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The world's fourth-largest tobacco company is considering entering the United States, a move that could have a big impact on two large Triad companies. Imperial Tobacco Group plc, a British company, sees the United States as a potentially profitable market with less risk of lawsuits than there was three or four years ago. CEO Gareth Davis told news agency Bloomberg last week that he considered the U.S. an attractive market. Such a move would likely shake up the U.S. cigarette market, and could pose new challenges to Winston-Salem-based Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI) and Greensboro-based Lorillard Tobacco Co. (NYSE: CG). Imperial is considerably larger than either of those companies, earning revenues of about $21.5 billion in 2005, based on Monday's exchange rates. By comparison, Reynolds, the second-largest U.S. tobacco company, had total revenues of $8.3 billion in 2005 and Lorillard, the No. 3 cigarette company, had revenues of $3.6 billion. Philip Morris USA, the country's biggest cigarette maker, had sales of $18.1 billion in 2005, though that was just a fraction of its overall business, as its parent company, Altria Group, brought in another $45.3 billion in overseas cigarette sales and $34.4 billion from its food operations. Imperial's cigarette brands include West and Davidoff. It already does business in 130 countries.


A cigarette is a tobacco product that is manufactured out of cured and finely cut tobacco leaves, which is rolled or stuffed into a paper-wrapped cylinder (generally less than 120mm in length and 10mm in diameter). The cigarette is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder for the purpose of inhalation of its smoke from the other (usually filtered) end, which is inserted in the mouth. They are sometimes smoked with a Cigarette holder. The term cigarette, as commonly used, typically refers to a tobacco cigarette, but can apply to similar devices containing other herbs, such as cannabis. All tobacco products have been medically proven to considerably shorten lifespans. Most Western countries have large health warnings printed on the front and back of packets to warn of the effects of smoking. A cigarette is distinguished from a cigar by its smaller size (hence the name), use of processed leaf, and paper wrapping; cigars are typically composed entirely of whole leaf tobacco. Cigarettes were largely unknown in the English-speaking world before the Crimean War, when British soldiers began emulating their Ottoman Turkish comrades, who resorted to rolling their tobacco with newsprint.

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What Is Tobacco?
Tobacco is a tall, leafy annual plant, originally grown in South and Central America, but now cultivated throughout the world, including southern Ontario. There are many species of tobacco; Nicotiana tabacum (or common tobacco) is used to produce cigarettes.

Nicotine, a powerful central nervous system stimulant found naturally in the tobacco leaf, is classified as a drug. Nicotine is one of the main ingredients in tobacco. In higher doses, nicotine is extremely poisonous. It is commonly used as an insecticide.

Tobacco leaves can be burned and inhaled (in the form of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smoke, etc.) or absorbed through the mouth (in the form of spit tobacco, chew, or snuff). The membranes in the nose, mouth and lungs act as nicotine delivery systems - transmitting nicotine into the blood and to the brain.

Smokers usually feel dizzy and sick when they first inhale the nicotine in tobacco, but gradually build up tolerance to its effects. Other symptoms new smokers experience includes coughing, a dry, irritated throat as well as nausea, weakness, abdominal cramps, headache, coughing or gagging. These symptoms subside as the user develops a tolerance to nicotine.

Nicotine is highly addictive. The addictive effect of nicotine is the main reason why tobacco is widely used. Many smokers continue to smoke in order to avoid the pain of withdrawal symptoms. Smokers also adjust their behavior (inhaling more deeply, for example) to keep a certain level of nicotine in the body.

Smokers who usually smoke at least 15 cigarettes per day and/or smoke their first cigarette of the day within 30 minutes of waking are likely to experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms. They will likely find quitting uncomfortable.

Stopping can produce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms including depression, insomnia, irritability, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, anxiety, decreased heart rate, increased appetite, weight gain, and craving for nicotine.

Symptoms peak from 24 to 48 hours after stopping and can last from three days up to four weeks, although the craving for a cigarette can last for months.

Most smokers make an average of three or four quit attempts before becoming long-term non-smokers. Relapse is the rule rather than the exception and must be viewed as part of the process of quitting.

Why is tobacco so addictive?
Nicotine addiction is very complex and highly individual. Many smokers continue to use tobacco even though they wish they could stop. Most people who smoke want to quit and have tried to quit. Nicotine is so addictive that many people continue to smoke even when their lives are in immediate danger.

Physical Addiction
Nicotine is considered addictive because it alters brain functioning and because most people smoke compulsively. Very few people can smoke occasionally.

Nicotine is a ‘reinforcing’ drug – smokers want it regardless of its damaging effects. It is considered a reinforcer because it causes many smokers to continue to smoke in order to avoid the pain of withdrawal symptoms.

Addiction to tobacco (nicotine) is not immediate. It may take weeks or months to develop. People who begin smoking when they are in their teens tend to be more dependent than those who start smoking after age 20.

Unlike cocaine, heroin or alcohol abuse, the more dangerous effects of tobacco use are not obvious in the beginning. As well, the pleasurable effects of tobacco may outweigh the abstract possibility of health consequences in the minds of many smokers.

Psychosocial addiction
Smoking gives pleasure: from the simple tactile and oral pleasure of handling and drawing on a cigarette to the comfort of a quick fix in times of anxiety, anger and other stress.

Many people don’t find their first experience with tobacco pleasant. Initially, social pressure may cause addiction to develop. Once addicted, there are fewer external pressures to quit than there are with other addictions. Smokers are not in immediate danger of losing their jobs or families due to their addiction. More dangerous health effects are not obvious in the beginning.

Health Warnings
In general, chronic exposure to nicotine may cause an acceleration of coronary artery disease, peptic ulcer disease, reproductive disturbances, esophageal reflux, hypertension, fetal illnesses and death, and delayed wound healing.

Smoking puts you and others, who breathe in tobacco smoke, at risk of cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. In fact, about 5,500 people experience illness and death that can be attributed to tobacco smoking each year in BC Canada alone. Chronic conditions and deaths due to smoking are largely preventable.


