10 Things You Didn't Know About the History of Smoking

In Victorian England, the meerschaum pipe -- reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes -- was a status symbol.

Few things in life truly become universal human experiences, but smoking earned that title without much trouble at all.

The story comes up again and again: A trader, usually an English trader, sets foot in a new land. He lights up with the locals, and he just can't stop. He gets a bag of the stuff and he takes it with him. In the spirit of friendship, he shares it with everyone he meets. Economies are created, and societies are changed. And it's all for the sake of a little smoke.

That's the history of smoking in a nutshell, and that history is, in many respects, driven by adventure, greed and friendship. But more than anything, it's driven by addiction.

And oh, how we love it. It's a medicine! It's a hobby! It's a gift from God! Or maybe it's a god in itself.

Whatever it is, one thing is certain: Once we got started, it took rigid social strictures to get us to stop. In fact, it's taken us nearly 500 years to start to regain our self-control when it comes to smoking.

Here, we'll delve into 10 things you may not know about the history of smoking.