According to discover magazine:
Tobacco kills hundreds of thousands of people every year but the addictive substance has a complex history. For many Native Americans tobacco has been ritually for hundreds of years. Now researchers have shown that they were smoking tobacco a thousand years before European fur-traders arrived ...
For many native people, tobacco use was historically associated with sacred ceremonies and only certain tribal members smoked a limited amount of the plant. Now 34% of Idaho American Indians smoke tobacco according to a 2015 survey by the Idaho Department of Work & Health.
This is confirmed in a 2018 report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States by Tushingham et al in 2018, where they report
Dried trade tobacco, much more potent than any native smoke variety, was conveyed in sizable, easy to carry bundles, known as 'twists' or 'carrots'. Its use spread like wildfire ...
This shows that an important factor was the commodification of tobacco by the migration of Europeans, a highly commercialised and mercantile civilisation into the Americas. This is one reason that one Native American site, Keeping it Sacred states:
In many teachings, the smoke from burned tobacco has the purpose of carrying thoughts to the Spirit World or the Creator and when used appropriately traditional tobacco is not associated with addiction or with adverse health impacts
A useful comparison is to see how alcohol, a traditional drink within European communities, circumscribed by social practises and used sacramentally within Roman Catholic communities has impacted Native American communities. According to the American Addiction Centre
Native Americans experience [alcohol] abuse and addiction at much higher rates than other ethnic communities ...
It's likely that Native American communities did not have the social & cultural knowledge in how to handle alcohol: It was not part of their ceremonies nor in how they relaxed.
All this shows that an important factor that has been neglected in the study of nicotine addiction is its social, cultural & religious context and the commodification of tobacco to a potent drug - think of how drug cartels now with cannabis have bred skunk, a much stronger version of traditional cannabis.
The actual isolation of nicotine as a chemical was in 1828 by Posselt & Reimann who believed it to be a poison. There are trace quantities (millionths of a percent) also in potatoes, eggplants and tomatoes.