TOBACCO- Nicotiana Tabacum (Pollard, 2005)

Plant and Product
Figure 1. Tobacco grown in a planting field
Figure 1. How tobacco looks how the color should look like, and how the leaves should look like. (Rane, 2006)
Canada and America were built on the production of tobacco. Tobacco products like snuff, chewing tobacco, and cigarettes never would have gotten popular if the Native Americans had not discovered this green plant (Pollard, 2005). Since tobacco grows under specific conditions, the best country to produce tobacco is in the United States of America. There are various types of tobacco plants. Generally, tobacco plants have large leafs, roughly the size of 6-7 maple leafs, they are very green, and require a lot of surface area to grow.
(Figure 1 and 2). At one
Figure 7. This shows where exactly in the world the tobacco industries are
point in time this plant was referred to as the Holy Plant!
In Kentucky and Tennessee, large amounts of Flue-Cured tobacco are exported (Josh, 2008) . In Ohio and Maryland, Bright-Leaf tobaccos are exported (Josh, 2008) . In Cincinnati it is White Hurley tobacco plant that is most exported (Josh, 2008) . The shade tobacco is exported from Louisiana along with the Perique tobacco which is the most flavorful tobacco (Josh, 2008). Colder countries have a higher chance in crop failure. Any temperatures between 7-30 degrees Celsius is the right environmental condition for the production of tobacco.
Tobacco is the legal plant which contains nicotine, the addictive drug found in cigarettes. Tobacco is only native to North and South America (Josh, 2008) . For example, Figure 7 shows where the tobacco industries are. Tobacco, also known as Nicotiana Tabacum, is grown widely around the world for many different reasons (Pollard, 2005). The genus is named after Jean Nicot who was the first
Figure 7 Shows where in the world the tobacco industries are (Stanford university, 2010)

person ever to discover the plant which is part of the nightshade family, and is in the same genus as shrubs and herbs (Pollard, 2005). Christopher Columbus was the first European man recorded to have used tobacco. The Native Americans and the Chinese have also been cultivating and smoking tobacco. The plant was introduced and spread quickly to Europe, Asia and Africa (Josh, 2008). By the 18th century tobacco was almost found on all corners of the world. Tobacco became the new luxury staple that was used for commercial purposes (Pollard, 2005). Of course, the luxury commodity was inhaled, exhaled, sniffed, chewed and grown.

Figure 8. This picture shows the places where the most tobacco is grown

Figure 8. Countries which have the highest tobacco exports (Google.webshots, 2010)

It became a rapid demand once the Americans introduced the “American Blend Cigarette”, which included the following tobacco plants:
  • Hurley
  • Flue-Cured
  • Maryland
  • Oriental
  • Perique
  • Shade
  • Brightleaf

Traditionally, Indigenous people living in North and Central America had religious reasons (spiritual beliefs) for the use of tobacco. These people would inhale the smoke, and since tobacco travels quickly to the brain, they would experience the effects of the plant such as dizziness, increased heart rate and breathing. They also used tobacco for healing purposes to wrap wounds because the leaves are quite large in size.

Germination is activated by sunlight. Germination is the growth of the seed from a spore.
(Berne, 2006)
Seed will be out on seedbeds (figure 9) to get fertilized then transported once they grow to a certain height
(Berne, 2006)
Topping and Suckering
This stage is complete after the plants grow shoots from the joint of each leaf. The flower clusters form from the top of the stalks (Berne, 2006)
Professional workers drive a tractor which cut the plant/stalk (Berne, 2006)
Figure 2. Chart of how Tobacco is produced and exported (Abudiab, 2010)

After they cut the tobacco plant, it proceeds to get cured by one method:

Tobacco plants are taken to well ventilated barns that are highly heated to kill bacteria, and sprayed more with other chemicals to make sure they are cured and stay green. This is also known as "oxidation".
Then they get passed along to the post cure processing, which is the final stage before the tobacco gets exported. During this step all the cured tobacco gets stored.

Figure 9. Shows a seed bed in a green house
figure 9. What seed beds look like (wordpress, 2007)

After the tobacco is harvested, it gets ready to be processed into cigarettes. Big trucks take this plant to the tobacco/cigarette companies.

