Thursday, 18 June 2015


During the Golden Age of Exploration, French ambassador to the kingdom of Portugal, Jean Nicot de Villemain, undertook a voyage to the Portuguese new world colony of Brazil in 1560, bringing back with him a specimen of a tobacco plant, which he presented to the French king. The plant was studied and classified in Paris and incorporated the ambassador’s name into the scientific nomenclature—hence the chemical compound called nicotine.  Tobacco-use was promoted a defence against the plague and grew popular very quickly.  This tobacco substance was moreover as widely used as a pesticide as it was smoked, up until the 1980s when alternatives deemed less harmful to humans could be produced cheaply.