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In this narrative review, we explore the history of tobacco smoking, its associations and portrayal of its use with luxury and glamour in the past, and intriguingly, its subsequent transformation into a mass consumption industrialized product encouraged by advertising and film. Then, we describe the next phase where tobacco in parts of the world has become an unwanted product. However, the number of smokers is still increasing, especially in new markets, and increasingly younger individuals are being attracted to it, despite the well-known health consequences of tobacco use. We also explore current smoking behaviors, looking at trends in the prevalence of consumption throughout the world, discrimination against smokers, light and/or intermittent smokers, and the electronic cigarette (e-cigarette). We place these changes in the context of neuroscience, which may help explain why the cognitive effects of smoking can be important reinforcers for its consumption despite strong anti-smoking pressure in Western countries.