In 1603, James VI, King of Scotland from 1567 and now James I of England, started Britain's first anti-smoking campaign with his famous treatise, 'A Counterblaste to Tobacco.' The son of Mary, Queen of Scots, he ascended the throne of England on the death of Queen Elizabeth I.

At the same time, James I was in need of money and discovered how easy it was to tax imported tobacco. In 1608, he lowered the duty to one shilling, entrusting its collection to one of his lovers. In 1615, he made the import of tobacco a Royal monopoly, in open breach of the law as decisively stated in 1602, and farmed it out for a yearly rent of £14,000.

Meanwhile, English settlers in North America realised that there was money in growing tobacco for export. The first known commercial shipment to England in 1613 was ill-received, the Nicotiana rustica native to Virginia being decidely inferior to the tabacum from the Spanish plantations.

In Russia, Michael Feodorovich (1596-1645), the first Romanov Czar, declared tobacco use a deadly sin and forbade possession for any purpose. A Tobacco Court was established to try breaches of the law, its usual punishments were slitting of the lips, or a terrible and sometimes deadly, flogging. Occasionally, offenders were castrated or, if they were rich, exiled to Siberia and their property confiscated.

A few years later, in Turkey, Persia and India, the death penalty was prescribed as a cure for the habit.

1616. The Swiss started smoking. Virginia sent 3,000 pounds of tobacco to London, compared with 53,000 Spanish pounds. Two years later, Virginia was sending 19,000 pounds. By 1620, this had increased to 25,000 pounds and the colonists had made both mercantile and political allies in England. Effort was soon diverted from the suppression to the promotion of Virginia tobacco, at the expense of the Spanish.

In 1618, Raleigh, who discovered and founded the tobacco colony of Virginia in America, smoked his last pipe just before he went to the executioner's block. Some say it was still in his mouth when his head got lopped off.

In 1619, James I tightened his Royal monopoly by prohibiting the cultivation of tobacco around London. The following year, he extended the prohibition to the rest of England.

James I's son, Charles I, shared his father's dislike of tobacco and would allow none of his courtiers to enjoy it in his presence. But he was also too short of money to pick and choose, and continued the monopoly. In 1633, he added the licensing of retailers.

1618-1648. The popularity of pipe smoking was increased and spread by the Thirty Years War.

1620 approx. Japan banned smoking for the first time. Today, it has one of the highest numbers of adult smokers in the world, and one of the lowest incidents of lung cancer, similar to Greece. Does anybody want to find out why?

1622 onwards. A growing number of writers praised tobacco as a universal remedy to mankindıs ills; which is almost as daft as todayıs ill-informed anti-smokers blaming most of them on it.

1629. France's Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642), always on the lookout for fresh sources of revenue, placed a tax on smoking.

1630. . Sweden learned to smoke but it was too late for the Vikings who no doubt would have enjoyed lighting up after all that raping and pillaging between the late 8th and mid-11th centuries.

1642. Pope Urban VIII issued a Papal Bull against smoking in the churches of Seville (so what about all the others, then?).

1648. Anti-smoking increased throughout Europe and most writers were now hostile to it, which proves there's nothing new in this world.

1650. The Austrians lit up for the first time. Pope Innocent V issued a Papal Bull against smoking in St Peter's, Rome.

1657. The Swiss added the prohibition of tobacco to the Ten Commandments, probably because they couldn't see where they're skiing and it's made the cuckoos in their clocks cough.

1659. The republic of Venice founded the first tobacco appalto (a brilliant financial monopoly; much imitated in other countries).

The growing popularity of tobacco led to the appalling spread of black slavery, most of them seized in Africa and shipped across the Atlantic to work on the large-scale cultivation of the aromatic plant, enabling Virginia and Maryland to expand their exports sixfold between 1663 and 1699.

Smoking was lauded as a preventive of the bubonic plague, or Black Death, which made its last and most celebrated appearance in London in 1665-1666, claiming an estimated 70,000 lives from a population of just under half a million.

