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When were the first cigarettes made?

The Spanish conquistadors of 1522 found the Aztec Indians of Mexico smoking a primitive cigarette in the form of tobacco stuffed into a hollow reed or cane tube. However, it was the cigar that the Spaniards brought to Spain as a luxury for the wealthy. The cigarette was improvised early in the 16th Century by the beggars of Seville, who picked up discarded cigar butts, shredded them, rolled them in scraps of paper and called them cigarillos. It was in the late 18th Century that they became respectable. The tobacco used was of a milder and lighter type, and the French gave them their present name of cigarette or little cigar. A cigarette factory was set up in Havana in 1853, but the widespread use of the cigarette in the English-speaking world dates from the Crimean War (1854-1856) which introduced British soldiers to Turkish tobacco. Strangely, British taste switched later to straight Virginia tobacco. Americans prefer a blend, which includes some of the Turkish variety.



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