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Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines.It is most commonly used as a drug, and is a valuable cash crop for countries such as Cuba, India, China, and the United States. Tobacco is a name for any plant of the genus Nicotiana of the Solanaceae family (nightshade family) and for the product manufactured from the leaf used in cigars and cigarettes, snuff, and pipe and chewing tobacco. Tobacco plants are also used in plant bioengineering, and some of the more than 70 species are grown as ornamentals. The chief commercial species, N. tabacum, is believed native to tropical America, like most nicotiana plants, but has been so long cultivated that it is no longer known in the wild. N. rustica, a mild-flavored, fast-burning species, was the tobacco originally raised in Virginia, but it is now grown chiefly in Turkey, India, and Russia. The alkaloid nicotine is popularly considered the most characteristic constituent of tobacco but nicotine is not highly addictive on its own. It is thought that the interaction between beta-carbolines and nicotine is responsible for most of the addictive properties of tobacco smoking. The harmful effects of tobacco derive from the thousands of different compounds generated in the smoke, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (such as benzpyrene), formaldehyde, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), phenols, and many others.
In consumption it most commonly appears in the forms of smoking, chewing, snuffing, or dipping tobacco. Tobacco had long been in use as an entheogen in the Americas, but upon the arrival of Europeans in North America, it quickly became popularized as a trade item and a widely abused 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.
Because of the powerfully addictive properties of tobacco, tolerance and dependence develop. 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 (WHO) 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, but continue to rise in developing countries.
Tobacco is cultivated similarly 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 mechanically or by hand. After harvest, tobacco is stored for curing, either by hanging, bundling or placing in large piles with tubular vents to allow the heat to escape from the center. Curing allows 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, snuffing, and so on. Most cigarettes incorporate flue-cured tobacco, which produces a milder, more inhalable smoke. Use of low-pH, inhalable, flue-cured tobacco is one of the principal reasons smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases association with smoke inhalation.


Etymology


The Spanish and Portuguese word tabaco is thought to have originated in Taino, the Arawakan language of the Caribbean. In Taino, it was said to refer either to a roll of tobacco leaves (according to Bartolomé de las Casas, 1552), or to the tabago, a kind of Y-shaped pipe for sniffing tobacco smoke also known as snuff (according to Oviedo; with the leaves themselves being referred to as cohiba).
However, similar words in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian were commonly used from 1410 to define medicinal herbs, originating from the Arabic طبق tabbaq, a word reportedly dating to the 9th century, as the name of various herbs.
 

History

The earliest depiction of a European man smoking, from Tabacco by Anthony Chute.
Tobacco had already long been used in the Americas when European settlers arrived and introduced the practice to Europe, where it became popular. Many Native American tribes have traditionally grown and used tobacco with some cultivation sites in Mexico dating back to 1400-1000 B.C. [Eastern North American tribes carried large amounts of tobacco in pouches as a readily accepted trade item, and often smoked it in peace pipes, either in defined sacred ceremonies, or to seal a bargain, and they smoked it at such occasions in all stages of life, even in childhood. It was believed that tobacco is a gift from the Creator, and that the exhaled tobacco smoke carries one's thoughts and prayers to heaven. Before the development of lighter Virginia and White Burley strains of tobacco, the smoke was too harsh to be inhaled traditionally by Native Americans in ceremonial use or by Europeans who used it in the form of pipes and cigars. Inhaling "rough" tobacco without seriously damaging the lungs in the short term required smoking only small quantities at a time using a pipe like the midwakh or kiseru or smoking newly invented waterpipes such as the bong or the hookah (See Thuoc lao for a modern continuance of this practice). Inhaling smoke was already common in the East with the introduction of cannabis and opium millennia before.


Popularization


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 that automated cigarette production.
This increase in production allowed tremendous growth in the tobacco industry until the scientific revelations of the mid-20th century.
Contemporary
Following the scientific revelations of the mid-20th century, tobacco became condemned as a health hazard, and eventually became encompassed as a cause for cancer, as well as other respiratory and circulatory diseases. In the United States, 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 & Williamson 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 the 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 growth of tobacco use 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.
Nicotine is the compound responsible for the addictive nature of Tobacco use.
There are many species of tobacco in 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 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 accordingly some tobacco plants (chiefly tree tobacco, N. glauca) have become established as invasive weeds in some places.
 
