Tobacco (Nicotiana Tabacum), is a plant indigenous to the Americas it produces a neurotoxin called nicotine as a defence against being eaten by animals. The native populations probably did not use the drug recreationally but used it for medicinal purposes or in large doses for hallucinogenic shamanic rituals. Europeans discovered the plant in 1492 after Christopher Columbus’s crew rediscovered the Americas and recreational pipe smoking became widespread during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries CE.
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Tobacco plantations sprung up in Virginia North America in the early 16th Century CE and became a cash crop grown by slave labour taken from Africa by the triangular trade and exported to England along with cotton and sugar.
Tobacco is mainly grown in Brazil, Turkey, Mallari, China and Indonesia. Tobacco is a destructive crop which depletes soils of its nutrients which contributes to deforestation and soil erosion. Cultivation requires high levels of pesticides and fertilisers which pollute water sources.
Tobacco farmers are often in debt due to contract farming where the tobacco company agrees to buy the crop and will provide seeds and pesticide at above market prices as a loan to be deducted against the value of the crop. Contract farming often results in the cost of producing the crop being higher than the money received for it.
Tobacco farming is a back breaking and dangerous occupation where the workers sometimes as young as five years old are exposed to high levels of pesticides and fertilisers. Workers are at risk of the ‘green tobacco sickness’ caused by absorbing nicotine through the skin through handling the tobacco plant.
1.3 billion Inhabitants of our planet smoke, most of which live in poor or developing countries where advertising and government restrictions are weaker. Young adults are the most prevalent group that take up smoking and they replenish the number of smokers lost to fatal diseases.
Most take up smoking for reasons including individualism, fashion, peer pressure, a sign of adulthood, rebellion and a way to deal with the stresses of rites of passage.
In the past tobacco companies advertised directly to this age group but this is now prohibited now influences are more subtle such as point of sale displays, pack design, celebrity endorsements, music, film, and internet social media or by direct advertising by smoking related products such as cigarette papers.
Nicotine is very addictive and reaches the brain within ten seconds causing dopamine to be released which is experienced as a high. The user develops a chemical dependency on nicotine and suffers from withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms include headaches, nicotine cravings and anxiety.
The feeling of pleasure attained through smoking a cigarette is merely the relief of satisfying nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Cigarette use in itself is not calming it just relieves the withdrawal symptom of anxiety.
Humans are creatures of habit and will mark daily behaviour with lighting up. The smoker will develop ritualistic behaviours such as a cigarette when they wake up, during work breaks, after meals and last thing before going to bed.
Smokers can be recognised by their smell and nicotine stained fingers, prolonged smoking makes their skin more lined and they age quicker than non-smokers.
A smoker’s health can be damaged by smoking and they are more likely to be afflicted with colds, flu, high blood pressure discoloured or loose teeth, poor circulation, shortness of breath and coughing.
Smoking is also a contributing factor for heart attacks, strokes, cancers including lung cancer, emphysema and chronic pulmonary disease.
Smoking is an expensive habit and contributes to poverty and families can lose an adult bringing in income from disease or death.
Only half of smokers will live to see their seventieth birthday compared with 8/10 non-smokers. Smoking shortens life expectancy by on average ten years however if a smoker stops before the age of forty they can extend their life by around nine years.
Smoking is a choice but if you want to stop then these tips helped me to stop smoking.
What are your views on smoking? Let us know by leaving a comment below.Keywords: Smoking, Tobacco, Nicotine, How to Stop Smoking, Why People Smoke