Making the Product :
It gets heated again until the leaf is a bright yellow-ish color (Quick Smoking Support, 2010)
The whole leaf, including the stem because that is where the higher concentrations of tobacco are found in, get processed (Quick Smoking Support, 2010)
Stems are very bitter and masked with sugar. This procedure happens under high heat (Quick Smoking Support, 2010)
Fire Basing
Ammonia is the added which allows the nicotine to easily be absorbed by someone (Quick Smoking Support, 2010)
Step 5
Other ingredients like licorice and cocoa get added to a mixture and thrown with other ingredients the company chooses to mix, and this adds to the flavor which makes more consumers addict to and crave (Quick Smoking Support, 2010)
90% of the tobacco gets rolled with the paper pulp and the cigarette runs on a conveyor belt where the tobacco mixture gets put through the filter (Quick Smoking Support, 2010). Then glue gets applied along to one edge and forms a tube. The roll gets cut into short tubes. (figure 10). The cigarette passes through the wrapping site next, and then gets exported to countries around the world (Berne, 2006)
Figure 9. This is a transition from figure 2. The procedure and the steps that it goes through before becoming a cigarette (Abudiab, 2010)

Figure 10. The ingredients of a cigarette

Figure 10. The finished product of tobacco and all the other ingredients manufacturers can legally put in your cigarette (Manchester Teaching Primary Care Trust, 2010)

Figure 3. Tobacco leaf
Figure 3. This picture shows how large the leaf is up close (Robert, 2009)

Making the Product

Tobacco is a hybrid plant, and it does not occur naturally in some parts of the world, but is still part of a human cultivation. It is a hybrid of Nicotiana Sylvestns and Nicotiana Tomentosifosa (James, 2005) . Cigars would be the finished product where processed tobacco can be found. Each Cigarette contains about 20 milligrams of nicotine, but only 1-4 milligrams is consumed when it is smoked (Snell., 2005). The commercial production of how tobacco starts begins with one seedling. This seedling grows in a plant bed and then moved to the field. This gives the one who is growing the plant the opportunity and ability to control seedling growth. With that said, they are also now capable of being in control over other things like:
- Site Selection (James, 2005)
This is basically where the plant bed (figure 8) should be located in the field or anywhere outdoors
- Soil and Fertility (James, 2005)
The seed and soil contact for maximum germination
- Seeding (James, 2005)
The fertilization happening in the seed
- Moisture Management (James, 2005)
Plant beds should be watered often, but not as much as when they are still growing in the first 3 weeks
- Cover Management (James, 2005)
Covering the seed to ensure that they stay within 7-30 degrees Celsius, which is the ideal temperature for the plants to grow. Covering the seed protects them from cold weather, and freezing temperatures
- Mechanization (James, 2005)
Removing a large number of seedling within the plant bed at any given time, which is important for the efficiency of the transportation from the field to the markets
- Green House Transplant Production (James, 2005)
The rapid increase in technology has led to the new inventions of greenhouse technology which is an alternative method for growing seedlings instead of using tobacco plant bed

Although tobacco is legal, legislatures have tried time and time again to put laws and restrictions to where tobacco can be used and the age you have to be to purchase a pack of cigarettes, a product made out of tobacco. Any violations of these tobacco-use laws lead to a punishment of either sentencing and/or fines. Tobacco is now grown in Ontario and then is sold to one of the three tobacco companies which then distribute them to markets. After being put on the market it is avaliable for sale to consumers

Harmful Impacts

Since the 18th century there had been a world wide spread of tobacco use leading to incredible increase for the plant. Now there is a great demand and more people are becoming suppliers. This would be good, although there is supply and demand, consumers are literally hooked on the supply. Tobacco contains nicotine, which is used in products such as cigarettes, making them addictive. Being addicted to tobacco, whether it is by chewing it, sniffing it or inhaling it, there are serious consequences and damages done internally to your body affecting almost every organ. Some of the bigger consequences result in death. Approximately fifty-thousand of the people who are suffering die from the exposure to tobacco. Minor affects include peptic ulcers, and chronic pain in your body. Let’s look straight to the bottom of the negative impacts of tobacco.

