Is somking really bad for you? According to a decades worth of debate, legal battles and multitudes of opinions the verdit has been made – or so it seems. The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement had set a precedent. It was the larget legal settlement in history involving 46 states and the four largest US manufacturers of tabacco products. Among other things, this settlement determined that not only was tobacco use addictive but that its major manufacturers had long known this fact and attempted to conceal their findings while leveraging this knowledge to further market and distrbute their wares.
Was the American public, of the world at large, truly so naive to have been surprised by the fact that somke inhalation must have certain negative effects on the body? More so, was it any more of a revelation that the effects of nicotine – tobacco’s “secretly” addictive ingredient – which results in certain relaxing and calming effects on the body, may be habit forming or addictive? Nicotine works in such a way that it floods the brain with dopamine, thereby the impetus behind tobacco use and its popularity. It seems that a quick survey of Native Americans, who first introduced tobacco to European settlers, would have revealed tobacco’s capacity
as less of a “fun” past time and more as an entheogen used primarily for shamanic or spiritual purposes.
North American Indians used tobacco not as a recreational substance but rather as one set aside for specif purposes, whether spiritual or medicinal. Cigarettes were only introduced post-European introduction to this cash crop – and the rest, it seems, is histroy. Today, modern society is flooded with cigarettes, and its use shows little signs of abating since the landmark legal settlement of 1998. While, yes, tobacco users have certainly declined in number and there is no debate as to its ill effects on your health, still millions nationwide are either sporadic or habitual smokers.