After European contact, tobacco would become a valued trading commodity, as the stimulant effects of nicotine, an important alkaloid present in tobacco, gave it great appeal to its Old World discoverers. The recreative aspect was to supplant the spiritual significance that tobacco had in the land of its origins, entirely disregarded in a Christian context, even becoming associated with witchcraft. However, tobacco also became regarded in Europe as a panacea, a medicine to cure any illness, and since the 16th century CE it became widespread among the elite, where the custom of snuffing, smoking, and chewing became popular. By late 19th century CE, cigarettes arose in popularity. James Bonsack created a machine that automated cigarette production. This increase in production allowed tremendous growth in the tobacco industry until the health revelations of the late-20th century, when tobacco became condemned as a health hazard, and eventually became encompassed as a cause for cancer, as well as other respiratory and circulatory diseases.