Nicotiana tobacum

This is probably the most popular poison in the world. Who would have thought?

Most people think that the American Indians are the ones to blame, but it was Herodotus, in fact, to mention inhaling the smoke of some smoldering grass. Nicotine–the most important alkaloid of the plant–has been found in the mummy of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II. Moreover, devices related to smoking have been discovered in those ancient tombs.
However, the public opinion is that tobacco was imported to Europe in 1558 due to Francesco Fernandez, the doctor of Philippe II, King of Portugal at that time. At first, it grew in palaces because of its aesthetic value but very soon, almost everyone gained access to the cultivated poison, which made many rulers and highly placed officials take preventive measures against already widespread smoking.
Nicotiana tobacum
Pope Urban VII excommunicated smokers.
Louis XIII prohibited the use of tobacco.
Smokers in Spain were sentenced to prison and hard labor for life by the church court. 
Jacob I, the king of Britain prohibited smoking and banished the smokers from London.
Michael Romanov, king of Russia, punished smokers in the following manner: offenders caught for the first time were given 60 lashes on their feet; the second time the smoker had his nose or ears cut off and was exiled to Siberia.
Murad IV, a sultan of Turkey, ordered smokers to have their hands cut off.
Tobacco traders in Persia were burnt together with their wares.
In India, the nose or the upper lip of smokers was cut.
Apparently, these measures have been both insufficient and unsuccessful. 
Tobacco itself is an annual, about 2 m high, and has large leaves and pink blossoms. In 1828, the French pharmacists Pierre-Joseph Pelletier and Joseph-Bienaim Caventou extracted the poison, the alkaloid nicotine, which was a colorless oily liquid with a sharp hot taste. About 50 mg of it would be sufficient to kill a non-smoker. Researches show that the temperature of the burning end of a cigarette is 830-880 degrees C, which enriches the smoke with more than 1500 ingredients! They were divided into different groups according to their toxic effects:
1. Carbon monoxide–it decreases the oxygen saturation of blood.
2. Irritating substances–they cause cough and wheezing.
3. Dangerous carcinogenic substances.

What then makes people light the next cigarette? At first, nicotine stimulates the brain but shortly, it paralyzes nerve impulses and, as a result, the smoker craves for another cigarette. That is how smoking becomes a habit. The American writer Mark Twain said it was easy to give up smoking and that he had done it a hundred thousand times himself. 

Many plants are poisonous and tobacco happens to be one of them. People smoke it because they easily get addicted to the smoke, gradually killing themselves. Is it the plant to blame?