These days, most cigarettes are mass-produced by industrial machines which are capable of producing up to 16,000 cigarettes per minute. After the tobacco has been treated and processed, the tobacco is made into cigarettes in a machine typically called the "Maker". They then are put through quality control checks to ensure they meet predetermined standards before being sent to the packing machine.

Here's a breakdown of the process:

  1. Tobacco is transferred from the silos via a pneumatic tube system into the "Maker" machine and the tobacco is shaped into a circular form. White cigarette paper is then fed into a machine from a roller.
  2. The trademark logo is printed and the paper is wrapped around the bare tobacco. The paper is then sealed with glue, creating a continuous cigarette stick. A cutting tool slices this into double-length sticks to which a filter is added.
  3. The double-length sticks are cut in half and a double length filter is placed between the two sticks. Brown cork paper is wrapped around the filter to rejoin the two halves and sealed with glue creating two cigarettes joined back-to-back.
  4. Finally, an ingenious mechanism divides the double cigarette and turns one half the other way around. This process ensures that the cigarettes created are facing the right direction and ready for the packing machine.

Cigarettes that are ready for packaging are transported by conveyer belt to the "packer" machine where they are separated into feeder channels to be inserted into packs. Meanwhile, aluminum from a roller as well as cardboard is fed into another machine and template patterns of the packs are stamped out. Groups of 10, 20 or 30 cigarettes are inserted into the finished inner lining and then the final external packing is added.

Here's a breakdown of the process:

  1. Next comes the wrapping of each pack with a polypropylene film with pull strings and weld. This is done to preserve the humidity of the freshly made cigarettes - a vital factor in preserving their overall quality.
  2. The packing process, however, does not end there. The final part is to collect the individual packs of cigarettes into cartons of ten, which are again wrapped by polypropylene.
  3. For customer shipping, fifty cartons are automatically packed in cardboard boxes. The pallet machine lifts the 15g cardboard boxes each containing 10,000 cigarettes, directly on transport pallets.
  4. During the cigarette manufacturing process, engineers and technicians conduct numerous quality control checks aided by an array of monitoring devices as well as testing and measurement systems.

There are many "micro" cigarette manufactures across North America as well. Mostly ran by Native Americans. These products are usually cheaper than the commercial brands. Sometimes zip lock bags are used for the cartons.


The tobacco that is rolled into cigars is primarily grown in the tropical regions of the world. Africa, Brazil, the Canary Islands, Connecticut, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Sumatra are world renown in growing the quality tobacco that is used in the various components of a cigar.

Tobacco is planted in late September and generally takes two months to reach maturity. Harvesting begins before the plants flower and can take several months as the leaves are harvested in different phases.

Once the tobacco is harvested the leaves are sent to "tobacco barns" where the tobacco is dried. Leaves are tied in pairs and hung for the curing process. The tobacco barn faces from west so that the sun hits one side in the morning and one side at night. The doors at either side can be opened or closed to keep the temperature constant. The tobacco is kept in the barn for approximately 2 months while the leaves change color from green to yellow to brown.

After the leaves are dried, they are carefully laid into large piles for fermentation, where they are kept for several months. The piles are moistened and covered in cloth and are watched closely as the temperature can rise and harm the tobacco. The fermentation reduces natural resins, ammonia and nicotine present in the tobacco leaves.

The fermented tobacco is taken to warehouses, stored in large bales and allowed to slowly mature. The aging process can last from several months to many years depending on the quality desired.

Once the aged tobacco reaches the factory, the leaves are graded according to size, color, and quality. Leaves that are torn or have holes are set aside and used primarily as filler. Finally the leaves are de-veined by removing the center vein from the leaf.

There are three basic components that make up a cigar.

The filler.
The binder.
The wrapper.
Handmade cigars are composed of filler tobacco bunched together with a binder leave and finally covered with the wrapper leaf. Cigars with long leaves bunched together as filler are called "long filler" cigars. Cigars with short, fragmented leaves bunched together as filler are called "short filler" cigars. The binder holds the bunch together and is enclosed with the wrapper leaf in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

Machine made cigars are generally produced using short filler. A processed tobacco binder which resembles brown paper is used as the binder, and in most cases a natural wrapper is used to complete the cigar.


Different varieties of tobacco are grown throughout the world. Each variety has specific growing requirements that keep farmers busy all year. When growing tobacco, farmers rely heavily on past production practices and their knowledge of science to produce a healthy crop. Cultivating tobacco begins with land preparation and ends with cured leaves ready to be conditioned and manufactured into tobacco products.

Long before tobacco seedlings are placed into the field, a lot of work goes into preparing the land. Land preparation begins a crop of tobacco has been harvested and continues until the next crop is planted. The type of soil and climate determine the way the land is prepared for the type of tobacco that will be planted.

Since the middle of the 1800's, fertilizers have been used extensively for tobacco production because tobacco depletes the soil of naturally occurring nutrients. Prior to planting seedlings, samples of soil are analyzed to learn their lime and nutrient contents. From this, farmers determine what nutrients to add to the soil to make it more fertile.

Preparing the land also involves plowing and dicing to kill old root systems, level off the fields, bury old crop refuse, break up the soil and incorporate pre-plant pesticides. High, wide beds are also created for transplanted tobacco plants. These beds reduce chances of water damage and increase the success of the crop.

Another land preparation technique that some farmers use when growing tobacco is crop rotation. Crop rotation is a planned sequence of growing different crops in the same field year after year. Crop rotations can be used to maintain nutrients in the soil, reduce erosion and control pests. Tobacco crop rotation sequences don't follow a set pattern because they make it difficult to control and determine the amount of nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen is the most influential nutrient in the growth of tobacco.

Because tobacco is a highly profitable crop, some farmers do not rotate their crops. Instead they grow tobacco continuously and rely more heavily on the use of pesticides and other pest and disease control practices.

Because the seeds of tobacco plants are extremely small, they are not planted directly into the field. Instead, seeds are planted (or seeded) in seed beds (plant beds) located either outside or in greenhouses, where they germinate. Both practices require careful attention to watering, ventilation, exposure to the sun and protection from wind.