In his diary of 7th June 1965, Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) recorded: "This day, much against my Will, I did in Drury-lane see two or three houses marked with a red cross upon the doors, and 'Lord have mercy upon us' writ there - which was a sad sight to me, being the first of that kind that to my remembrance I ever saw. It put me into an ill conception of myself and my smell, so that I was forced to buy some roll-tobacco to smell and to chew, which took away the apprehension."

Meanwhile, boys at Eton College were told to smoke a pipe every morning to ward off the plague. One of them later told Thomas Hearne, the antiquarian, how he was flogged when the masters found he was not smoking his daily ration.

1689-1725. Russian Tsar Peter the Great took up and publicly supported smoking.

1699. Franceıs Louis XIV and his physician, Fagon, opposed smoking. Snuff-taking spread, probably because it was comparatively discreet and no one would know unless they hear you sneeze. The Portuguese introduced smoking into India, Eastern Asia and Japan.

1701-1740. The first two Kings of Prussia, Frederick I and Frederick William I, who were both great pipe smokers, held the first 'tobacco parties ' in Court, which later evolved into a Tobacco Club whose chief business was 'smoking'. In 1735, Frederick William I and his friend Stanislaus, the ex-King of Poland, often smoked over 30 pipes between them from five in the afternoon until two the next morning.

By the late 17th century, smoking had spread to Scotland and across the sea to Ireland. Tobacco smuggling was rife as a result of taxation by money-hungry monarchs.

1706. Switzerland decided to unban smoking. Oddly enough the country's alpine snow is still white, not yellow from nicotine stains.

Back home, Glasgow was several hundred miles closer to America than any English port, and the chronic state of war that existed between Britain and much of Europe during the 18th century meant that the Scottish burgh was safer than Bristol. By the 1720s, Glasgow was importing over a half of all the American tobacco brought into Britain and by 1804 the city's population had risen to over 70,000, her growth founded upon a new trade ­ the import and re-export of tobacco from the American colonies.

At one time, Glasgow's tobacco trade was so successful that its English competitors (Liverpool, Bristol, Whitehaven etc) banded together to raise a legal action claiming unfair competition. When it failed they took their case to Parliament.

The dramatic growth in the tobacco trade provided the impetus for developing Glasgow itself as a great port rather than relying on Port Glasgow many miles further down the Clyde. This led to the establishment of shipbuilding and engineering and the prosperity that followed made Glasgow the industrial centre of Scotland. The Clyde became the natural place to build great liners, such as the Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth and the QE2. For a time, Glasgow was known as 'The Second City of the British Empire' ­ and it was mostly due to tobacco.

Meanwhile, in 1725, Pope Benedict XIII issued an edict allowing snuff-taking, even in St Peter's.

1731. John Cockburn was the first Englishman to smoke a cigar, while marooned on the shores of Honduras. Thereıs no record of the first Scot.

1775-1783. In Glasgow, a group of self-made men who cornered the tobacco trade between America and Europe became popularly known as the Tobacco Lords. They were a tightly-knit group often linked by blood and marriage, who owned estates on the other side of the Atlantic and paid for the tobacco by sending over goods of all kinds. All of their plantations and tobacco businesses was taken over by the revolutionaries in the American War of Independence except for William Cunninghame, who shrewdly bought up all his colleagues' stock, worth threepence a pound, for sixpence a pound, and later sold it for three shillings and sixpence a pound, making a vast profit - which helped sustain his memory over the centuries.

Across the English Channel, the Italian adventurer and great lover, Casanova (1725-1798), was one of the first Europeans to smoke cigarettes, as recorded in his memoirs. In London's coffee houses, without a proper introduction, most people tended to ignore each other (as they still do, in the capitalıs pubs and cafes, unlike those in Scotland). Words were only exchanged, then as now, for essential purposes and anything beyond this was met with suspicion. For many, smoking helped to break down this reserve.