Types of tobacco


There are a number of types of tobacco including, but are not limited to:
Aromatic fire-cured is cured by smoke from open fires. In the United States, it is grown in northern middle Tennessee, central Kentucky and in Virginia. Fire-cured tobacco grown in Kentucky and Tennessee are used in some chewing tobaccos, moist snuff, some cigarettes, and as a condiment in pipe tobacco blends. Another fire-cured tobacco is Latakia, which is produced from oriental varieties of N. tabacum. The leaves are cured and smoked over smoldering fires of local hardwoods and aromatic shrubs in Cyprus and Syria.
Brightleaf tobacco, Brightleaf is commonly known as "Virginia tobacco", often regardless of the state where they are planted. Prior to the American Civil War, most tobacco grown in the US was fire-cured dark-leaf. This type of tobacco was planted in fertile lowlands, used a robust variety of leaf, and was either fire cured or air cured. Most Canadian cigarettes are made from 100% pure Virginia tobacco.
Burley tobacco, is an air-cured tobacco used primarily for cigarette production. In the U.S., burley tobacco plants are started from palletized seeds placed in polystyrene trays floated on a bed of fertilized water in March or April.
Cavendish is more a process of curing and a method of cutting tobacco than a type. The processing and the cut are used to bring out the natural sweet taste in the tobacco. Cavendish can be produced from any tobacco type, but is usually one of, or a blend of Kentucky, Virginia, and burley, and is most commonly used for pipe tobacco and cigars.
Criollo tobacco is a type of tobacco, primarily used in the making of cigars. It was, by most accounts, one of the original Cuban tobaccos that emerged around the time of Columbus.
Dokha, is a tobacco originally grown in Iran, mixed with leaves, bark, and herbs for smoking in a midwakh.
Turkish tobacco, is a sun-cured, highly aromatic, small-leafed variety (Nicotiana tabacum) that is grown in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. Originally grown in regions historically part of the Ottoman Empire, it is also known as "oriental". Many of the early brands of cigarettes were made mostly or entirely of Turkish tobacco; today, its main use is in blends of pipe and especially cigarette tobacco (a typical American cigarette is a blend of bright Virginia, burley and Turkish).
Perique, a farmer called Pierre Chenet is credited with first turning this local tobacco into the Perique in 1824 through the technique of pressure-fermentation. Considered the truffle of pipe tobaccos, it is used as a component in many blended pipe tobaccos, but is too strong to be smoked pure. At one time, the freshly moist Perique was also chewed, but none is now sold for this purpose. It is typically blended with pure Virginia to lend spice, strength, and coolness to the blend.
Shade tobacco, is cultivated in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Early Connecticut colonists acquired from the Native Americans the habit of smoking tobacco in pipes, and began cultivating the plant commercially, even though the Puritans referred to it as the "evil weed". The Connecticut shade industry has weathered some major catastrophes, including a devastating hailstorm in 1929, and an epidemic of brown spot fungus in 2000, but is now in danger of disappearing altogether, given the value of the land to real estate speculators.
White burley, in 1865, George Webb of Brown County, Ohio planted red burley seeds he had purchased, and found that a few of the seedlings had a whitish, sickly look. The air-cured leaf was found to be more mild than other types of tobacco.
Wild tobacco, is native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, and parts of South America. Its botanical name is Nicotiana rustica.
Y1 is a strain of tobacco cross-bred by Brown & Williamson in the 1970s to obtain an unusually high nicotine content. In the 1990s, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used it as evidence that tobacco companies were intentionally manipulating the nicotine content of cigarettes.

