For thousands of years many different varieties of tobacco have grown in the Americas and at least three (N. attenuata, N. Bigelovii and N. glauca) of these were smoked by the Native Indians. The smoking of tobacco for these indigenous peoples was more of a ritual than a general pleasure like it is for most cigarette users these days.
The native Indians didn’t cultivate their tobacco leaves in the conventional sense but they did throw seeds on the fertile ground in the hope they would produce a harvest for their needs. They didn’t irrigate their crops, but relied on the heavens to provide the water needed and gave a helping hand in the growing process by doing a little weeding.
The harvested leaves were dried in a variety of different ways depending on the traditions of the particular tribe involved. Many of their original practices survive today in the production of the nicotine products now so popular in the West such as rolling tobacco, cigarettes, and the increasingly popular e cigarette.
The Indians used pipes in their ritual tobacco smoking which were generally made from soapstone and/or wood. It was a practice in which only men and women “doctors” who did many of the same jobs in the society as the men.
Because the native Indians only smoked tobacco on rare occasions it didn’t cause the same problems in terms of health as it does in the nicotine addicts of today, seen across the USA and the rest of the world. In fact smoking was actually used as a medicine these early societies for problems such as toothache and earache.