1729 CE
Emperor Yung Cheng prohibits the sale of opium for smoking in China

An edict prohibiting the sale of opium and the operation of smoking houses is issued by Emperor Yung Cheng. The selling of opium for smoking purposes is now considered a crime. Opium merchants (but not buyers) face severe penalties including execution. The edict did not prohibit traditional medicinal use of opium.

The edict was in response to reports of the evils of opium smoking in some of the remote southern areas influenced by foreign traders and where there had been an epidemic of lawlessness. Until well into the 18th century, opium smoking is relatively localized and not taken too seriously by the imperial government.

The edict did not have much impact on the opium trade or the growing practice of smoking opium, in part, because of strong demand, a ready supply and the corruption of local officials.

Source: Austin, A.A. (1978). Perspectives on the History of Psychoactive Substance Use. NIDA.

Drugs: Opium (morphine, heroin, opioids)
Regions: China
Topics: Cultivation, production and trade, Prohibition