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Oct 12, 1492 Christopher Columbus lands on the beaches of San Salvador in the West Indies and is offered fruit, wooden spears, and dried tobacco leaves by the natives. 1  
1556 Andre Thevet brought the first tobacco (N. tabacum) to France from Brazil. 1  
1559 Tobacco is dubbed "Nicotina" in honor of Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal, who sent it from Portugal to the French court as a medicine, beginning its spread in upper-class circles. 2  
1809 Nicotine is first observed as an active product in tobacco juice by French scientist Vauguelin.   
1828 Nicotine is first isolated by Posselt and Reimann at the University of Heidelberg as the primary active ingredient in tobacco. They named it "Nicotine" in honor of Jean Nicot.   
1856 First British cigarette factory opens. 3   [Details]
1890 My Lady Nicotine is published by Sir James Barrie in London.   
1893 The chemicals structure of nicotine is established by German chemist A. Pinner. 4  
1900 Japan bans the use of cigarettes by anyone under the age of 20. 5  
1939 German scientists propose a link between smoke inhalation and lung cancer. 5  
1967 U.S. Federal Trade Commission releases first tar and nicotine report. 5  
1984 Nicotine gum is first approved by the FDA for prescription use in the United States.   
1992 Nicotine patches are first approved by the FDA for prescription use in the United States. 5  
1996 President Clinton announces a comprehensive anti-smoking program in the U.S. which includes granting the FDA jurisdiction to regulate cigarettes as nicotine delivery devices.   
Feb 1996 Nicotine gum is approved for over-the-counter sale in the U.S. in February 1996. Soon thereafter, the nicotine patch is approved for over-the-counter sale in July.    [More Info]

  1.   Heimann RK. Tobacco & Americans. McGraw-Hill, 1960.
  2.   Austin G. "A Chronology of Psychoactive Substance Use".
  3.   Lewine H. Good-Bye To All That. McGraw-Hill, 1970.
  4.   Pinner A. Chem Ber.1893. 26;294.
  5.   Farrington K. This is Nicotine. Sanctuary Pub, 2002.