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Going up in Smoke


I imagine postal authorities worldwide would be rather apprehensive nowadays to issue stamps on the subject of tobacco, unless they were using the medium to discourage people from smoking – as seen with the 2006 World Day Without Tobacco stamp below from Argentina.

But that has not always been the case.

Tobacco was first discovered by the native people of the Americas and later introduced to Europe and the rest of the world by Spanish discoverers and colonists.

The airmail stamps above featuring the tobacco plant were issued by Paraguay in 1935.

Jean Nicot was responsible for introducing tobacco to France around 1560 and the above stamp from 1961 shows his portrait with the plant that now bears his name, nicotiana tabacum.

Turkey, 1965, stamps commemorating the Second International Tobacco Trade Congress held in Istanbul.

1984 stamp issued by Austria to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Austria Tabak company.

Below, Cuban stamps from 1970 featuring cigar bands and tobacco plantation scenes.

European Tobacco Conference 1950 Italy set. And below same stamps overprinted AMG-FTT (Allied Military Government- Free Territory of Trieste).

Former British colony of Rhodesia and Nyasaland 1963 World Tobacco Congress set.

Strangely, Nazi Germany may have been the first state in modern history to try to deter people from smoking, condemning tobacco use and funding research against it. And in 1941 tobacco was banned in various public places in Germany as a health hazard.

Below, three World Without Tobacco Day stamps, the first from Bangladesh 2001.

Paraguay, 2007.

And Mexico 2012.
Incredibly perhaps, considering the well-researched and publicised effects of smoking tobacco, the various law suits taken out against cigarette-producing companies and advertising bans, the industry continues to rake in vast amounts of money.


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