First, to grow tobacco, depending on the method that you use, you are taking up a lot of field space. If you are growing tobacco in a greenhouse, you are contributing to Green House Gases. This is the process which some of the green house gases trap the sun's heat instead of them being reflected back out to space. (Figure 4)

Figure 4. What greenhouse gas is. A picture simplifying the suns heat being trapped in the Earths atmosphere

Figure 4. The Greenhouse Effect (Canadian Wild Life, 2010)
Secondly, in order to maintain a healthy field, you need to constantly spray your crops with chemicals to ensure that no bacteria or pests are eating away your tobacco plant. Everyone knows that when chemicals get sprayed on the field, that chemical residues from the toxic pesticides and insecticides get washed up into rivers and oceans making it impossible to get rid of. Not only damaging our water systems, the high amounts of toxins also affect plants and people, especially those working around the field. More over, due to the high demand of people buying tobacco shipment trucks are always on the road. These dirty, big trucks contribute to pollution by traveling far distances and constantly filling up their gas tanks with non-reusable fuels, like diesel. The problems I have just discussed are the negative environmental impacts. Society has also been greatly been affected by the use of tobacco (National Institute of Health, 2010). Ever since the increase of tobacco over past few centuries concerns for minors using this drug has been overwhelming.
Figure 5. Marlboro, a company which manufactors cigarettes, launches an ad targetting newly mothers

Figure 5. Ads that involve children targeted for mothers (Lisa, 2010)

Children, both girls and boys, are now trying their first cigarette between the ages of ten and fifteen (Snell., 2005) (figure 5). There are many different methods that might lour a child into smoking tobacco like flavored cigarettes which include flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. This has now been banned.
Speaking of children that live in low developing countries, child labor is a huge epidemic. Some children are forced to work long and hard hours in tobacco fields (LeVert., 2007).
Second hand smoke is just as bad. Smoking is the main reason for poor air quality, “indoor air pollution”, inside a home (National Institute of Health, 2010). Tobacco companies over the past years have always denied the fact that nicotine was addictive, or that tobacco was bad for your health (World Health Organization, 2010). Now we know that this is wrong. Science has shown the negative effects cigarette smokers are experiencing, and this also includes the other forms of tobacco, even when it is chewed (National Institute of Health, 2010). We know that cigarettes are addictive…and costly. Some families separate because of cigarette addictions (Snell., 2005). Tobacco consumers know that legislatures are thinking about putting in a tax on cigarette buyers. Sadly a lot of hard earned money is being wasted on tobacco plants processed with other toxic chemicals (LeVert., 2007) (Figure 6). Since nicotine is the most addictive legal substance in Canada, tobacco use is associated and linked with physiological problems. You can even get mouth cancer by just spit tobacco. Spit tobacco is chewing tobacco. The impacts of spit tobacco have serious changes in the face because cancer to the face has to be surgically removed (National Institute of Health, 2010). This means your lip, cheek or anything on your face being alternated after surgery (National Institute of Health, 2010). Also, an interesting disorder is the hairy tongue disorder which is not common, but still can happen by the use of tobacco. People who smoke cigarettes sometimes become insecure and even depressed after many years of exposure. The media has already advertised a fake cigarette which lights up and can be inhaled and exhaled, but instead of Carbon monoxide being exhaled, water vapor is. Since cigarettes are really bad for your health, doctors can help you quit smoking and they can recommend therapy, rehab or other methods to assist you when quitting. Cigarettes are deadly to your health, and will effect everyone around you because second hand smoke is just as bad. Certain air re-fresheners are targeted to eliminate the odor caused by second hand smoke.

