- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Laurence Pringle, whom the Chicago Tribune calls "one of America's top nonfiction writers for young readers," concentrates mainly on biological and environmental subjects. He is the highly acclaimed author of over ninety books for young people, among them Smoking: A Risky Business and Vanishing Ozone. Laurence Pringle is the recipient of two major awards for his body of writing—the Eva L. Gordon Award for Children's Science Literature and the WashingtonPost/Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. He lives in West Nyack, New York.
Laurence Pringle grew up in farm country near Rochester, New York. For four years he attended a one-room school (one teacher with grades one through eight!). He spent many hours alone outdoors and to this day feels at home in the wild and a kinship with nature.
Larry studied wildlife ecology at Cornell University and later earned a master's degree in the same subject at the University of Massachusetts. He began a doctoral program in forest ecology at Syracuse University but then switched to journalism. He began to write articles that were published in nature and outdoor magazines.
A turning point came in 1963. After teaching science for a year, and after taking more journalism courses, Larry became an editor of Nature and Science, a new children's science magazine, published at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
"We had a small staff," he recalls, "and I learned a lot about writing, editing, and picture research. I also learned that my science background and curiosity about nature could be put to good use in children's magazines and books."
His first book, Dinosaurs and Their World, was published in 1968. He became a full-time freelance writer and photographer in 1970. Since then he has had numerous articles and photographs published, but concentrates on writing nonfiction for young people.
Today Larry is the highly respected author of nearly eighty books. His titles include fictional picture books and an inspiring and funny book about human error (The, Earth Is Flat and Other Great Mistakes), but his books are mostly about wildlife, ecology, and natural-resource issues.
Many of them, including Death Is Natural and Living Treasure: Saving Earth's Threatened Biodiversity, have been named NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children. In recognition of his work, Larry has received a Special Conservation Award from the National wildlife Federation and the 1983 Eva L. Gordon Award for Children's Science Literature.
Provides a history of tobacco products and smoking, with a discussion of harmful effects and changing social attitudes.
America's "Gift" To The World
"If you can't send money, send tobacco."
— General George Washington,
in a 1776 letter to the Continental Congress
In 1492, Christopher Columbus explored Caribbean islands he had "discovered" and wrote about the customs of the Tainos people who lived there. The Indians, as he called them, brought many gifts, including "a kind of dry leaf that they hold in great esteem."
In early November of that year, two of Columbus's men observed Tainos men and women "carrying a charred hollow wood in their hand, and herbs to smoke in this wood, which they are in the habit of doing."
The highly esteemed leaves and the herb that was smoked were the same plant: tobacco. The Tainos inhaled tobacco smoke through their nostrils. Other native American groups rolled dry tobacco leaves into a tube shape, tied the leaves tight, lit them, and inhaled the smoke through their mouths. Others smoked tobacco in pipes made of clay, stone, or wood. Europeans had never before seen anyone "drink" smoke, as they called it.
More than sixty kinds of tobacco grow in North and South America, and nearly all Native American people used these plants long before 1492. However, since Columbus heard the Tainos name for a Caribbean variety of tobacco, today we call all species of these plants by that name: tobacco.
According to anthropologists, the earliest known image of tobacco use is a carving found in a Mayan temple in southern Mexico. It shows smoke coming from a long pipe held by a man who may bea shaman — a priest or medicine man. The earliest uses of tobacco were mostly religious. Native Americans believed tobacco had magical powers — to give warriors courage, appease the gods, cure illness, ensure a good harvest or a successful hunt, and so on.
Christopher Columbus took some tobacco leaves back to Queen Isabella of Spain. English and Portuguese explorers also brought tobacco plants and seeds home. Early settlers in the New World and crew members of sailing ships were the first Europeans to try tobacco themselves. Whenever an officer ordered the sailors to stop, they found this difficult if not impossible to do.
By the mid-1500s, tobacco was being grown in England, France, Portugal, and Spain. The use of tobacco spread around the world — to Africa, India, China, and Japan.
Wherever people smoked tobacco — usually in pipes — the habit stirred controversy. Although there was no medical evidence in those times that tobacco was harmful, clergymen sensed correctly that it was a mind-altering drug. They often called the use of tobacco an evil vice.
Others, however, promoted it as medicine. In 1559, Jean Nicot, the French ambassador to Portugal, sent tobacco plants to friends at home and later urged people to use tobacco to treat wounds, and even to cure cancer. (The botanical name for tobacco plants, Nicofiana, is named after Jean Nicot. So is tobacco's best-known ingredient, nicotine.) Tobacco was also thought to be a possible cure for asthma, a disease of the respiratory system.
It was not until the late 1700s that most people gave up the notion that tobacco could cure disease. Meanwhile, some government leaders took drastic steps to discourage people from using tobacco. In 1633, Sultan Murad IV of Turkey believed that smoking reduced the fighting abilities of his soldiers, so he ordered tobacco users hanged, beheaded, or starved to death. About the same time in Russia, Czar Mikhail Fedorovich ordered that tobacco users be punished. Persistent users were killed. In 1683, a Chinese law declared that anyone possessing tobacco would be beheaded.
Nevertheless, tobacco use spread and increased. Spain dominated the tobacco market for more than two centuries, partly because its plantations grew an especially mild variety of tobacco.
English settlers in Virginia had poor results at first because the local variety of tobacco was harsh tasting. However, by about 1612 they managed to get tobacco seeds from one of Spain's colonies in the Caribbean. The seeds did well in Virginia soil, and new ways of drying the tobacco leaves improved their flavor. Tobacco soon became a major crop of the Virginia colony. The Spanish monopoly was broken.
The ways of using tobacco have changed through time. Beginning in the 1700s, the practice of smoking pipes went out of style in England. The fashionable way to take tobacco was to inhale powdered tobacco leaves — called snuff-into the nostrils. The cigarette — bits of tobacco leaves within a little tube of paper — became popular in Europe during the mid-1800s. All cigarettes were rolled by hand, however, which added to their cost.
In 1880, a twenty-year-old Virginian named James Albert Bonsack applied for a patent on his invention: a cigarette-rolling machine. After some improvements, the steam-powered Bonsack machine did the work of forty-eight workers rolling cigarettes by hand. The cost of cigarettes dropped. Further changes in ways ofcuring tobacco leaves also improved the taste of cigarettes. The popularity of cigarettes grew, helped considerably by the invention early in the twentieth century of a safe kind of match. Until then, smokers had no safe, easily carried way of fighting up.
In the twentieth century, cigarettes mostly replaced pipes, cigars, snuff, and chewing tobacco as the favored way to use tobacco. And during this same time period it was learned that smoking cigarettes is the most dangerous way to use tobacco.