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Two of Columbus's crewmen during his 1492 journey, Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis de Torres, are said to have encountered tobacco for the first time on the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas, when natives presented them with dry leaves that spread a peculiar fragrance.
Tobacco was widely diffused among all of the islands of the Caribbean and therefore they again encountered it in Cuba, where Columbus and his men had settled.
Tobacco leaves are harvested and aged using a process that combines use of heat and shade to reduce sugar and water content without causing the large leaves to rot.
This first part of the process, called curing, takes between 25 and 45 days and varies substantially based upon climatic conditions as well as the construction of sheds or barns used to store harvested tobacco.
In the cigar industry this is referred to as a "blend".
Many cigar manufacturers pride themselves in constructing the perfect blend(s) that will give the smoker the most enjoyment.
This was helped by the development of tobaccos that are suitable for cigarette use, and by the development of the Egyptian cigarette export industry.
During the second half of the 20th century, the adverse health effects of cigarettes started to become widely known and text-only health warnings became commonplace on cigarette packets.
Explorer Christopher Columbus is generally credited with the introduction of tobacco to Europe.
PIPE SMOKING is a practice of 'tasting' or inhaling the smoke produced by burning a substance, most commonly tobacco, in a pipe.