tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves. Nicotiana rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%

tocacco cigar A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sumatra, Philippines, and the Eastern United States.

tocacco Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of cigarettes smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.

tocacco
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Light and Intermittent Smokers Overlooked in Traditional Tobacco Research

To date, the majority of research conducted about tobacco use has been related to the impact of moderate to heavy smoking. The March 2009 issue of Nicotine and Tobacco Research is focused on examining light and intermittent smoking. Several of the nation’s preeminent public health experts and researchers worked together to uncover trends related to light smokers, those who smoke less than 10-15 cigarettes per day and intermittent or occasional smokers, those who may not smoke every day.

According to the CDC, one-fifth of U.S. smokers are intermittent or occasional smokers. Yet, existing research and public health efforts have targeted moderate to heavy smokers. There is no safe level of cigarette smoke, though, and for this reason, the American Legacy Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research co-funded Light and Intermittent Smoking, a special issue of Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

The issue includes 13 original, peer-reviewed articles that stemmed from recommendations made at a meeting of 29 collaborative scientists held in 2005. This unprecedented meeting yielded a concerted effort by the public health community to reduce light and intermittent smoking, and this compilation of research is the beginning of curbing that trend and helping to avoid the 1 billion projected tobacco-related deaths in the 21st century.

“This special issue is chapter one of a very important volume in the overall fight against tobacco,” said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr. P.H., president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation. “We are yet to fully understand the best ways to help these light smokers quit, a very important goal, as they represent an increasing percentage of the smoking population.”

The articles examine:

Smoking Patterns - Light and intermittent smoking is more prevalent among African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian American and Pacific Islanders compared with Whites. Those aged 20-34 were more likely than adults aged 35-50 to smoke five or fewer cigarettes per day; male smokers were significantly less likely to have light daily consumption; smokers with lower levels of education were more likely to consume a pack or more per day compared to those who had graduated from college.

Trends - Light and intermittent adolescents are an unstable group of smokers. Data indicate that among 12th grade light and intermittent smokers who were followed over time, less than half were found to still be light and intermittent smokers two years post-high school. Another study that examined U.S. trends in smoking from 1991-2002 found that among very light smokers, smoking prevalence declined at all levels among Americans who are more than 30 years old, while light and intermittent smoking between those aged 18-29 increased. Another interesting trend examined the association between light smoking and tobacco control policies. Young adults in states with strong policies were more likely to be light smokers, and there was a higher prevalence of light and intermittent smoking in young people with smoke-free homes

Addiction - Two studies in the issue examine the relationship between cigarette consumption and addiction. Adolescent very light smokers (less than five cigarettes per day), demonstrate no significant withdrawal symptoms after 24 hours without nicotine, while those adolescents consuming four to five cigarettes per day had subjective symptoms of withdrawal. A sub-group of Hispanic/Latino smokers who were studied demonstrated that, despite significant differences on dependence and withdrawal, low-level smoking was not associated with abstinence.

Health Effects - A study of college students found that smokers who smoked five or more days per month had a higher occurrence of shortness of breath than nonsmokers.

“In order to adequately address the issue of tobacco use in this country, we can not overlook light and intermittent smokers,” said Dr. Pebbles Fagan, Health Scientist, Tobacco Research Branch, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the National Cancer Institute. “Research suggests an impending global pandemic of light smokers, and we must take what this paper outlines and move the agenda forward in advancing research of the full spectrum of smokers.”

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