Before tobacco seeds are sown (planted) in plant beds the soil is sterilized. Sterilizing the soil helps control diseases, weeds and insects. Soil can be sterilized by different methods such as burning, steaming, or through chemical application. Fertilizer is often applied to the soil prior to seeding. Seeds are then mixed with sand and spread evenly over the soil by hand or mechanically with a seeder. Mechanical seeders allow farmers to distribute seeds more evenly in the plant bed. This aids farmers in producing high quality seedlings. A covering of plastic, cloth, or mulch is placed over the sown seed bed. Once the plants sprout, the plastic is removed and is replaced with canvas. More fertilizer is often applied. Before plants are ready for transplanting, they will be trimmed several times so they grow uniformly.

Today more and more farmers in the United States are using the greenhouse production method of growing healthy seedlings. Growing seedlings in a greenhouse provides farmers with a more controlled environment because it is less dependent on the weather and doesn't require as much time for seedlings to grow.

One type of greenhouse is the float management system of production where seeds are planted in trays that are segmented. Each plant has its own segment with soil (or potting media) to root in, keeping it separate from the other plants. The tray floats on a pool of water. Fertilizer and pesticides are added as needed. Just as with plant beds, tobacco seedlings are clipped to remove the upper part of the foliage. Clipping is done several times to ensure that all plants will be similar in size when they are transplanted into the field. Having plants of equal size makes it easier and more efficient for a transplanting machine to place the seedlings into the field.

Because tobacco is grown in different climates, it is transplanted at different times of the year. A mature, well developed, disease-free seedling transplanted after the last frost can produce as many as one million seeds.

After about 6-12 weeks, the seedlings of large leaf tobacco plants reach about 15-20 centimeters (about 8 inches) in height and are ready to be transplanted to farm fields. Spacing between plants in the field varies according to the type of tobacco and where it is grown. (Different types of tobacco have various size leaves and grow to various heights. If they are planted too close together some of the leaves may not receive enough sun). Plants are placed in the field by hand or by a transplanting machine. Trans planter machines are used on large farms in the United States. One type of trans planter allows workers to sit on the back of the machine as the trans planter is pulled through the field by a tractor. Workers load plants into trans planter clips that automatically place each plant into the soil at a particular depth and distance apart from each other. Fertilizer, water and insecticide are also added to the soil by the trans planter. After transplanting, farmers cultivate the soil to keep it loose and eliminate weeds. Tobacco plants require approximately 70 to 130 days from the date of transplanting to reach maturity in the field.

There is no single determining factor as to when tobacco should be watered. Irrigation will be determined by the amount of rainfall the crop receives, variety of tobacco plant and the soil type. Soil is made up of particles and pore spaces of different sizes and shapes. The size, shape, and make-up of these particles determine its water holding capacity. (The amount of water soil can hold until it reaches its saturation point). During transplanting and at harvest time, tobacco requires a higher moisture content. During transplanting, irrigating crops will promote faster growth and earlier maturity. At harvest time, moisture may be added to improve yield and quality of the leaf. (If there isn't a sufficient amount of moisture in the leaves at the time of the harvest, it won't yellow properly during the curing process). Two main risks of irrigation are getting an extended rain after crops have been watered, thus over watering them, and introducing disease to crops from water sources. Both reduce crop yield.

It is very difficult to produce a healthy crop of tobacco because the plants are susceptible to many diseases. Farmers develop plans to manage insects, weeds and diseases. All of these management systems require an enormous amount of careful planning and constant attention. The plans vary according to the type of tobacco grown, soil conditions, climate and cultural practices. They include chemical applications (fungicides, insecticides, fumigants and pesticides), crop rotations and cultivation techniques.

Farmers who grow tobacco want to produce a high yield of a healthy crop. Tobacco is a profitable crop. Growing it continuously, especially on small farms where crop rotation is not seen as a possibility, provides a constant source of income. Soil is tested to determine the proper nutrient requirements for each tobacco crop. The amount and type of fertilizer varies widely because different types of soil, varieties of tobacco and different climates require different nutrients. Fertilizers are typically applied before and after transplanting seedlings.

Three major nutrients that tobacco plants require are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen influences the growth of tobacco and the quality of the cured-leaf more than any other nutrient. Some of the additional secondary nutrients that are used in lesser amounts include calcium, sulphur and magnesium. Still even other nutrients may be applied. The amount of each is determined at the beginning of each growing season. Too much or not enough of any of these nutrients can result in damaged tobacco plants.

One way farmers maintain nutrient-rich soil is by rotating crops with cover crops such as rye, barley, wheat and legumes. These crops help minimize erosion, maintain organic material in soil, and reduce the risk of disease. One of the problems of growing tobacco in rotation with other crops is controlling the quantity of nitrogen available to the tobacco. If a legume is used for crop rotation, it is nearly impossible to determine the quantity of nitrogen it leaves in the soil. This makes it extremely difficult to determine the amount of nitrogen to apply for the tobacco crop. Some tobacco farmers do not rotate their crops. Instead they grow tobacco continuously and rely more heavily on the use of fertilizers, pesticides and other pest and disease control practices.

Phosphate Fertilizer - It's a Killer
Tobacco crops deplete soil nutrients at a much higher rate than most other crops. Because of this, farmers use an abundance of fertilizers. Phosphate fertilizer, used by many tobacco farmers, contains natural radioactivity.

Radioactive radon gas is absorbed and trapped in apatite rock. Apatite is mined for the purpose of formulating the phosphate portion of most chemical fertilizers. Radon produces polonium, an element that evaporates when burned. As a smoker inhales tobacco smoke, polonium is deposited in his or her respiratory system.

"In the early to mid-1800's, farmers were dependent on each other's knowledge for improvements in farming techniques. By the 1860's, chemical fertilizers were introduced to increase the yield of tobacco crops. Yields increased, but so did the problems associated with growing tobacco.
As early as 1879, farmers of bright-leaf tobacco became dependent on chemical fertilizers due to increased crop yield and heavy marketing and advertising from chemical fertilizer companies. Manufacturers of chemical fertilizers and growers were baffled by the appropriate composition of fertilizers. Many of the available fertilizers were worthless.

