & Co., Boston, 1952.
Edit. This article originally appeared on the Bully Boys website and is reprinted here with their permission. -PC