Early Chilean societies consumed nicotine, study reveals

06/30/2013 | LiveScience.com

Researchers discovered traces of nicotine in the hair of several Chilean mummies from 100 B.C. to 1450 A.D., suggesting that smoking tobacco was more pervasive at that time than previously thought. The study found that nicotine use by pre-Hispanic societies was not limited to social status or wealth, and that nicotine was used alongside hallucinogens, rather than replaced by them. "The idea was that around A.D. 400, people in San Pedro de Atacama smoked tobacco in pipes, and then after that time, they gradually switched to inhaling dimethyltryptamines in snuffing trays. What we show is that's not correct," said study co-author Hermann Niemeyer.

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