This dependency on chemical fertilizers led to the establishment of experiment stations. Experiment stations helped shift farming practices from trial and error methods to those using a more scientific approach. Because tobacco growers had become so dependent on the use of fertilizers, experiment stations initially focused their effort on analyzing the composition of fertilizer. In 1899, Congress authorized a unified plan of experimental work for all types of tobacco. This plan expanded the work of stations to include methods of curing, chemical analysis of the leaf extending tobacco culture into new areas, soil composition, improvements of varieties, methods for preparing seed beds, and analysis of fertilizers. By the early 1900's, chemists collected reliable data to create suitable fertilizer."1

Weed, Insect and Disease Management
Weeds are controlled using several methods which may include crop rotations, early root destruction, cultivation and herbicides. Herbicides are used in the plant beds and greenhouses and during transplanting. There are many kinds of insects that can harm various types of tobacco plants at different stages of growth. Different methods of insect management are applied according to where the seedling is grown (plant bed or greenhouse), the plant's developmental stage (seedling, transplant, field growth, stored tobacco) and the type of insect infestation. Common insects include the green june beetle larvae, cutworms, flea beetles, hornworms, grasshoppers, budworms, and aphids. Insects in the field are controlled by sprays and dusts. Insects on picked tobacco are managed by fumigants and trapping. Close attention is given to insect management throughout the growing process and storage of cured tobacco.

Fungal, Bacterial and Viral Diseases
Different fungal, bacterial and viral diseases affect different parts of the tobacco plant at different times throughout the growing cycle. Diseases are controlled by crop rotation, producing disease-resistant varieties of plants and chemical control (fumigants and fungicides).
Common diseases are black-root rot, fusarium wilt, tobacco-mosaic, bacterial-leaf spot, downy mildew, black shank, broomrape and witch weed. The number, type, and incidence of tobacco diseases are strongly influenced by weather, in particular temperature and moisture. No one practice can provide protection from every disease. Different diseases attack from one growing season to the next.

The Environment and Tobacco
Tobacco is grown in over 100 countries, most of which are developing countries. Tobacco plants require huge amounts of fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides because they are prone to a wide variety of diseases. Up to sixteen applications may be applied throughout the growing cycle. These products enter streams, rivers and food chains.

Pesticides can enter the body by ingestion, breathing and absorption through the skin and eyes. Pesticide residues have been found on tobacco leaves and in cigarettes. Smokers of pesticide treated tobacco are likely to have inhaled pesticide residues. More than 450 pesticides are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be used on tobacco crops. This list includes nerve toxins and pesticides that are toxic and may cause cancer or birth defects. The following examples are all included on this extensive list.

“Aldicarb is the most toxic pesticide registered for use in the United States. Aldicarb contains a poisonous agent, dichloromethane, that has been linked to genetic defects as well as problems with kidneys, liver, hearing and vision. It is both carcinogenic and mutagenic.

Chlorpyrifos, a widely used insecticide, affects the nervous system by inhibiting an enzyme important in the transmission of nerve impulses. Chlorpyrifos also has been found to damage blood and lymph cells, the male reproductive system and causes human birth defects. It is known to contaminate air, groundwater, rivers, lakes, rainwater and fog.

Telone, a highly toxic soil fumigant, can cause respiratory problems, skin and eye irritation and kidney damage. It has been found in groundwater, drinking water and rainwater because it leaches through soil.

A lack of environmental, pesticide and labor regulations make developing countries lucrative places for multinational corporations to grow tobacco. Multinational tobacco companies offer financial incentives, supplies, seeds, fertilizer and technical expertise to farmers growing tobacco. It is common practice for these companies to contract directly with small farmers. Many of these farmers never see a profit from their work. Most of their money is spent on debts they incurr purchasing seeds, pesticides, etc.

Because regulation of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides barely exists in developing countries, the problems associated with their use are potentially worse than in the United States. Very little guidance is provided by the multinational companies on the use of and protection against these substances.

Once grown and harvested, much of the tobacco in developing countries is cured in wood smoke. Because this process is not efficient, it consumes vast amounts of wood resulting in deforestation.

The growth of tobacco in these countries has helped increase the number of people using tobacco products. As a result, there is a significant increase in tobacco-related illnesses."

Both flue-cured and burley tobacco plants grown in the United States are topped. Topping, or cutting off, the flower that grows on the top of the plant as it matures, helps the tobacco plant grow larger and heavier. Topping allows nourishment to flow directly to the remaining leaves. Once topped, the plant develops suckers, or lateral shoots. Suckers are removed by hand or by applying sucker suppressing chemicals because they take nutrients away from the growing leaves. The two main types of sucker control chemicals are contact and systemic chemicals. Contact chemicals work by burning young suckers that are newly formed. Systemic chemicals inhibit cell division and can either work locally or throughout the entire plant. Maleic hydrazide is the most common systemic chemical used for sucker

Harvesting refers to the removal of mature ripe leaves from the plant. Plants indicate their ripeness by beginning to yellow a signal that chlorophyll is beginning to break down. Yellowing leaves have the chemical and physical properties that enable them to be cured and manufactured into tobacco products. Curing is the last phase of production practice on the farm.

Harvesting tobacco can be done by machine or by hand. Tobacco that is harvested by hand is either primed or stalk-cut. Bright-leaf tobacco that is hand harvested is primed. Priming involves picking leaves as they ripen. Leaves ripen and are harvested from the bottom of the stalk upward. Priming requires several harvests because the leaves ripen at different rates. Some growers use a pre-harvest chemical which causes yellowing of the leaves so more can be harvested at one time.

Several harvesting machines are available. The multi-pass machine picks several leaves at each harvest. The once-over machine removes all leaves in one pass. Older machines carried several workers who rode on low platforms at the front of the harvester. As the workers passed through the rows of tobacco, they cut the leaves and placed them on a conveyor belt on the machine. The leaves were then tied mechanically or by hand and placed in curing barns. In the United States, many farms growing flue-cured tobacco hand prime it and then harvest the remaining leaves by machine. Other farmers choose to mechanize the entire process of harvesting. Harvesting methods depend on the size of the farm and available capital.

