How England learned to smoke : the introduction, spread and establishment of tobacco pipe smoking in England before 1640
This thesis examines the incorporation of smoking into late Elizabethan and early Stuart culture and society, politics and commerce. Drawing upon a rich variety of primary sources and adopting an interdisciplinary approach, it shows how the English encountered, evaluated and accommodated this new and controversial Amerindian activity. It emphasises the seldom recognised distinction between the European medico-botanical appropriation of tobacco poultices, infusions etc. and the English adoption of smoking as a recreation arguing that patterns of smoking were, from the start, inherently incompatible with ideas of the appropriate use of medicines. This incompatibility prompted medical and moral debates identifying smoking as the misuse of a powerful drug. This thesis argues for the first time that smoking spread, despite objections, not because it was medicinal but because it was culturally attractive, particularly to young men. As demand for tobacco rose, tobacco became increasingly important politically and commercially. This thesis examines the evolution of policies to control and profit from rising domestic demand for tobacco under James VI & I and Charles I. By 1640, the commodity craved by smokers had been embroiled in disputes about monopolies, taxation, the Virginia colonies and, with the unprecedented introduction of tobacco vending licences in the 1630s, even the royal prerogative. The thesis concludes with the first detailed nation-wide examination of the early retail trade in tobacco which unveils a mixed economy of small and large-scale tobacco trading supplying smokers in all corners of England with tobacco by the pound, ounce, pennyworth or pipeful. England had learned to smoke.