Tobacco

Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves that are smoked, chewed, or sniffed for
a variety of effects. It is considered an addictive substance because it
contains the chemical nicotine. The tobacco plant is believed to have originated
in the Western Hemisphere. The cultivated species most often grown for North

American and European tobacco products is Nicotine Tabacum. The leaves of the
plant are prepared for smoking, chewing, or sniffing. In addition nicotine
tobacco contains over 45 carcinogens and more than 4,000 chemicals. Prior to

European influence in the Americas, the Indians of Mexico and Peru used tobacco
for the ceremonies, medical purposes and to alleviate hunger pains during
famines. Columbus is credited with introducing tobacco into Europe. Tobacco use
became widely accepted by the Portuguese, Spanish, French, British, and

Scandinavians. Explorers and sailors who became dependent upon tobacco began
planting seeds at their ports of call, introducing the product into other parts
of Europe and Asia. The colonist introduced tobacco on the American continent in
the early 1600's. It became a major crop and trading commodity of the Jamestown

Colony. Over the years tobacco has been claimed as a cure for a wide range of
ailments with varying forms of administration. Its social importance also grew
over the years, even the point of denoting the "modern women" during
the 1st part of the twentieth century. It was not until the 1960's, with the
introduction of medical research related to cigarette smoking that the adverse
health effects of the tobacco became widely publicized. Unfortunately, most of
the health hazards were only associated with cigarette smoking. While the number
of cigarette smokers in the United States has continually decreased over recent
years the number of smokeless tobacco users has steadily increased. Since the

1970's a 15-fold increase in smokeless tobacco has been noted in adolescents 17
to 19 years old. This has most likely been related to the emphasis on smoke free
environments, availability, increased advertising of smokeless products, and the
false belief that smokeless tobacco is a safe alternative for those convinced
they should stop smoking but who still want the nicotine effects of tobacco.

Although over 40 million people in the United States have quit smoking, about 50
million continue to smoke (about 25% of the population). Each year,
approximately 1.3 million Americans quit smoking. In addition about two thirds
of current smokers report they have never tried to quit. About 30 to 40% of
those who have not tried to quit say they do not believe that the health risks
of smoking will ultimately decrease their risks for disease. Young men are at
highest risk for using tobacco products but the incidence in women is
increasing. Smokeless tobacco use patterns are higher within the following
occupations; athletes, ranchers, farmers, fishermen, lumberjacks, and industrial
workers, who have jobs requiring hand freedom. Nicotine has both stimulant and
depressant effects upon the body. Bowel tone and activity increases along with
saliva and bronchial secretions. Stimulation is followed with a phase that
depresses the respiratory muscles. As an euphoric agent, nicotine causes arousal
as well as relaxation from stressful situations. On the average, tobacco use
increases the heart rate 10 to 20 beats per minute and it increases the blood
pressure reading by 5 to 10 millimeters of mercury (because it constricts the
blood vessels). Nicotine may also increase sweating, nausea and diarrhea because
of its effects on the central nervous system. Nicotine's effect upon hormonal
activities is also present. It elevates the blood level of glucose and increases
insulin production. Nicotine also tends to enhance platelet aggregation, which
may lead to blood clotting. The positive effects of nicotine upon the body
should also be noted. It stimulates memory and alertness, enhancing cognitive
skills that requires speed, reaction time and work performance. As a
mood-altering agent, it tends to alleviate boredom, reduces stress, and reduces
aggressive responses to stressful events. It also tends to be an appetite
suppressant specifically decreasing the appetite for simple carbohydrates and
disturbs the efficiency with which food is metabolized. People who use tobacco
products frequently depend upon it to provide these side effects to help them
accomplish certain tasks at specific levels. With all the information that is
out today why do people continue to smoke? Since 1964, the Surgeon General has
warned that smoking is a health hazard this announcement promoted the U.S.

Public Health Service and The American Cancer Society to publicize the dangers
of tobacco smoking, and offer suggestions to those trying to quit. Cigarette
packages were required to carry the warning " may be hazardous to
health." Later the wording was strengthened to read " Smoking is

Dangerous