Cultivation of tobacco

Tobacco is cultivated similarly 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 cotton 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, and lead 210—which are known carcinogens.
After the plants are about eight inches tall, they are transplanted into the fields. Farmers used to have to wait for rainy weather to plant. A hole is created in the tilled earth with a tobacco peg, either a curved wooden tool or deer antler. After making two holes to the right and left - you would move forward two feet, select plants from your bag and repeat. Various mechanical tobacco planters like Bemis, New Idea Setter, and New Holland Transplanter were invented in the late 19th and 20th centuries to automate the process: making the hole, watering it, guiding the plant in — all in one motion.
Tobacco is cultivated annually, and can be harvested in several ways. In the oldest method still used today, the entire plant is harvested at once by cutting off the stalk at the ground with a tobacco knife. It is then speared onto sticks, four to six plants a stick and hung in a curing barn. In the 19th 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 harvested in this manner will involve the serial harvest of a number of "primings," beginning with the volado leaves near the ground, working to the second leaves in the middle of the plant, and finishing with the potent ligero leaves at the top. Before this the crop needs to be topped when the pink flowers develop. 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 that used twine to attach leaves to a pole. In modern times, large fields are harvested mechanically, although topping the flower and in some cases the plucking of immature leaves is still done by hand. Most tobacco in the U.S. is grown in Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina.
Curing
Curing and subsequent aging allow for the slow oxidation and degradation of carotenoids in tobacco leaf. This produces certain compounds in the tobacco leaves, and gives a sweet hay, tea, rose oil, or fruity aromatic flavor that contributes to the "smoothness" of the smoke. Starch is converted to sugar, which glycates protein, and is oxidized into advanced glycation end products (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, including:
Air cured tobacco is hung in well-ventilated barns and allowed to dry over a period of four to eight weeks. Air-cured tobacco is low in sugar, which gives the tobacco smoke a light, mild flavor, and high in nicotine. Cigar and burley tobaccos are 'Dark' air cured.
Fire cured tobacco is hung in large barns where fires of hardwoods are kept on continuous or intermittent low smoulder and takes between three days and ten weeks, depending on the process and the tobacco. Fire curing produces a tobacco low in sugar and high in nicotine. Pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff are fire cured.
Flue cured tobacco was originally strung onto tobacco sticks, which were hung from tier-poles in curing barns (Aus: kilns, also traditionally called Oasts). These barns have flues run from externally fed fire boxes, heat-curing the tobacco without exposing it to smoke, slowly raising the temperature over the course of the curing. The process generally takes about a week. This method produces cigarette tobacco that is high in sugar and has medium to high levels of nicotine.
Sun-cured tobacco dries uncovered in the sun. This method is used in Turkey, Greece and other Mediterranean countries to produce oriental tobacco. Sun-cured tobacco is low in sugar and nicotine and is used in cigarettes.
Consumption
Tobacco products
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.
Beedi are thin, often flavored, south Asian cigarettes made of tobacco wrapped in a tendu leaf, and secured with colored thread at one end.
Chewing tobacco is the oldest way of consuming tobacco leaves. It is consumed orally, in two forms: through sweetened strands, or in a shredded form. When consuming the long sweetened strands, the tobacco is lightly chewed and compacted into a ball. When consuming the shredded tobacco, small amounts are placed at the bottom lip, between the gum and the teeth, where it is gently compacted, thus it can often be called dipping tobacco. Both methods stimulate the saliva glands, which led to the development of the spittoon.
Cigars are tightly rolled bundles of dried and fermented tobacco, which is ignited so its smoke may be drawn into the smoker's mouth.
Cigarettes are a product consumed through inhalation of smoke and manufactured from cured and finely cut tobacco leaves and reconstituted tobacco, often combined with other additives, then rolled or stuffed into a paper cylinder.
Creamy snuffs are tobacco paste, consisting of tobacco, clove oil, glycerin, spearmint, menthol, and camphor, and sold in a toothpaste tube. It is marketed mainly to women in India, and is known by the brand names Ipco (made by Asha Industries), Denobac, Tona, Ganesh. It is locally known as "mishri" in some parts of Maharashtra.
Dipping tobaccos are a form of smokeless tobacco. Dip is occasionally referred to as "chew", and because of this, it is commonly confused with chewing tobacco, which encompasses a wider range of products. A small clump of dip is 'pinched' out of the tin and placed between the lower or upper lip and gums.
