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Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it most commonly appears in the forms of smoking, chewing, snuffing, or dipping tobacco, or snus. Tobacco has long been in use as an entheogen in the Americas. However, upon the arrival of Europeans in North America, it quickly became popularized as a trade item and as a recreational drug. This popularization led to the development of the southern economy of the United States until it gave way to cotton. Following the American Civil War, a change in demand and a change in labor force allowed for the development of the cigarette. This new product quickly led to the growth of tobacco companies until the scientific controversy of the mid-1900s.
There are many species of tobacco, which are all encompassed by the plant genus Nicotiana. The word nicotiana (as well as nicotine) was named in honor of Jean Nicot, French ambassador to Portugal, who in 1559 sent it as a medicine to the court of Catherine de Medici.
Because of the addictive properties of nicotine, tolerance and dependence develop. Absorption quantity, frequency, and speed of tobacco consumption are believed to be directly related to biological strength of nicotine dependence, addiction, and tolerance. The usage of tobacco is an activity that is practiced by some 1.1 billion people, and up to 1/3 of the adult population. The World Health Organization reports it to be the leading preventable cause of death worldwide and estimates that it currently causes 5.4 million deaths per year. Rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in developed countries, however they continue to rise in developing countries.
Tobacco is cultivated similar to other agricultural products. Seeds are sown in cold frames or hotbeds to prevent attacks from insects, and then transplanted into the fields. Tobacco is an annual crop, which is usually harvested in a large single-piece farm equipment. After harvest, tobacco is stored to allow for curing, which allow for the slow oxidation and degradation of carotenoids. This allows for the agricultural product to take on properties that are usually attributed to the "smoothness" of the smoke. Following this, tobacco is packed into its various forms of consumption which include smoking, chewing, sniffing, and so on.
The Spanish word "tabaco" is thought to have its origin in Arawakan language, particularly, in the Taino language of the Caribbean. In Taino, it was said to refer either to a roll of tobacco leaves (according to Bartolome de Las Casas, 1552), or to the tabago, a kind of Y-shaped pipe for Blake sniffing tobacco smoke (according to Oviedo; with the leaves themselves being referred to as Cohiba).
However, similar words in Spanish and Italian were commonly used from 1410 to define medicinal herbs, originating from the Arabic tabbaq, a word reportedly dating to the 9th century, as the name of various herbs.
Tobacco had already long been used in the Americas when European settlers arrived and introduced the practice to Europe, where it became popular. At high doses, tobacco can become hallucinogenic; accordingly, Native Americans never used the drug recreationally. Instead, it was often consumed as an entheogen; among some tribes, this was done only by experienced shamans or medicine men. Eastern North American tribes would carry large amounts of tobacco in pouches as a readily accepted trade item and would often smoke it in pipes, either in defined ceremonies that were considered sacred, or to seal a bargain, and they would smoke it at such occasions in all stages of life, even in childhood. It was believed that tobacco was a gift from the Creator and that the exhaled tobacco smoke was capable of carrying one's thoughts and prayers to heaven.
Following the arrival of the Europeans, tobacco became increasingly popular as a trade item. It fostered the economy for the southern United States until it was replaced by cotton. Following the American civil war, a change in demand and a change in labor force allowed inventor James Bonsack to create a machine which automated cigarette production.
This increase in production allowed tremendous growth in the tobacco industry until the scientific revelations of the mid-1900s.
Following the scientific revelations of the mid-1900s, tobacco became condemned as a health hazard, and eventually became encompassed as a cause for cancer, as well as other respiratory and circulatory diseases. This led to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) which settled the lawsuit in exchange for a combination of yearly payments to the states and voluntary restrictions on advertising and marketing of tobacco products.
In the 1970s Brown & Williamsons cross-bred a strain of tobacco to produce Y1. This strain of tobacco contained an unusually high amount of nicotine, nearly doubling its content from 3.2-3.5% to 6.5%. In the 1990s, this prompted Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to use this strain as evidence that tobacco companies were intentionally manipulating the nicotine content of cigarettes.
In 2003, in response to tobaccos growth in developing countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) successfully rallied 168 countries to sign the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The Convention is designed to push for effective legislation and its enforcement in all countries to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco. This led to the development of tobacco cessation products.
There are many species of tobacco, which are encompassed by the genus of herbs Nicotiana. It is part of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) indigenous to North and South America, Australia, south west Africa and the South Pacific.
Many plants contain nicotine, a powerful neurotoxin that is particularly harmful to insects. However, tobaccos contain a higher concentration of nicotine than most other plants. Unlike many other Solanaceae they do not contain tropane alkaloids, which are often poisonous to humans and other animals.
Despite containing enough nicotine and other compounds such as germacrene and anabasine and other piperidine alkaloids (varying between species) to deter most herbivores, a number of such animals have evolved the ability to feed on Nicotiana species without being harmed. Nonetheless, tobacco is unpalatable to many species and therefore some tobacco plants (chiefly Tree Tobacco, N. glauca) have become established as invasive weeds in some places.
There are a number of types of tobacco include but are not limited to:
Due to its long existence, tobacco has fostered many cultural items including: the usage of peace pipes, advertisements, movies. From its discovery tobacco has been highly regarded used in cultural ceremonies, for recreational purposes, and so forth. At the arrivals of the Europeans, tobacco was came to be regarded with wealth and knowledge. Smoking in public has for a long time been something reserved for men and when done by women has been associated with promiscuity. In Japan during the Edo period, prostitutes and their clients would often approach one another under the guise of offering a smoke and the same was true for 19th century Europe.