Quitting is not an easy task because nicotine is extremely addictive, and the burnt sugar in cigarettes are what the body really craves after the nicotine (World Health Organization, 2010). Doctors can also give you pamphlets and educate you further if you want to quit (Canadian Lung Association, 2010). Lighting up a cigarette also releases a gas called carbon monoxide, CO, which is a toxic gas that can kill you. It is the same kind of gas that comes out of the cars’ exhaust pipe (Berne, 2006). Since cigarettes are the number one reason why tobacco has become in such great demand for this harmful product, living organisms are greatly affected. Cigarettes contain more than two thousand chemicals which can cause heart disease, lung cancer, increased tooth loss, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, damage to the central organ system, and much more effects including wrinkling of the skin (Miller., 2009). Smoking when you are pregnant increases your chance of a low birth weight, miscarriage, premature birth, sudden death syndrome, and other effects which can result to death of the fetus (National Institute of Health, 2010). When a mother breast feeds she is passing nicotine through her milk to the baby (Miller., 2009). Also women who smoke cigarettes stop breast feeding earlier. These are the more serious impacts to society and living things, and the production of tobacco in this case is very harmful (Miller., 2009) . As you can see in figure 10 all the toxins in cigarettes are listed. They do not sound good, do they!
Figure 6. A chart that shows how expensive smoking can be

Figure 6. Money spent on cigarettes, based on the number of packs smoked (Smoking cessation Clinic, 2008)

Beneficial Contributes

The beneficial impacts of tobacco are probably the hardest thing to see. Most people have two really extremes to tobacco use. Either society is for or completely against it. Most of those people are against the manufacturing of tobacco because tobacco plants can be made and processed into an addictive drug. Many people see the sale of tobacco as a great contribution that benefits the economy. Most people who are in the top independent businesses have a connection with the export and import of tobacco plants. In fact this is true for individuals who are starting their business in developing countries because studies have shown that there is a massive demand for tobacco in developing countries. Since tobacco is moving our economy, it is also providing a lot of jobs for fortunate people.
Although tobacco is dangerous, it also acts as a quick stimulant and makes some people feel good (Miller, 2009). Although this is temporary, since tobacco travels quickly to the brain, it still works for people who are depressed and stressed. It is almost like people are satisfied with the reaction they get from the use of cigarettes (Miller, 2009).
Employment is another big reason why tobacco is important to us (society) and to most farmers. Tobacco growers make a large profit when they trade or export their goods (LeVert., 2007) . Without tobacco grow-ups outside in Southern Ontario people in those communities would be jobless. You need people to export, to order demands, to grow and watch the plants, and to look after the plants. You are looking at a large number of employers depending on how big the field is. The people employed now have a job, and an income, which makes them able to support of themselves and/or family. So far I have discussed the reasons that it provides jobs, and makes for a good business. Another benefit is research to which future scientists might also be able to process the tobacco plant and make it into a natural insecticide (James, 2005). It could also be used to produce paper because it is high in fiber.
Tobacco also has many nutrients, which is why indigenous people used it as a cure. There has even been a study that showed the specific nutritive value for humans that tobacco provides the same soluble protein with very similar compositions which are the same in human milk. There are no beneficial impacts because there has not been enough studies to prove anything yet, but tobacco does contribute to everything that was said above. Tobacco can also help some people lose weight quickly because it increases blood flow which increases the metabolism. Scientists at Stanford University believe that tobacco could be used to fight diseases such as cancer and lymphoma.
Smoking is a physiological and social circle which unfolds and opens up to many new people (Pollard., 2005). People might feel belonged and no longer pressured to try it. Tobacco has not replaced anything yet. If you are a heavy chronicle smoker, then tobacco may have replaced illegal drugs like marijuana or salvia.

Figure 7. Tobacco helps our Canadian dollar
Figure 7. A picture which shows a cigarette through the dollar sign because cigarettes really help our economy (Hip Hop Democrat, 2010)


Tobacco has a lot of hidden propaganda (LeVert., 2007) . Tobacco has never been friends with a smoker, or has ever been useful to this society. Technology has not progressed far enough to say that tobacco is beneficial for a lot of reasons. Even studies have not shown that there are much pro’s to the use and exposure to tobacco, and tobacco plants. Tobacco is the legal plant which contains nicotine. This is a very addictive drug. Tobacco is in the night shade plant family which includes shrubs and herbs. After heavy advertisement, smoking used to be a luxury commodity when it was first introduced in Europe (Josh, 2008). You can chew, exhale, sniff, and grow tobacco but now you have to be careful on where and how you do it due to laws. Most of society is against the use of tobacco since it affects families and has negative side effects for your health.

Reference List:

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