Tobacco Alcohol and Caffeine—Centuries of Use - Alcohol, Tobacco, Caffeine
plant modern centuries beans
Alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine have been used around the world for centuries. They are firmly entrenched in modern life—socially, economically, and politically. Virtually every society uses one or more of these drugs.
Alcohol has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, primarily for sedation. Until 1842, when modern surgical anesthesia began with the use of ether, only heavy doses of alcohol were consistently effective to ease pain during operations.
Tobacco is a commercially grown plant that contains nicotine, an addictive drug. Nicotine is primarily found in tobacco products, such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco, but is also used in the manufacture of certain pesticides.
Caffeine is the most commonly used stimulant in the world. It comes from several commercially grown plants: beans of the coffee plant; leaves of the tea plant; cocoa beans of the cacao tree, from which chocolate is made; and kola nuts from kola trees, from which the flavoring agent in cola drinks is derived. Caffeine is often added to foods and medications. Compared to alcohol and tobacco, it is only mildly addictive, but caffeine can have effects on behavior and health.