What is tobacco?
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As a substance, tobacco is a product that comes from the tobacco plant. There are more than 70 species of tobacco plants, most commercial use is from N. tabacum. For cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco, the plant leaves are harvested, dried, fermented, and aged. The plants contain the chemical, nicotine, which is a highly addictive stimulant.
Tobacco is found in many forms including:
- Cigarettes - a narrow cylinder of finely cut tobacco leaves that are rolled into thin paper for smoking.
- Cigarillos/cigars - a roll of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or in a substance that contains tobacco. Come in three forms: large cigars, cigarillos, and little cigars.
- E-cigarettes - a battery powered device which simulates the act of smoking (also known as a vape).
- Smokeless tobacco - a mixture of tobacco, nicotine, water, abrasives, sweeteners, salt, and chemicals that is placed in the mouth to be chewed, sucked, or sniffed through the nose.
- Water pipes - a device used to smoke specially made tobacco and non-tobacco herbal products called Shisha, where the product is heated by charcoal (also known as a Hookah).
- Traditional tobacco - many Aboriginal communities use tobacco for traditional ceremonies, rituals, and/or prayer purposes. This traditional tobacco (also called Sacred Tobacco), is tobacco in its pure form, without the chemicals included in commercial tobacco products like cigarettes.