Orphan Boy Smoking Tobacco Large Advertisement - Die Cut SignInv# TL1001 Cigar Box Label
St. Louis, MO. Measures 13" x 19.5". Gorgeous Color!
Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the Nicotiana genus and the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, and the general term for any product prepared from the cured leaves of the tobacco plant. More than 70 species of tobacco are known, but the chief commercial crop is N. tabacum. The more potent variant N. rustica is also used in some countries.
Tobacco contains the highly addictive stimulant alkaloid nicotine as well as harmala alkaloids. Tobacco use is a cause or risk factor for many deadly diseases; especially those affecting the heart, liver, and lungs, as well as many cancers. In 2008, the World Health Organization named tobacco use as the world's single greatest preventable cause of death.
The English word tobacco originates from the Spanish and Portuguese word "tabaco". The precise origin of this word is disputed, but it is generally thought to have derived, at least in part, from Taíno, the Arawakan language of the Caribbean. In Taíno, it was said to mean either a roll of tobacco leaves (according to Bartolomé de las Casas, 1552), or to tabago, a kind of L-shaped pipe used for sniffing tobacco smoke (according to Oviedo, with the leaves themselves being referred to as cohiba).
However, perhaps coincidentally, similar words in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian were used from 1410 for certain medicinal herbs. These probably derived from the Arabic طُبّاق ṭubbāq (also طُباق ṭubāq), a word reportedly dating to the 9th century, referring to various herbs.
Tobacco has long been used in the Americas, with some cultivation sites in Mexico dating back to 1400–1000 BCE. Many Native American tribes traditionally grow and use tobacco. Historically, people from the Northeast Woodlands cultures have carried tobacco in pouches as a readily accepted trade item. It was smoked both socially and ceremonially, such as to seal a peace treaty or trade agreement. In some Native cultures, tobacco is seen as a gift from the Creator, with the ceremonial tobacco smoke carrying one's thoughts and prayers to the Creator.
Following the arrival of the Europeans to the Americas, tobacco became increasingly popular as a trade item. Hernández de Boncalo, Spanish chronicler of the Indies, was the first European to bring tobacco seeds to the Old World in 1559 following orders of King Philip II of Spain. These seeds were planted in the outskirts of Toledo, more specifically in an area known as "Los Cigarrales" named after the continuous plagues of cicadas (cigarras in Spanish). Before the development of the lighter Virginia and white burley strains of tobacco, the smoke was too harsh to be inhaled. Small quantities were smoked at a time, using a pipe like the midwakh or kiseru, or newly invented waterpipes such as the bong or the hookah (see thuốc lào for a modern continuance of this practice). Tobacco became so popular that the English colony of Jamestown used it as currency and began exporting it as a cash crop; tobacco is often credited as being the export that saved Virginia from ruin.
The alleged benefits of tobacco also contributed to its success. The astronomer Thomas Harriot, who accompanied Sir Richard Grenville on his 1585 expedition to Roanoke Island, thought that the plant "openeth all the pores and passages of the body" so that the bodies of the natives "are notably preserved in health, and know not many grievous diseases, wherewithal we in England are often times afflicted."
Production of tobacco for smoking, chewing, and snuffing became a major industry in Europe and its colonies by 1700.
Tobacco has been a major cash crop in Cuba and in other parts of the Caribbean since the 18th century. Cuban cigars are world-famous.
In the late 19th century, cigarettes became popular. James Bonsack invented a machine to automate cigarette production. This increase in production allowed tremendous growth in the tobacco industry until the health revelations of the late 20th century.
Following the scientific revelations of the mid-20th century, tobacco was condemned as a health hazard, and eventually became recognized as a cause of cancer, as well as other respiratory and circulatory diseases. In the United States, this led to the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, which settled the many lawsuits by the U.S. states 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, a strain containing an unusually high nicotine content, nearly doubling from 3.2-3.5% to 6.5%. In the 1990s, this prompted the Food and Drug Administration to allege that tobacco companies were intentionally manipulating the nicotine content of cigarettes.
The desire of many addicted smokers to quit has led to the development of tobacco cessation products.
In 2003, in response to growth of tobacco use in developing countries, the World Health Organization successfully rallied 168 countries to sign the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The convention is designed to push for effective legislation and enforcement in all countries to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco.
Between 2019 and 2021, concerns about increased COVID-19 health risks due to tobacco consumption facilitated smoking reduction and cessation.