Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of Nicotiana plants. In consumption it may be in the form of smoking, chewing, snuffing, dipping tobacco, or snus. Tobacco has been long in use as an entheogen in the Americas. When Europeans arrived in North America, it quickly became popularized as a recreational drug and as a trade item. Whit the time a change in demand and a change in labor force allowed for the development of the cigarettes.
There are many tobaccos species, which are all encompassed by the plant genus Nicotiana.
Because of the addictive properties of nicotine, tolerance and dependence develop. The usage of tobacco, is an activity that is practiced by 1.1 billion people, and up to 1/3 of the adult population. Rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in developed countries, however they continue to rise in developing countries.
Tobacco is cultivated similar to other agricultural products. Seeds are sown in cold frames or hotbeds to prevent attacks from insects, and then transplanted into the fields. Tobacco is an annual crop, which is usually harvested in a large single-piece farm equipment. After harvest, tobacco is stored to allow for curing, which allow for the slow oxidation and degradation of carotenoids.