Tobacco is another import from the New World by the Spaniards. The word may be related to Tabaco, a province of Yucatan, or the Caribean island of Tobago. However, similar words in Spanish and Italian were commonly used from 1410 to define medicinal herbs, originating from the Arabic tabbaq, a word dating to the 9th century.
Used as a sacred herb since at least 3000 BCE in various North American native cultures, tobacco was introduced as a recreational drug in Europe during the Elizabethan era, imported principally from Spanish colonies in and around the Caribbean and from the English colonies in South Virginia.
Tobacco in the SCA
In the SCA, as in other medieval reenactment groups, smoking tobacco is generally seen as an offensive anachronism and those who smoke are encouraged to do it discreetly or at a distance. This restriction is aided, in Canada and Australia, by the widespread legal ban of smoking in enclosed spaces.