Burley tobacco is harvested by the stalk-cutting method. The entire plant is cut, the stalk is split or speared and left to wilt on sticks in the field for a day or two before it is hung in a curing barn. Wilting the leaves helps dry them out, preparing them for curing. Burley tobacco can also be harvested by machine, which cuts down the entire stalk. The stalks are then placed in curing barns.

Harvesting and curing tobacco are the final jobs of tobacco field production. Both practices have changed more than any other phase of tobacco production.

Curing is the process that brings about the rapid destruction of chlorophyll, giving leaves their yellow appearance, converting starch into sugar and removing moisture. Curing brings out the aroma and flavor of each variety of tobacco. Before tobacco is cured, the leaves contain 80-85% water. After the curing cycle, there is essentially no water left. Many factors have an effect on the curing schedule including soil, position of the leaf on the stalk and weather.

Stages of Curing
"Curing involves three essential steps: yellowing, leaf drying and stem drying. The curing environment can be manipulated by controlling heat, humidity and air movement.

The Yellowing Stage is a continuation of the ripening process and is thought to be the most important part of the curing process. The leaf is still alive during the yellowing phase, which allows it to carry on certain biological processes needed to convert starch to sugar and break down chlorophyll.

The Science of Yellowing
The stomata allows a continuous exchange of carbon dioxide, oxygen and water through the leaf. As this exchange occurs, yellow pigments become visible as chlorophyll breaks down. Another important part of yellowing is the conversion of starch to sugar. When tobacco leaves are harvested, they are high in starch and low in sugar. As starch decreases through the natural processes of hydrolysis and respiration, the amount of sugar increases.

The Leaf Drying Stage is where the leaf tissue is dried to a particular moisture level.

The Stem Drying Stage is referred to as the 'killing out stage' because all moisture is removed from the stem and leaf killing them." 3

Classes of Tobacco
There are six major classes of tobacco: flue-cured, air-cured, fire-cured, wrappers, filler and binder varieties. The United States Department of Agriculture developed a standard system of classifying tobacco because different tobacco products (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff and cigars) require leaves with different characteristics.

Each type of tobacco responds best to a certain curing method. Bright-leaf tobacco is flue-cured. Flue-cured tobacco is dried in a closed building with furnace driven heat directed from flues or pipes that extend from a furnace into the barn. The temperature of the furnace is gradually raised 32.2 °C to 71.1 °C (90 °F to 160 °F) until the leaves and stems are completely dried. As the heat and humidity are controlled, moisture is removed, resulting in dried yellow leaves and stems.

Flue-curing takes about a week and accounts for approximately 50% of the tobacco produced in the United States. Flue-cured tobacco is lemon, orange, or mahogany in color. Most flue-cured tobacco is used in the production of cigarettes and has a high sugar content and a medium-to-high nicotine content.

For the last 40 years, American farmers growing flue-cured tobacco have cured leaves through direct-fired systems that burn natural or LP gas. This method has been found to produce TSNA's, or tobacco specific nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are produced when nitrous oxides, a product of combustion, combine with nicotine in tobacco leaves. Tobacco specific nitrosamines have been shown to be carcinogenic. Research has shown that if such direct-fired systems are retrofitted with heat exchangers, tobacco specific nitrosamines can be dramatically reduced.

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Flue-Cured Tobacco Production Guide-Retrofitting Flue-Cured Barns

Burley tobacco is air-cured. Air-curing barns require an open framework where sticks of tied leaves or the whole stalk is hung and protected from the wind and sun. Barns are equipped with ventilators that can be opened or closed to control temperature and humidity. Air-curing takes four to eight weeks. Leaves turn from green to yellow as stems and leaves slowly dry. These leaves have a low sugar content and vary in nicotine content. Light and dark air-cured tobaccos are two varieties grown in the United States. Burley is a kind of light air-cured tobacco used to make cigarettes and accounts for about 40% of tobacco produced in the United States. Dark air-cured tobacco is primarily used in the production of chewing tobacco and snuff.

Fire-cured tobacco is dried with low-burning wood fires on the floors of closed curing barns. The smoke is what gives fire-cured tobacco its smoky aroma and flavor. These leaves have a low sugar content but high nicotine content. Farmers regulate heat, humidity and ventilation in the curing barns. This process can be continuous or intermittent, extending from three days to ten weeks. Fire-cured tobacco is used to make cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff and strong-tasting cigars.

Today, a lot of flue-cured tobacco in the United States is bulk cured. Bulk-curing requires fewer workers and uses less fuel than other methods of curing. Racks of harvested tobacco are placed in bulk barns either by machine or by hand. Tobacco is pressed into containers or hung evenly throughout the metal barn where heat and ventilation are controlled while air is forced through the leaves.

Cured leaves are removed from the curing barn and placed in a storage area that has been sanitized and treated to prevent insect infestation. Cured tobacco remains in storage from one to three years and is checked regularly for signs of insects and damage.




March 18, 2005:
The Supreme Court of Canada says provinces that want to limit tobacco displays have the right to do so. The court issues its reasons for a January 2005 ruling that allowed Saskatchewan to reinstate a law ordering store owners to keep tobacco products behind curtains or doors.

Feb. 25, 2005:
The Manitoba government joins British Columbia's Supreme Court fight to recover $10 billion in health-care costs from cigarette companies.

Feb. 21, 2005:
The Quebec Superior Court certifies two class-action lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages against three tobacco companies operating in Quebec. The lawsuits allege damages on the part of millions of Quebecers as a result of addiction to tobacco products and smoking-related illnesses.

Feb. 5, 2005:
The Ontario Superior Court throws out what could have been Canada's biggest class-action lawsuit. Three complainants wanted $1 million each for damages. They also wanted money to pay for nicotine addiction centres. If the judge had approved the suit everyone who had ever smoked in Ontario would have automatically been included.

