17th Century Smoking Ban

The things you learn when researching a novel never cease to amaze!!

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Pope Urbain VIII

Pope Urbain VIII

In 1624, Maffeo Barbarini (1568-1644) aka Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) issued a papal bull that ordered a worldwide ban on the smoking and sniffing of tobacco on pain of excommunication.

For health reasons?

No.

Because he believed it led to sneezing and that sneezing too closely resembled sexual ecstasy.

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Though I think Mikhail I Fyodorovich Romanov aka Tsar Michael of Russia (1596-1645) had a much more frightening way to enforce the ban on smoking that he invoked in 1634…

Tsar Michael

Tsar Michael

…A first offence meant a whipping, a slit nose and an exile to Siberia.

And those caught a second time faced execution.