TOBACCO

DR. S. M. ALAM
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Nov 7 - 20, 2011

Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide and in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines.

It is most commonly used as a recreational drug and is a valuable cash crop for countries such as Cuba, China, the United States and many other countries of the world.

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 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 more than 70 species of tobacco in the plant genus Nicotiana. The word nicotiana (as well as nicotine) is in honor of Jean Nicot. 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 (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, which 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.

Cigarettes are made of hydrogen, steroid, sterols, and other poisonous chemicals. It has 60 percent gas and 40 per cent liquid. When a person smokes a cigarette, a brownish substance known as tar deposits in the body. One cigarette has 40 milligram of tar in it, which is one of the causative factor of cancer.

The nicotene in the cigarette yield carbon, nitrogen and monoxides and all these inhaled begin to deposit in different organs of the body. Tobacco smoking causes more harm to the health of children than the smoke emitted by bus and the other vehicles. Our brain is the best gift given by Allah. When a cigarette is smoked, 2.5 milligram reaches the brain and inactivates the brain cell.

There are a number of types of tobacco:

* 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 Nicotiana tabacum. The leaves are cured and smoked over smoldering fires of local hardwoods and aromatic shrubs in Cyprus and Syria.

* Bright leaf tobacco leaf 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 either fire cured or air cured. Most Canadian cigarettes are made from 100 per cent 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.

* 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 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.

* 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.

Tobacco consumption in any form leads to serious diseases. Tobacco is responsible for many types of cancer like lungs, mouth, stomach, oral, kidney etc. It causes other diseases of urinary bladder, gall bladder, penis, heart, and blood. Below are the major effects of tobacco:

Lung disease: Smokers are affected by chronic bronchitis and emphysema growing diseases. These are hard to recover and 80 per cent people die from this disease. It causes difficulty in breathing because blockage in lungs.

Coronary heart disease: Smoking increases blood cholesterol, which causes high blood pressure. The risk of heart attack to smokers is three times more than the others.

Blockage in the leg veins: People, who smoke, develop clots in leg veins 16 times more than others. Patients ignoring the blockage of leg veins are more likely to have gangrene disease.

Brain attack: People who smoke cigarettes every day have more chances of brain attack than others.

Lung Cancer: Largest death in world is due to lung cancer. people who start smoking in young age are more likely to have cancer of lung. The health effects of tobacco are the circumstances, mechanisms, and factors of tobacco consumption on human health. Epidemiological research has been focused primarily on cigarette tobacco smoking, which has been studied more extensively than any other form of consumption.

Tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death globally. 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) including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and cancer particularly lung cancer, cancers of the larynx and mouth, and pancreatic cancer. It also causes peripheral vascular disease and hypertension.

The effects depend on the number of years that a person smokes and on how much the person smokes. Starting smoking earlier in life and smoking cigarettes higher in tar increases the risk of these diseases. Cigarettes sold in underdeveloped countries tend to have higher tar content, and are less likely to be filtered, potentially increasing vulnerability to tobacco-related disease in these regions.

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."

Smoke contains several carcinogenic pyrolytic products that bind to DNA and cause many genetic mutations. There are over 19 known chemical carcinogens in cigarette smoke. Tobacco also contains nicotine, which is a highly addictive psychoactive chemical. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine causes physical and psychological dependency. Incidence of impotence is approximately 85 percent higher in male smokers compared to non-smokers and is a key factor causing erectile dysfunction chewing tobacco

Chewing tobacco has been known to cause cancer, particularly of the mouth and throat. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, "Some health scientists have suggested that smokeless tobacco should be used in smoking cessation programs and have made implicit or explicit claims that its use would partly reduce the exposure of smokers to carcinogens and the risk for cancer. These claims, however, are not supported by the available evidence." Oral and spit tobacco increase the risk for leukoplakia a precursor to oral cancer.

Like other forms of tobacco use, cigar smoking poses a significant health risk depending on dosage: risks are greater for those who inhale more when they smoke, smoke more cigars, or smoke them longer. The risk of dying from any cause is significantly greater for cigar smokers, with the risk particularly higher for smokers less than 65 years old, and with risk for moderate and deep inhalers reaching levels similar to cigarette smokers. Little cigars are commonly inhaled and likely pose the same health risks as cigarettes. The increased risk for those smoking 1-2 cigars per day is too small to be statistically significant, and the health risks of the 3/4 of cigar smokers who smoke less than daily are not known and are hard to measure, although it has been claimed that people who smoke few cigars have no increased risk, a more accurate statement is that their risks are proportionate to their exposure.

Health risks are similar to cigarette smoking in nicotine addiction, periodontal health, tooth loss, and many types of cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus.

Cigar smoking also can cause cancers of the lung and larynx, where the increased risk is less than that of cigarettes. Many of these cancers have extremely low cure rates. Cigar smoking also increases the risk of lung and heart diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A common belief among users is that the smoke is significantly less dangerous than that from cigarettes. The water moisture induced by the hookah makes the smoke less irritating and may give a false sense of security and reduce concerns about true health effects. Doctors at institutions including the Mayo Clinic have stated that use of hookah can be as detrimental to a person's health as smoking cigarettes and a study by the WHO also confirmed these findings.

Each hookah session typically lasts more than 40 minutes and consists of 50 to 200 inhalations that each range from 0.15 to 0.50 liters of smoke. In an hour-long smoking session of hookah, users consume about 100 to 200 times the smoke of a single cigarette; in a 45-minute smoking session a typical smoker would inhale 1.7 times the nicotine of a single cigarette. A study on hookah smoking and cancer in Pakistan was published in 2008. Its objective was to find serum CEA levels in ever/exclusive hookah smokers, i.e. those who smoked only hookah (no cigarettes, bidis, etc.), prepared between 1 and 4 times a day with a quantity of up to 120 g of a tobacco-molasses mixture each (i.e. the tobacco weight equivalent of up to 60 cigarettes of 1 g each) and consumed in 1 to 8 sessions".

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a marker found in several forms of cancer. Levels in exclusive hookah smokers were lower compared to cigarette smokers although the difference was not statistically significant between a hookah smoker and a non-smoker. Also the study concluded that heavy hookah smoking (2-4 daily preparations; 3-8 sessions a day; >2 hrs to ? 6 hours) substantially raises CEA levels.

A recent study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention documented that hookah smokers were nearly 6-times at risk for development of lung cancer as compared to healthy non-smokers in Kashmir (India). Hookah in Kashmir has some peculiar features in having a direct contact of the live embers with the burning tobacco thus resulting in high temperatures that augments the production of carcinogenic products from tobacco burning.

Additionally, water in the hookah base is not changed after every session that renders the water contaminated to a greater degree and thus a possible source of dissolved carcinogens.

Users of snuff are believed to face less cancer risk than smokers, but are still at greater risk than people who do not use any tobacco products. They also have an equal risk of other health problems directly linked to nicotine such as increased rate of atherosclerosis.