January 2005:
The Supreme Court of Canada rules that Saskatchewan can reinstate a controversial law that forces store owners to keep tobacco products behind curtains or doors. The so-called "shower curtain law" was passed in 2002 to hide cigarettes from children but was struck down a year later by an appeal court.

December 2004:
The Supreme Court of Canada agrees to hear an appeal of the B.C. Court of Appeal's ruling that the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act is constitutionally valid. The appeal is filed by lawyers acting for the tobacco council as well as Imperial Tobacco Canada, Rothmans, Benson and Hedges, JTI-Macdonald, and a number of international tobacco companies.

May 2004:
B.C.'s Court of Appeal rules unanimously that the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act is constitutionally valid. The act is designed to make tobacco companies pay for the cost of treating health problems caused by smoking.

June 2003:
The B.C. Supreme Court rules the province's Tobacco Damages and Health Care Recovery Act is unconstitutional because it goes beyond the provincial government's power.

August 2001:
Federal Health Minister Allan Rock announces legislation will be introduced in the fall to prevent cigarettes from being marketed under the terms "light" or "mild." Rock says cigarette companies have been deceiving the public since the marketing terms were introduced in 1976 and "all cigarettes are totally unacceptable."

June 2000:
Law passed that requires cigarette packages to carry one of 16 new health warnings that cover half of the cigarette pack and include graphic images such as cancerous lungs and diseased mouths. The new warning labels appeared on packages starting in January 2001:
Cigarettes are highly addictive
Children see children do
Cigarettes hurt babies
Tobacco use can make you impotent
Don't poison us
Tobacco smoke hurts babies
Cigarettes cause strokes
Cigarettes cause mouth diseases
Each year the equivalent of a small city dies from tobacco use
Cigarettes leave you breathless
Cigarettes are a heartbreaker
Cigarettes cause lung cancer (1)
Cigarettes cause lung cancer (2)
Idle but deadly
Where there's smoke there's hydrogen cyanide
You're not the only one smoking this cigarette
February 1999:
New regulations come into effect requiring retail establishments that sell tobacco to post signs that read "It is prohibited by federal law to provide tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age. Il est interdit par la loi fédérale de fournir des produits du tabac aux personnes âgées de moins de 18 ans."

April 1997:
Ottawa passes the Tobacco Act, which replaces the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act and the Tobacco Products Control Act. The new legislation provides standards for tobacco products, regulates access to tobacco, sets the rules for labeling and promotion of tobacco products, and puts in place rules for enforcing tobacco laws.

Legislation requires cigarette packs to carry new warning messages more prominently than before:
Cigarettes are addictive
Tobacco smoke can harm your children
Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease
Cigarettes cause cancer
Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease
Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby
Smoking can kill you
Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in non-smokers
The legal age to buy cigarettes is raised to 18.

January 1989:
Tobacco Products Control Act (BillC-51) is passed, replacing the Tobacco Control Act. Cigarette manufacturers are required to list the additives and amounts for each brand.

May 1988:
The Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act (TSYPA) is passed, replacing the 1908 Tobacco Restraint Act. The purpose of the TSYPA is to protect the health of young Canadians by restricting their access to tobacco products in light of the risks associated with the use of tobacco. It prohibits any person from selling or giving tobacco to those under the age of 18. It also requires tobacco vending machines to be removed from all public places except bars and taverns.

Ottawa passes the Non-Smokers Health Act (Bill C-204) to ensure federal workplaces are smoke-free and to prohibit passengers on aircraft, ships and trains from smoking in areas other than a designated smoking room. It also amends the Hazardous Products Act to prohibit tobacco advertising.

New legislation also requires cigarette packages to carry one of the following health warnings:
Smoking reduces life expectancy
Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer
Smoking is a major cause of heart disease
Smoking during pregnancy can harm the baby
Tobacco Restraint Act passed making it illegal to sell cigarettes to those under 16 years of age.

TORONTO - The Ontario government has proposed anti-tobacco legislation to ban smoking in workplaces and all indoor public areas.

Several Canadian provinces already have smoking bans, but Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman's proposed act appears to be one of the most comprehensive.

George Smitherman "Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke is the number 1 preventable killer in Ontario today," Smitherman said Wednesday. "The legislation we are introducing today ... will attack the chief cause of death and disease in this province."

Ontario's ban would come into force May 31, 2006.

The bill signals the end of designated smoking rooms in Ontario. Currently, bars and restaurants in Toronto, for example, can allow smoking as long as it takes place in separate rooms with their own ventilation systems.

Bar owners and restaurateurs say they will oppose the legislation.

In essence, the act would prohibit smoking indoors almost anywhere except in people's homes or temporary accommodation such as hotel rooms.

The public areas where it would be forbidden to smoke include:

Restaurants and bars
Private clubs
Healthcare facilities
Sports arenas
Entertainment venues
Work vehicles and offices including government buildings

Act seeks to limit tobacco displays

The legislation also proposes to make it illegal to have tobacco products on prominent display in stores where they are sold, in an effort to curb selling of tobacco to under-19s.

It would ban all countertop displays at retail outlets and prohibit the promotion of tobacco products at entertainment venues.

Michael Perley, Director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco, said the act sends "a clear message that second-hand smoke is extremely harmful, and that it's not to be tolerated in any enclosed place where people work or gather."

Dr. Sheela Basrur, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, called the bill "extremely important and timely."

"About 16,000 Ontarians die prematurely each year due to smoking – that's about 44 deaths every day," Basrur said.

"A growing list of cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are linked to smoking, which is responsible for at least $1.7 billion in health-care costs annually," she added.