Gutka is a preparation of crushed betel nut, tobacco, and sweet or savory flavorings. It is manufactured in India and exported to a few other countries. A mild stimulant, it is sold across India in small, individual-size packets.
Hookah is a single or multi-stemmed (often glass-based) water pipe for smoking. Originally from India, the hookah has gained immense popularity, especially in the Middle East. A hookah operates by water filtration and indirect heat. It can be used for smoking herbal fruits or moassel, a mixture of tobacco, flavouring and honey or glycerin.
Kreteks are cigarettes made with a complex blend of tobacco, cloves and a flavoring "sauce". It was first introduced in the 1880s in Kudus, Java, to deliver the medicinal eugenol of cloves to the lungs.
Roll-Your-Own, often called rollies or roll ups, are very popular, particularly in European countries. These are prepared from loose tobacco, cigarette papers and filters all bought separately. They are usually much cheaper to make.
Pipe smoking typically consists of a small chamber (the bowl) for the combustion of the tobacco to be smoked and a thin stem (shank) that ends in a mouthpiece (the bit). Shredded pieces of tobacco are placed into the chamber and ignited.
Snuff is a generic term for fine-ground smokeless tobacco products. Originally the term referred only to dry snuff, a fine tan dust popular mainly in the 18th century. Snuff powder originated in the UK town of Great Harwood, and was famously ground in the town's monument prior to local distribution and transport further up north to Scotland. There are two major varieties: European (dry) and American (moist)—though American snuff is often called dipping tobacco.
Snus is a steam-cured moist powder tobacco product that is not fermented, and does not induce salivation. It is consumed by placing it in the mouth against the gums for an extended period of time. It is a form of snuff used in a manner similar to American dipping tobacco, but does not require regular spitting.
Topical tobacco paste is sometimes recommended as a treatment for wasp, hornet, fire ant, scorpion, and bee stings.[36] An amount equivalent to the contents of a cigarette is mashed in a cup with about a 0.5 to 1 teaspoon of water to make a paste that is then applied to the affected area.
Tobacco water is a traditional organic insecticide used in domestic gardening. Tobacco dust can be used similarly. It is produced by boiling strong tobacco in water, or by steeping the tobacco in water for a longer period. When cooled, the mixture can be applied as a spray, or 'painted' on to the leaves of garden plants, where it kills insects. Tobacco is however banned from use as pesticide in certified organic production.
Global production
Trends
Production of tobacco leaf increased by 40% between 1971, during which 4.2 million tons of leaf were produced, and 1997, during which 5.9 million tons of leaf were produced. According to the Food and Agriculture organization of the UN, tobacco leaf production was expected to hit 7.1 million tons by 2010. This number is a bit lower than the record high production of 1992, during which 7.5 million tons of leaf were produced. The production growth was almost entirely due to increased productivity by developing nations, where production increased by 128%. During that same time period, production in developing countries actually decreased. China's increase in tobacco production was the single biggest factor in the increase in world production. China’s share of the world market increased from 17% in 1971 to 47% in 1997. This growth can be partially explained by the existence of a high import tariff on foreign tobacco entering China. While this tariff has been reduced from 64% in 1999 to 10% in 2004, it still has led to local, Chinese cigarettes being preferred over foreign cigarettes because of their lower cost.
Every year 6.7 million tons of tobacco are produced throughout the world. The top producers of tobacco are China (39.6%), India (8.3%), Brazil (7.0%) and the United States (4.6%).
Major producers
China
Around the peak of global tobacco production there were 20 million rural Chinese households producing tobacco on 2.1 million hectares of land. While it is the major crop for millions of Chinese farmers, growing tobacco is not as profitable as cotton or sugar cane. This is because the Chinese government sets the market price. While this price is guaranteed, it is lower than the natural market price, because of the lack of market risk. To further control tobacco in their borders, China founded a State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA) in 1982. STMA control tobacco production, marketing, imports and exports and contributes 12% to the nation's national income. As noted above, despite the income generated for the state by profits from state-owned tobacco companies and the taxes paid by companies and retailers, China's government has acted to reduce tobacco use.
 Pakistan
Each year 5% of the total land of Pakistan is cultivated for tobacco. It is widely grown in Southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.
 Brazil