There were several ancestors of the cigar's poorer cousin, the cigarette, some of them now difficult to recognise, but most shared the common feature of being smaller and cheaper than cigars and hand-wrapped in paper.

According to reports of missionaries and travellers, hand-rolled cigarettes were known in the middle of the 18th century in South America, especially in Brazil where they were called papelitos.

Hand-rolled cigarettes come into circulation in Spain during the Napoleonic Wars of 1792-1815, but it was not until after the Crimean War (1856) that the cigarette was widely circulated in Europe via the various participating armies (Turkish, English, French and Piedmontese) who found it far cheaper to roll their own cigarettes than to buy ready made cigars.

Napoleon I (1769-1821) had no use for smoking but this didn't stop him consuming seven pounds of snuff a month. He owned countless snuff-boxes including one with a portrait of his beloved Josephine on the lid. Mortified when it broke he begged her to send him another box containing a lock of her hair.

Snuff-taking was introduced from France and made fashionable in English society by the Regency rake, dandy and wit, Beau Brummel (1778-1840). The manufacture of snuff was a complex, tedious and difficult undertaking and is now a dying art. In 18th century Scotland, the habit of snuff taking became almost universal; it was said that every second Scotsman snuffed. It was (and is still is) certainly true that every Scots man and woman eventually 'snuffed it' at the end of their lives, whether they snuffed, or not.

The snuff box introduced from France was of papier-mache and though light in weight, was shallow, of an awkward shape, and had no means of fastening the lid securely and so its contents were often spilled in the pocket.

Scotsmen began to use the horn of a cow or ram (rarely that of a deer) and closed the opening with a leather plug. Then a hinged lid was invented, the inner part of which was a tight-fitting cork. This was mounted in silver and embellishes with the national emblem. The box was called a mull.

The careful Scot was fond of pewter as a material for his snuff box as it did not cost much and wore well. A favourite form was one made from a small hoof and furnished with a pewter rim and lid. Boxes of this kind were made by a Scottish craftsman called Durie.

About 1820, wooden snuff boxes with a hinge that enabled to lid to be closed tightly began to be made at Laurencekirk. They were the invention of Mr Stiven and proved so highly popular that they were successfully imitated at Auchinleck, Cumnock and Mauchline, in Ayrshire.

After a brief period when pipe smoking was unfashionable, the smoking habit was revived with the growing European demand for cigars. Sevillas, as the Spanish home-grown cigars were called, were superseded by those from the then Spanish colony, Cuba, boosted by King Ferdinand VII of Spain's decree in 1821, which encouraged the production of Cuban 'sticks'.

1830. The first Cuban segars (as they were then known) arrived in London at the shop of Robert Lewis in St James's Street. Great (as it was then) Britain's first cigar divan, Simpson's-in-the-Strand opened in London, two years later.

Over the next few decades, Europe's trains introduced smoking carriages, hotels set aside smoking lounges for their guests and smoking jackets and velvet tasselled smoking hats became de rigeur for gentlemen smokers. The after-dinner cigar, enjoyed with a glass of port or brandy by gentlemen who left the female diners to their own devices, became an established tradition.

European women had in fact developed an early taste for smoking. The French writer, George Sand, while living with Chopin in the mid-1800s, loved to shock her guests by lighting up a cigar after breakfast.

From the 1830s, English and Scottish smokes were lit by the 'phosphorus' or 'lucifer' match, followed by Vestas, Vesuvians, Flamers and Fuzees. Their wholesale cost was recorded by Henry Mayhew, a founder of Punch magazine and famous social recorder of Victorian London's poor, at four and a half pence per thousand.

The first commercially produced cigarettes were manufactured in France in 1843 by the State-run Manufacture Francaise des Tabacs. The first consignment of 20,000 cigarettes were sold at a charity bazaar organised by Queen Marie-Amelie in Paris that year.