A cigarette is a tobacco product that is manufactured out of cured and finely cut tobacco leaves, which is rolled or stuffed into a paper-wrapped cylinder (generally less than 120mm in length and 10mm in diameter). The cigarette is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder for the purpose of inhalation of its smoke from the other (usually filtered) end, which is inserted in the mouth. They are sometimes smoked with a Cigarette holder. The term cigarette, as commonly used, typically refers to a tobacco cigarette, but can apply to similar devices containing other herbs, such as cannabis. All tobacco products have been medically proven to considerably shorten lifespans. Most Western countries have large health warnings printed on the front and back of packets to warn of the effects of smoking.
A cigarette is distinguished from a cigar by its smaller size (hence the name), use of processed leaf, and paper wrapping; cigars are typically composed entirely of whole leaf tobacco. Cigarettes were largely unknown in the English-speaking world before the Crimean War, when British soldiers began emulating their Ottoman Turkish comrades, who resorted to rolling their tobacco with newsprint.


In practice, commercial cigarettes and cigarette tobaccos rarely contain pure tobacco. Manufacturers often use a tremendous variety of additives for a number of purposes, including maintaining blend consistency, improving perceived blend quality, as preservatives and even completely changing the organoleptic qualities of the tobacco smoke. While this is true for many brands of cigarettes, in Canada, the major cigarette brands all contain 100% natural virginia leaf - No Additives. Some cigarettes (known as kreteks, clove cigarettes, or simply cloves) have cloves blended with the tobacco. This is done to enhance the smoker's pleasure by numbing the mouth and lungs and providing a mild euphoric effect. Lower-quality clove cigarettes simply have a clove essence added to the tobacco.
In addition to additives, cigarette tobaccos,especially lower-quality blends, are often highly physically processed. During the original processing of leaf for cigarettes, the leaves are deveined, and the lamina is shredded or cut. Since the leaf is relatively dry at this point, these processes result in a significant amount of tobacco dust. Manufacturing operations have developed procedures for collecting this dust and remaking it into usable material (known as reconstituted sheet tobacco). The removed leaf midveins, which are unsuitable for use in cigarettes in their natural state, were historically discarded or spread on fields, because of their high nitrogen content. Procedures have been developed, however, to "expand" the stems, and process them for inclusion in the cigarette blends. All these procedures allow cigarette manufacturers to produce as many cigarettes as possible using the least amount of raw materials as possible.
The most common usage of the cigarette is tobacco smoke delivery. The second most common usage of the cigarette is for marijuana smoke delivery. The hand-rolled cigarette is the most common form of marijuana cigarette. Marijuana users will usually twist the ends of the cigarette to prevent fine cut marijuana buds from falling out. Tobacco users who roll their own cigarettes, however, will usually not twist the cigarette at the ends; hand rolling tobacco is made in strands so it doesn't have a tendency to fall out.
Some cigarette smokers roll their own cigarettes by wrapping loose cured tobacco in paper; most, however, purchase machine-made commercially available brands, generally sold in small cardboard packages of 10 or 20 cigarettes in the United States and UK or 25 in Canada. Commercial cigarettes usually contain a cellulose acetate or cotton filter through which the smoker inhales the cigarette's smoke; the filter serves to cool and supposedly clean the smoke.
Recently, cigarette rolling machines have become increasingly popular. One can purchase tobacco in pouches or cans, usually at a fraction of the price of what one would pay for the same amount pre-rolled. One can get a rolling machine that makes filterless, or "straight" cigarettes, or one can purchase a machine that packs the tobacco into a pre-rolled form with a filter. These filtered papers usually come in boxes of 200, while unfiltered papers will come in packs ranging from 12 to 64, and some contain even more.


Before the Second World War many manufacturers gave away collectible cards, one in each packet of cigarettes. This practice was discontinued to save paper during the war, and was never generally reintroduced. During the second world war they gave out free cigarettes to the soldiers and citizens. On April 1, 1970 President Richard Nixon signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, banning cigarette advertisements on television in the United States starting on January 2, 1971. However, some tobacco companies attempted to circumvent the ban by marketing new brands of cigarettes as "little cigars"; examples included Tijuana Smalls, which came out almost immediately after the ban took effect, and Backwoods Smokes, which hit the market in the winter of 1973-1974 and whose ads used the slogan, "How can anything that looks so wild taste so mild".
The sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors under 18 is now prohibited by law in all fifty states of the United States. In Alabama, Alaska and Utah the statutory age is 19, and legislation was pending as of 2004 in some other states, including California, to raise the age to 19, or even 21 in some cases. In Massachusetts, parents and guardians are allowed to give cigarettes to minors, but sales to minors are prohibited. Legislation was successfully passed on Long Island (New York) to raise the legal age in Suffolk county to 19, effective January 1st, 2005. Effective April 15, 2006, New Jersey's statutory age will increase to 19. New Jersey's law was successfully signed into law on January 15, 2006.
Similar laws exist in many other countries as well. In Canada, most of the provinces require smokers to be 19 years of age to purchase cigarettes (except for Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta, where the age is 18). However, the minimum age only concerns the purchase of tobacco, not use. Alberta, however, does have a law which prohibits the possession or use of tobacco products by all persons under 18, punishable by a $100 fine. Australia has a nation-wide ban on the selling of all tobacco products to people under 18.
In the UK, cigarettes can legally be sold only to people aged 16 and over. However it is not illegal for people under this age to buy (or attempt to buy) cigarettes, so only the retailer is breaking the law by selling to under 16s.
Most Countries in the world have a legal smoking age of 18. One notorious exception is Switzerland, where the age is 16 whereas a country such as Turkey, which has one of the highest percentage of smokers in its population, has a legal age of 18. In other countries, such as Egypt, however, there is no legal smoking age at all.
However, while bans stand in most countries for sales to minors, it is still common for merchants to disregard such laws as they are tough to enforce. Often the profits from selling cigarettes to minors illegally are much greater than the fines paid out in very infrequent times when they are caught. Some police departments in the United States occasionally send a clearly underage child into a store where cigarettes are sold, and have the child attempt to purchase cigarettes. If the vendor sells them to the minor, the store is issued a fine. This is by far the most common way in which cigarette vendors are caught when they sell cigarettes to minors.


