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Tobacco refers to the more than 70 plant species within the genus Nicotiana of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, as well as to products manufactured from dried tobacco leaves, including cigars and cigarettes, snuff, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco and flavored shisha. Further uses of tobacco are in plant bioengineering and as ornamentals, and chemical components of tobacco are used in some pesticides and medications.
The chief commercial species, N. tabacum, is believed to be 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 species producing fast-burning leaves, was the tobacco originally raised in Virginia, but it is now grown chiefly in Turkey, India, and Russia. The addictive alkaloid nicotine is popularly considered the most characteristic constituent of tobacco but the harmful effects of tobacco consumption can also derive from the thousands of different compounds generated in the smoke, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (such as benzopyrene), formaldehyde, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), phenols, and many others. Tobacco also contains beta-carboline alkaloids which inhibit monoamine oxidase.
Tobacco cultivation is 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 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 associated with smoke inhalation.
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 production techniques allowed for the development of the cigarette. This new product quickly led to the growth of tobacco companies.
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. Rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in developed countries, but continue to rise in developing countries.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally. In a 2008 report, WHO estimated that it causes 5.4 million deaths per year. Tobacco use leads most commonly to diseases affecting the heart, liver and lungs, with smoking being a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis), and cancer (particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer). Also, because of the powerfully addictive properties of tobacco, tolerance and dependence develop.
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 which is believed to be originating from the Arabic طبق tabbaq, a word reportedly dating to the 9th century, as the name of various herbs. Others argued the word may have actually originated from India as tambākū; तंबाकू
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 India and China through the consumption of cannabis and opium millennia before.
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.
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.
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.
There are a number of types of tobacco including, but are not limited to:
Smoking in public was, for a long time, reserved for men, and when done by women was sometimes associated with promiscuity; in Japan, during the Edo period, prostitutes and their clients often approached one another under the guise of offering a smoke. The same was true in 19th-century Europe.
Following the American Civil War the usage of tobacco, primarily in cigars, became associated with masculinity and power, and is an iconic image associated with the stereotypical capitalist. Today, tobacco is often rejected; this has spawned quitting associations and anti-smoking campaigns. Bhutan is the only country in the world where tobacco sales are illegal.
Research is limited mainly to tobacco smoking, which has been studied 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 more likely than people in developed countries. As of 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that of the 58.8 million deaths occurring globally, 5.4 million are tobacco-attributed.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally. The harms caused by using tobacco include 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 cancers).
The WHO estimates 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."
Inhaling secondhand tobacco smoke can cause lung cancer in nonsmoking adults. In the United States, approximately 3,000 adults die each year due to lung cancer from secondhand smoke exposure. Heart disease caused by secondhand smoke kills approximately 46,000 nonsmokers every year.
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.
When the market for tobacco reduced in the West, the industry looked to India and China for 'emerging markets'. In response, various activists in these markets have campaigned against tobacco products.
China is the world's largest manufacturer of cigarettes, producing about 2.4 trillion per year or 40 percent of the world's total. Changes have been made to eliminate advertising, post health warnings, and ban smoking from public buildings.
|This section requires expansion with: discussion of the impact on the poor, taxation, and so forth. (January 2009)|
"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 expenditure in low-income homes is on tobacco. The poorest 20% of households in Mexico spend 11% of their income on tobacco.
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2008)|
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.
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, the planter would move forward two feet, select plants from his/her 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 seco 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 North Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia.
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 endproducts (AGEs), a caramelization process that also adds flavor. Inhalation of these AGEs in tobacco smoke contributes to atherosclerosis and cancer. Levels of AGEs are dependent on the curing method used.
Tobacco can be cured through several methods, including:
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.
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%).
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.
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'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. 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.
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.
The International Labour Office reported that the most child-laborers work in agriculture, which is one of the most hazardous types of work. The tobacco industry houses some of these working children. There is widespread use of children on farms in Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. While some of these children work with their families on small family-owned farms, others work on large plantations. In late 2009 reports were released by the London-based human-rights group Plan International, claiming that child labor was common on Malawi (producer of 1.8% of the world’s tobacco) tobacco farms. The organization interviewed 44 teens, who worked full-time on farms during the 2007-2008 growing season. The child-laborers complained of low pay, long hours as well as physical and sexual abuse by their supervisors. They also reported suffering from “green tobacco sickness,” a form of nicotine poisoning. When wet leaves are handled, nicotine from the leaves gets absorbed in the skin and causes nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Children were exposed to 50 cigarettes worth of nicotine through direct contact with tobacco leaves. This level of nicotine in children can permanently alter brain structure and function.
Major tobacco companies have encouraged global tobacco production. Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco each own or lease tobacco manufacturing facilities in at least 50 countries and buy crude tobacco leaf from at least 12 more countries. This encouragement, along with government subsidies has led to a glut in the tobacco market. This surplus has resulted in lower prices, which are devastating to small-scale tobacco farmers. According to the World Bank, between 1985 and 2000 the inflation-adjusted price of tobacco dropped 37%. Tobacco is the most widely smuggled legal product.
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. 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.
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.
Several tobacco plants have been used as model organisms in genetics. Tobacco BY-2 cells, derived from N. tabacum cultivar 'Bright Yellow-2', are among the most important research tools in plant cytology. Tobacco has played a pioneering role in callus culture research and the elucidation of the mechanism by which kinetin works, laying the groundwork for modern agricultural biotechnology. The first genetically modified plant was produced in 1982, using Agrobacterium tumefaciens to create an antibiotic-resistant tobacco plant. This research laid the groundwork for all genetically modified crops.
Because of its importance as a research tool (see above), 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.
Currently, only the US is producing GM tobacco. The Chinese virus-resistant tobacco was withdrawn from the market in China in 1997.:3 In the US, cigarettes made with GM tobacco with reduced nicotine content are available under the market name Quest.
Tobacco advertising is the advertising of tobacco products by the tobacco industry through a variety of media including sponsorship, particularly of sporting events. It is now one of the most highly regulated forms of marketing. Some or all forms of tobacco advertising are banned in many countries.
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