Humans have been using tobacco in one way or the other since ancient times. Use of doesn’t always imply smoking it, but it can be chewed or used in different forms such as Tobacco chewing, dipping tobacco, etc.
There is no fix time for the start of the use of tobacco in humans but it has been in human use since very ancient times. Locals were using before the arrival of Europeans to Americas.
Las Casas brilliantly describes in his journal what the scouts who first went into Cuba on a reconnaissance mission found:
men with half-burned wood in their hands and certain herbs to take their smokes, which are some dry herbs put in a certain leaf, also dry, like those the boys make on the day of the Passover of the Holy Ghost; and having lighted one part of it, by the other they suck, absorb, or receive that smoke inside with the breath, by which they become benumbed and almost drunk, and so it is said they do not feel fatigue. These, muskets as we will call them, they call tabacos. I knew Spaniards on this island of Española who were accustomed to take it, and being reprimanded for it, by telling them it was a vice, they replied they were unable to cease using it. I do not know what relish or benefit they found in it. (Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico)
Popularity of Tobacco:
Tobacco usage increased with the arrival of “Industrial Revolution”. European settlers and traders and made it popular in Europe and Americas. From Europe it travelled to Ottoman Empire and from there to places as far as India and China. Tobacco was initially used as a pain killer by Desert Red Indians. (Early Uses of Indian Tobacco in California).
In no time use of tobacco increased multiple folds. High society would use it as a fashion statement and blue-collar job holders would use it as a recreational hobby. In the 19th century scientific and medical research lead to the discovery of harmful substances like tar and nicotine in cigarette smoke.
Banning tobacco subjects at least 15 % of the world population to oppression. Yes, 15% is the number of people around the world who smoke. (Smoking Statistics)
This discovery lead to awareness in people and medical and civil societies started campaigning for the discouragement of smoking habit especially in public places. Slowly and gradually they gathered more and more support as medical advancement and research made people aware of the different kinds of cancer caused by the usage of tobacco.
Banning the Cigarette smoke:
It is said that if you want someone to do something and he is not doing it then outlaw that thing and people will start doing it. It is in human nature to rebel and to defy authority. Banning the cigarettes would be as catastrophic as prohibition was. All prohibition did was to make gangsters and bootleggers rich.
One thing, which we all accept and agree on, is that cigarette smoke is bad for health...