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name for any plant of the genus Nicotiana of the Solanaceae family (nightshadenightshade,
common name for the Solanaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and a few trees of warm regions, chiefly tropical America. Many are climbing or creeping types, and rank-smelling foliage is typical of many species.
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 family) and for the product manufactured from the leaf and used in cigars and cigarettescigar and cigarette,
tubular rolls of tobacco designed for smoking. Cigars consist of filler leaves held together by binder leaves and covered with a wrapper leaf, which is rolled spirally around the binder.
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, snuffsnuff,
preparation of pulverized tobacco used by sniffing it into the nostrils, chewing it, or placing it between the gums and the cheek. The blended tobacco from which it is made is often aged for two or three years, fermented at least twice, ground, and usually flavored and
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, and pipe and chewing tobacco. Tobacco plants are also used in plant bioengineering, and some of the 60 species are grown as ornamentals. The chief commercial species, N. tabacum, is believed native to tropical America, like most nicotiananicotiana
, any plant of the genus Nicotiana of the family Solanaceae (nightshade family). Most species are herbs native to tropical America, although there are a few North American species and several others in the S Pacific, Australia and SW Africa.
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 plants, but has been so long cultivated that it is no longer known in the wild. N. rustica, a mild-flavored, fast-burning species, was the tobacco originally raised in Virginia, but it is now grown chiefly in Turkey, India, and Russia. The alkaloid nicotinenicotine,
C10H14N2, poisonous, pale yellow, oily liquid alkaloid with a pungent odor and an acrid taste. It turns brown on exposure to air. Nicotine, a naturally occurring constituent of tobacco, is the active ingredient in tobacco smoke.
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 is the most characteristic constituent of tobacco and is responsible for its addictive nature. The possible harmful effects of the nicotine, tarry compounds, and carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke vary with the individual's tolerance (see smokingsmoking,
inhalation and exhalation of the fumes of burning tobacco in cigars and cigarettes and pipes. Some persons draw the smoke into their lungs; others do not. Smoking was probably first practiced by the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere.
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Cultivation and Curing

The tobacco plant is a coarse, large-leaved perennial, usually cultivated as an annual, grown from seed in cold frames or hotbeds and then transplanted to the field. Tobacco requires a warm climate and rich, well-drained soil. The plant is susceptible to numerous bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases (e.g., the tobacco mosaic virus) and is attacked by several species of worms, beetles, and moths. The characteristics of many of the named grades depend upon the regional environmental conditions and cultivation techniques. Tobacco leaves are picked as they mature, or they are harvested together with the stalk.

Tobacco leaves are cured, fermented, and aged to develop aroma and reduce the harsh, rank odor and taste of fresh leaves. Fire-curing, dating from pre-Columbian times, is done by drying the leaves in smoke; in air-curing, the leaves are hung in well-ventilated structures; in flue-curing, used for over half the total crop, the leaves are dried by radiant heat from flues or pipes connected to a furnace. The cured tobacco is graded, bunched, and stacked in piles called bulks or in closed containers for active fermentation and aging. Most commercial tobaccos are blends of several types, and flavorings (e.g., maple and other sugars) are often added.

World Production

The United States produced nearly 1.7 billion pounds of tobacco in 1997 (about one tenth of world production), of which about 30% was exported; the United States imports some tobacco for special purposes, e.g., Asian cigarette leaf for blending, Puerto Rican tobacco for cigar filler, and cigar-wrapper leaf from Sumatra and Java. In the United States about two thirds of the crop is grown in North Carolina and Kentucky. China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Malawi, and Zimbabwe are the other chief producing countries, and Russia, Japan, and Germany are the major importers.

Early History

The use of tobacco originated among the indigenous inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere in pre-Columbian times. Tobacco was introduced into Spain and Portugal in the mid-16th cent., initially for its supposed virtues as a panacea. It spread to other European countries and then to Asia and Africa, where its use became general in the 17th cent. The first tobacco to reach England was probably a crop harvested in Virginia, where John RolfeRolfe, John
, 1585–1622, English colonist in Virginia. He reached the colony in May, 1610, and introduced (1612) the regular cultivation of tobacco, which became Virginia's staple.
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 experimented with Spanish types of tobacco seed and introduced tobacco as a crop as early as 1612. By 1619 tobacco had become a leading export of Virginia, where it was later used as a basis of currency.


Tobacco is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Solanales, family Solanaceae.


See R. Jahn, ed., Tobacco Dictionary (1954); J. C. Robert, The Story of Tobacco in America (1967); E. R. Billings, Tobacco (1875, repr. 1973); I. Gately, Tobacco: The Story of How Tobacco Seduced the World (2002); M. Norton, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World (2008); B. Hahn, Making Tobacco Bright: Creating an American Commodity, 1617–1937 (2011).


Any plant of the genus Nicotinia cultivated for its leaves, which contain 1-3% of the alkaloid nicotine.
The dried leaves of the plant.


1. any of numerous solanaceous plants of the genus Nicotiana, having mildly narcotic properties, tapering hairy leaves, and tubular or funnel-shaped fragrant flowers. The species N. tabacum is cultivated as the chief source of commercial tobacco
2. the leaves of certain of these plants dried and prepared for snuff, chewing, or smoking
References in periodicals archive ?
Al Mutawa also said four samples of the actual dokha taken by these patients were tested and they also did not contain any marijuana.
gt; Economical - with the rising price of cigarettes, not only can you enjoy the product, but save some cash in the process with dokha as an alternative.
He described how there are three kinds of dokha tobacco, the strongest of which gives the user a feeling of dizziness.
The new regulations are reshaping the decades-old dokha trade in the city.
Most dokha smokers, according to Menon, acknowledge the perception that it is unhealthy, but interestingly don't think it applies to themselves.
He added they also wanted to ensure that dokha did not contain any substances that fall under synthetic cannaboids or what is know as Spice.
The sight of Emiratis smoking dokha, especially young people, is common in the UAE.
She also said when the patients were asked where they bought their dokha, they said they got it from small uncertified shops or from friends.
Originally dokha was smoked out of animal horn," Arees A.
In addition, we are now working on a study with the UAE University and other clinical representatives to understand the composition of dokha, which is popularly used by youth.
Dr Mahboub told Gulf News that the prevalence of shisha and dokha smokers was on the rise among the younger generation who often wrongly think they are safer and less hazardous alternatives to cigarette tobacco.
The medwakh, smoked by fishermen and Bedouins in the UAE in the past, uses a traditional Arabic tobacco called dokha.