What Is Tobacco?

Tobacco is grown across the world and has been used by different cultures and groups for centuries. But what is tobacco, and what are the different ways in which it is used? If you've ever found yourself wondering what tobacco is made of then keep reading for all you need to know, just keep reading on for all you need to know.

Tobacco, which originated in the Americas and takes its name from the Spanish word ‘tabaco’, refers to both a handful of plants in the genus Nicotiana and the product produced from their leaves. While there are many different species, N. tabacum is most commonly used.

What is Tobacco Used For?

We tend to think of tobacco as something that is smoked, chewed or otherwise consumed. However, there are some surprising ways in which tobacco can be used

Tobacco water has been used as an organic insecticide by some gardeners, created by boiling tobacco in water or letting it steep, and applying it as a spray or painting it onto the leaves of plants to kill insects. Meanwhile, some fishermen in the Basque region of France and Spain have used tobacco leaves to kill eels as part of a local delicacy.

A bioenergy company in the United States has even experimented with tobacco as a source of oil and biofuel, with a view to using it as jet fuel, while tobacco also powered a South African Airways flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town a few years ago.[1][2]

What are the Different Types of Tobacco Product?

When it comes to tobacco, many of us will first think of a cigarette. Cigarettes contain tobacco and when lit the tobacco is burned at high temperatures causing the combustion to take place. However, there are many different types of tobacco. One of these different types of tobacco is rolling tobacco, which some smokers use, and generally comes as fine-cut strands in a tobacco pouch.

Tobacco can also be used to make cigars – which contain tightly rolled dried and fermented tobacco – cigarillos, and chewing tobacco. When it comes to chewing tobacco, people have long consumed tobacco by chewing, and have done so for centuries, but modern chewing tobacco is produced from cured and fermented tobacco which is often mixed with a sweetener too. 

There is also dipping tobacco, which is often confused with chewing tobacco. However, instead of chewing the tobacco, with dipping tobacco, it is placed between the lip and gum. Dipping tobacco is currently banned across the European Union, with Sweden an exemption because of the country’s traditional usage of snus.

Across the Middle East and South Asia, tobacco, and sometimes flavoured tobacco, has traditionally been smoked through hookah or shisha pipes. A tobacco mix containing molasses, vegetable glycerol and often other flavourings is used.

Another type of tobacco is heated tobacco. It’s an alternative to smoking that differs from smoking in that the tobacco is heated rather than burned to produce smoke. The use of heated tobacco involves two core parts: the HEETS tobacco stick, and the electronic IQOS device. While the best choice any smoker can make is to stop entirely, for those who choose not to , the use of heated tobacco is a better option than continuing to smoke – IQOS emits 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes* - and can work out cheaper too.

Important information: It does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free.

If you’d like to know more about heated tobacco, why not take a look here?

*”95% less” represents the average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F). See important information on IQOS.com.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/06/us-farmers-turning-tobacco-into-airplane-fuel-biofuels-renewables 

[2] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-south-africa-jetfuel-climatechange-idUSKBN1JN1GC 

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