Online stores have recently appeared that offer foreign cigarettes to internet buyers. As many jurisdictions place high taxes on tobacco sales, these could be seen as an effort to avoid paying duty or taxes. Some online cigarette stores exist to sell tax-free cigarettes inside one's own country of residence as well. The legality of these stores is being questioned currently in the United States. Federal lawmakers contend that these stores are clear tax evasions. Recently in Michigan, several online stores have been subpoenaed by the state for the names and addresses of customers. The state has reportedly been sending out fines for each package purchased, contending tax evasion over Michigan's $2-a-pack law. This same action has also taken place in Wisconsin after the Wisconsin Department of Revenue received a list of several thousand buyers in that state from an online cigarette merchant. However, the effort to collect on the taxes from the listed residents was stopped by order of Governor Jim Doyle a few days later. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express have all refused to allow online cigarette stores to accept payment by credit-card.


Smoking has been linked to lung cancer by many medical research institutions throughout the world (through the use of observational studies). Recent findings by the World Health Organization suggest that U.S. white male smokers have an 8% chance of acquiring lung cancer at some point in their lives, as opposed to the 2% chance of acquiring lung cancer among U.S. white male non-smokers. However, moderate cigarette smoking (<2 cigarettes daily) as well as second-hand smoke inhalation show no increase in lung cancer rates among U.S. white males in all credited observational studies.
Certain other lung disorders, like emphysema, are also linked to cigarette smoking. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and underweight infants. Smoking also increases the chance of heart attacks and a variety of cancers. Long-term smokers tend to look older than nonsmokers of the same age, because smoking can increase wrinkling in the skin.Nicotine, the stimulant and active ingredient in cigarettes, is highly addictive. Children and pets may be poisoned from eating cigarettes or cigarette butts.Inhalation of toxic to carcinogenic components of tobacco smoke, like radon and radium-226, is understood to cause lung cancer. Much of the farmland used to grow tobacco in the United States is contaminated with radioactive material as a result of using phosphate-rich fertilizers. Studies by Winters et al., in the New England Journal of Medicine (1982), found that skeletons of cigarette smokers contained deposits of lead-210 and polonium-210, two isotopes formed by radioactive decay of radium found in the soil where tobacco plants are grown.For many years the tobacco industry presented research of its own in an attempt to counter emerging medical research about the addictive nature and adverse health effects of cigarettes. According to a 1994 prosecution memo written by Congressman Martin Meehan to former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, many of these studies were found to be flawed due to their strong bias and poor methodology. A 2001 peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Public Health correctly accuses tobacco companies of using front groups and biased studies to downplay the health risks of smoking and secondhand smoke.
Many countries and jurisdictions have instituted public smoking bans. In New York City, smoking is forbidden in almost all workplaces, although not enforced in some small neighborhood bars. In the USA, smoking is being banned in restaurants and bars. States from California to Delaware have adopted such a ban, causing much controversy among smokers, non-smokers, workers, and owners. Such bans are least popular in Southern states of the USA, such as Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, where tobacco continues to be a large part of the economy. In other states, these bans are extremely popular and seen as long overdue. Often smoking is allowed on the street (though in Delaware you must be 250 feet away from any public building), but in many locations of Japan it is against the law. In 2004, smoking was outlawed in all public buildings in the state of Maine. The 2004 ban on smoking in bars and resturaunts in New Zealand met with initial resentment from some bar owners, but was widely welcomed by the public at large. In many parts of the world tobacco advertising and even sponsorship of sporting events is not allowed. The ban on tobacco sponsorship in the EU in 2005 has prompted the Formula One Management to look for races in areas that allow the heavily tobacco sponsored teams to display their livery, and has also lead to some of the more popular races on the calendar being cancelled in favour of more tobacco friendly markets.


The leaves of the tobacco plant are first dried to make cigarettes. Certain brands are then treated with a variety of chemicals, and many additional ingredients may be added. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic; however, trace amounts of the majority of these chemicals are present during combustion of any plant material and cannot be considered an inherent artifact of tobacco smoke only.The amounts of these ingredients can vary widely from one brand or type of cigarette to the next. This is especially true of the tar and nicotine content, the range of which is so extreme that an entire carton of some brands of cigarettes (e.g., Carlton) might contain less tar and/or nicotine than a single cigarette of a "full flavor" brand.Major tobacco companies also pack their cigarettes differently, using the longer more potent section of the tobacco leaf in the end, and moving the short cut pieces in the front (also known as "shake"). The hybrid tobacco leaves a more potent addiction effect this way. Relatively unpopular cigerette companies offer "no additive" cigarettes that are viewed by some as marginally healthier. Such brands include Natural American Spirit (manufactured by Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co, an independent subsidiary of Reynolds American) and Winston (manufactured directly by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company).


Cigarettes have accumulated a variety of nicknames such as "smokes", "butt", "square" (from the shape of the box), "cigs", "ciggies", "stogs", "stogies", "stokes", "snouts", "tabs" (especially in NE England), "loosey" (a single cigarette), "backwards", "bogeys", "boges", "gorts", "ciggy wiggy dilly's", "darts", "refries" (already used cigarettes being relit and smoked), "straights" (for factory rolled ones), "dugans" (especially in NYC), "hairy rags", "hausersticks", "jacks", "joes" (taken from the "Camel Joe", an old Camel Cigarettes mascot), "grits", "grants" (A common phrase used for asking someone for a cigarette is "Can you grant me a grant?"), "tailies" (short for "tailor made", only in New Zealand) and "fags" (the term "fag" is used more commonly in the United Kingdom and Australia, whereas in the United States and Canada, it is primarily a derogatory term for a male homosexual). Cigarettes have also attracted somewhat fatalistic nicknames related to their effect on the smoker's health, such as "coffin nails", "cancer sticks", "lung darts", "Sweet cancer", "gaspers" or even "black lungs" in terms of the "smoker". In Australia, cigarettes are sometimes called "Doogans" or "Durries". A relatively new term emerged with the release of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones after Obi-Wan Kenobi was offered a "death stick" in a nightclub, even though the 'death sticks' were some form of glowing liquid rather than anything smokable. Self-rolled cigarettes are called "rollies", in the UK they are called "ronnies", "prison rolls"(which are particularly thin, as tobacco needs to be used sparingly) and "gyppo fags".


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