In Brazil around 135,000 family farmers cite tobacco production as their main economic activity. Tobacco has never exceeded 0.7% of the country’s total cultivated area. In the southern regions of Brazil, Virginia and Amarelinho flue-cured tobacco as well as Burley and Galpao Comun air-cured tobacco are produced. These types of tobacco are used for cigarettes. In the northeast, darker, air- and sun-cured tobacco is grown. These types of tobacco are used for cigars, twists and dark-cigarettes. Brazil’s government has made attempts to reduce the production of tobacco, but has not had a successful systematic anti-tobacco farming initiative. Brazil’s government, however, provides small loans for family farms, including those that grow tobacco, through the Programa Nacional de Fortalecimento da Agricultura Familiar (PRONAF).
 India
India's Tobacco Board is headquartered in Guntur in the state of Andhra Pradesh. India has 96,865 registered tobacco farmers and many more who are not registered. In 2010, there were 3,120 tobacco product manufacturing facilities in all of India.[49] Around 0.25% of India’s cultivated land is used for tobacco production.
Since 1947, the Indian Government has supported growth in the tobacco industry. India has seven tobacco research centers, located in Madras (now known as Chennai, Tamil Nadu), Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Mysore, West Bengal, and Rajamundry. Rajahmundry houses the core research institute. The government has set up a Central Tobacco Promotion Council, which works to increase exports of Indian tobacco.
The Indian Government and several states have taken multiple measures to reduce Cigarette smoking. Smoking in public places is banned in many states, it is not allowed to be portrayed in movies, and warnings are posted on cigarette packs.
 Minor producer
 Philippines
Tobacco in the Philippines remained highly concentrated in 2009 and dominated by cigarette manufacturers Fortune Tobacco Corporation and Philip Morris International. The strength of these companies is due to their extensive distribution networks which encompass both traditional and non-traditional retail channels as well as their ability to offer their products at affordable prices. Top player Fortune Tobacco Corp maintained its leadership position throughout the review period as mass market cigarette smokers continued to purchase its economy cigarette brands, particularly leading brand Fortune International.
Cigarette prices in the Philippines are low, with the price of Marlboro (cigarette) being the second lowest for all ASEAN nations. The cigarette market has been dominated by menthol brands for several decades, although non-menthol volume has been steadily improving in recent years. La Suerte Cigar and Cigarette Company and the Fortune Tobacco Corporation (FTC) have been the two leading producers, and have had licensing agreements with PMI and RJ Reynolds (RJR) respectively. FTC commands a 67% market share, while La Suerte holds a 25% share.
 Problems in tobacco production
Environment
Tobacco production requires the use of a large amount of pesticides. Tobacco companies recommend up to 16 separate applications of pesticides just in the period between planting the seeds in greenhouses and transplanting the young plants to the field.[58] Pesticide use has been worsened by the desire to produce larger crops in less time because of the decreasing market value of tobacco. Pesticides often harm tobacco farmers because they are unaware of the health effects and the proper safety protocol for working with pesticides. These pesticides, as well as fertilizers, end up in the soil, waterways, and the food chain. Coupled with child labor, pesticides pose an even greater threat. Early exposure to pesticides may increase a child's lifelong cancer risk as well as harm his or her nervous and immune systems.
Tobacco is a crop that extracts nutrients, such as phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, from the soil more quickly than any other major crop. This leads to dependence on fertilizers.
Furthermore, the wood used to cure tobacco in some places leads to deforestation. While some big tobacco producers such as China and the United States have access to petroleum, coal and natural gas, which can be used as alternatives to wood, most developing countries still rely on wood in the curing process. Brazil alone uses the wood of 60 million trees per year for curing, packaging and rolling cigarettes.
Research
Because of its importance as a research too, transgenic tobacco was the first GM crop to be tested in field trials, in the United States and France in 1986; China became the first country in the world to approve commercial planting of a GM crop in 1993, which was tobacco.

Many varieties of transgenic tobacco have been intensively tested in field trials. Agronomic traits such as resistance to pathogens (viruses, particularly to the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV); fungi; bacteria and nematodes); weed management via herbicide tolerance; resistance against insect pests; resistance to drought and cold; and production of useful products such as pharmaceuticals; and use of GM plants for bioremediation, have all been tested in over 400 field trials using tobacco.
Production
Currently, only China and the US are producing GM tobacco. The Chinese tobacco is believed to be herbicide resistant. In the US, cigarettes made with GM tobacco with reduced nicotine content are available under the market name Quest.