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A medical history of smoking, from cure to killer

In the five centuries since Europeans were introduced to tobacco, smoking has generated considerable controversy. This gallery tracks shifting views on smoking and health, from life-saving stimulant to deadly habit.

Words by Matthew Wood

  • In pictures

About the author

Matthew Wood

Matthew Wood is Exhibitions Officer at the Royal College of Physicians and has been working on their new exhibition ‘Catch Your Breath’, which is open from April to September 2019. The exhibition combines research from the Wellcome-funded Life of Breath project, contemporary artworks, and objects from the RCP’s 500-year-old collections to demonstrate the unique role of respiration in human life and culture.