When Columbus brought tobacco to Europe, he did not even think how much he would change the world by this. How the American Indians did not know, who used this herb only for sacred rituals. Europeans disposed of tobacco differently.
In Russia, tobacco has had a complex history. It was banned, legalized, and again vetoed on trade, distribution and use. It is no longer possible to trace all the twists and turns of this story, but there is some information that has survived to this day.
Tobacco in Russia
In Russia, tobacco first appeared in the sixteenth century. Even under Ivan the Terrible, he began to get to Moscow together with mercenaries, interventionists and Cossacks. Especially during the Time of Troubles. In many ways, English merchants also contributed to this. In those days, there were still no specific laws for the sale and consumption of tobacco. Only 50 years after the Troubles, under the influence of the Church, tobacco was banned.
Perhaps, if the death penalty for smoking remained, there would be no problems with tobacco in Russia now.
Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich was especially cruel to smokers. And he had reasons, because in 1634 in Moscow there was a big fire caused by smokers. For these and other reasons, smoking came to be considered a serious crime, punishable by death. However, this was not always the case.
At one time, under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, who was flattered by the great economic benefits from the tobacco trade, tobacco received the green light. The king decided to legalize the "demonic potion", but only for three years. Patriarch Nikon himself spoke out against such an initiative, having achieved a ban.
However, the death penalty was replaced by corporal punishment. The smokers were flogged in public with a whip and, to the ridicule of the crowd, were taken on a goat. If a similar sin was repeated, the guilty person was exiled to a distant city, but for a reason. First, his nostrils were torn out or his nose was cut, which is similar to the punishment of an escaped convict.
The seriousness of the anti-tobacco campaign was also enshrined in the Cathedral Code of 1649, where a dozen points were devoted to "hellish potion". The consumption of tobacco was considered a mortal sin, since in the form of the people, only Satan himself could breathe smoke from his mouth, that is, it was an act of burning the Unclean One.
Of course, it was not without folk folklore dedicated to tobacco. According to one version, they began to smoke it at the funeral of the mother of the devil. Everyone began to cry from the pungent smoke, the devil liked it. Since then, the potion has been attributed to evil spirits.
The superstitious dark people did not soon get used to tobacco, considering all this to be the intrigues of evil spirits.
According to another version, the devil even planted tobacco for the first time in his garden. The doctor Tremikur came across the plant and spread it throughout the Hellenic kingdom. For this, God cursed tobacco and closed the gates of the Kingdom of Heaven for all smokers. But even such a punishment could not deter Russians from addiction to tobacco smoking in its current scale.