Following the civil war, the usage of tobacco, primarily in cigarettes became associated with masculinity, and power and is an iconic image associated with the stereotypical capitalist.From the mid-1900s and to today Tobacco is often rejected. This has spawned quitting-associations, negative-campaigns, and so forth. Bhutan is the only country in the world where tobacco sales are illegal.
Research is limited mainly to tobacco smoking, which has been studied the more extensively than any other form of consumption. As of 2000, smoking is practiced by some 1.22 billion people, of which men are more likely to smoke than women (however the gender gap declines with age), poor more likely than rich, and people in developing countries or transitional economies are more likely than people in developed countries. As of 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that of the 58.8 million deaths to occur globally, 5.4 million are tobacco-attributed.
Tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer).
The World Health Organization estimate that tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths in 2004 and 100 million deaths over the course of the 20th century. Similarly, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes tobacco use as "the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide."
Rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in the developed world. Smoking rates in the United States have dropped by half from 1965 to 2006 falling from 42% to 20.8% in adults. In the developing world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year.
"Much of the disease burden and premature mortality attributable to tobacco use disproportionately affect the poor", and of the 1.22 billion smokers, 1 billion of them live in developing or transitional economies.
In Indonesia, the lowest income group spends 15% of its total expenditures on tobacco. In Egypt, more than 10% of households expediture in low-income homes is on tobacco. The poorest 20% of households in Mexico spend 11% of their income on tobacco.
The tobacco lobby gives money to politicians to vote in favor of deregulating tobacco. It is estimated that the United States tobacco lobby spends an average of $106,415 each day legislature meets; however the industry lost its support when the U.S. National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) filed charges against the Tobacco Institute, a tobacco industry advocacy group. This resulted in the Master Settlement Agreement, which forced the organization to disband and place all records on a website.
Tobacco is cultivated similar to other agricultural products. Seeds were at first quickly scattered onto the soil. However, young plants came under increasing attack from flea beetles (Epitrix cucumeris or Epitrix pubescens), which caused destruction of half the tobacco crops in United States in 1876. By 1890 successful experiments were conducted that placed the plant in a frame covered by thin fabric. Today, tobacco is sown in cold frames or hotbeds, as their germination is activated by light.
In the United States, tobacco is often fertilized with the mineral apatite, which partially starves the plant of nitrogen to produce a more desired flavor. Apatite, however, contains radium, lead 210, and polonium 210 — which are known radioactive carcinogens.
After the plants have reached relative maturity, they are transplanted into the fields, in which a relatively large hole is created in the tilled earth with a tobacco peg. Various mechanical tobacco planters where invented in the nineteenth and twentieth to automate the process: making the hole, fertilizing it, guiding the plant in — all in one motion.
Tobacco is cultivated annually, and can be harvested in several ways. In the oldest method, the entire plant is harvested at once by cutting off the stalk at the ground with a sickle. In the nineteenth century, bright tobacco began to be harvested by pulling individual leaves off the stalk as they ripened. The leaves ripen from the ground upwards, so a field of tobacco may go through several so-called "pullings," more commonly known as topping (topping always refers to the removal of the tobacco flower before the leaves are systematically removed and, eventually, entirely harvested. As the industrial revolution took hold, harvesting wagons used to transport leaves were equipped with man-powered stringers, an apparatus which used twine to attach leaves to a pole. In modern times large fields are harvested by a single piece of farm equipment, although topping the flower and in some cases the plucking of immature leaves is still done by hand.
Curing and subsequent aging allows for the slow oxidation and degradation of carotenoids in tobacco leaf. This produces certain compounds in the tobacco leaves very similar and give a sweet hay, tea, rose oil, or fruity aromatic flavor that contribute to the "smoothness" of the smoke. Starch is converted to sugar which glycates protein and is oxidized into advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), a caramelization process that also adds flavor. Inhalation of these AGEs in tobacco smoke contributes to atherosclerosis and cancer. Levels of AGE's is dependent on the curing method used.
Tobacco can be cured through several methods which include but are not limited to:
Tobacco is consumed in many forms and through a number of different methods. Below are examples including, but not limited to, such forms and usage.
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|Flowering Nicotiana tabacum|
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Tobacco is a plant of the nightshade family, found mainly in North America and South America. Dried tobacco leaves are often smoked in cigars, cigarettes and pipes, but can also be chewed in the mouth or sniffed in the nose. Tobacco contains a very powerful chemical called nicotine which makes it very hard for tobacco users to stop using it.
Native Americans used tobacco before Europeans arrived in America. These Europeans learned to smoke and brought it back to Europe, where it became very popular. At that time tobacco was usually smoked in a pipe.
The Europeans who moved to America started to farm tobacco so that they could sell it in Europe. This became one of the main causes of the African slave trade. In 1610 a European man called John Rolfe arrived in the American state of Virginia and set up a tobacco farm which made him very rich. Rolfe was the first farmer to use nicotiana tabacum, which is the type of tobacco most commonly smoked today. He also married Pocahontas, a Native American woman who became famous when went to live in London.
In the 17th and 18th centuries tobacco made farmers very rich and towns quickly grew in the states of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. In 1883 one third of United States tax money came from tobacco.
In 1864 the first American tobacco factory opened to produce 20 million cigarettes annually. By 1964 the cigarette contained over 500 added chemicals. Today tobacco manufacturers are still not required by law to list the 500+ ingredients.
Tobacco users (especially smokers) risk many very serious and often deadly illnesses, such as cancer, strokes, heart disease, and lung disease. The United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes tobacco use as "the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature (early) death worldwide".
|Top Ten Tobacco Producers - 2005|
(million metric ton)
UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
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