The tobacco plant has been used for centuries and a whole range of products are made from the leaves of the tobacco plant. In this article we want to clarify the questions "What is tobacco?" and "Which tobacco products are there? In addition, we will give you some information about tobacco cultivation in Germany and how tobacco first came to Europe.
What is tobacco?
Tobacco is obtained from the leaves of the tobacco plant and although there are about 75 different types of tobacco, only two of them are used for the production of tobacco products. Virgin tobacco is the most important in the tobacco industry. The second type is farmer's tobacco, but due to its high nicotine content, this is now only mined in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia. Tobacco plants naturally contain nicotine and they are native to South America.
Cultivation and harvest
Growing and harvesting tobacco plants requires a lot of care and patience. They are susceptible to pests and need a special fertilizer with nitrogen. During harvesting, in most cases the leaves are picked individually, which takes a lot of time. Then they are dried and fermented for several weeks to prepare them for further processing.
The history of tobacco in the German-speaking world
At the end of the 15th century, Christopher Columbus, on his voyage to America, found natives burning the leaves and inhaling the smoke. In the 16th century, European sailors brought the plant back to their homeland and quickly the product was spread in countries with access to the coast. The plant also came to Germany and Switzerland this way and was consumed primarily by people of the upper classes.
Tobacco cultivation in Germany started in 1573 and the plant was first used as a medicinal remedy. The largest cultivation area is located in Baden-Württemberg, but the cultivation of tobacco in Germany is rather difficult due to climatic conditions. In Switzerland, 85% of the cultivated area is located in the cantons of Vaud and Fribourg.
How does tobacco affect the body?
The tobacco effect on body and mind is probably the most significant reason why many people reach for the cigarette. Nicotine triggers some processes in the body, such as increased production of dopamine. Dopamine has a rewarding effect and helps the body to relax. In addition, it increases alertness, which is why many people smoke in the morning to wake up. Of course, how strong the effect is depends on the amount taken. The effect usually lasts for about two hours. After that, the body begins to break down.
What are the tobacco products?
Tobacco-containing products come in all kinds of forms and processing steps. So there are, among others:
- Chewing tobacco
- Smoking tobacco (pipe)
- Cigars / Cigarettes
- Shisha tobacco
Smokeless alternatives to cigarettes include snuff, chewing tobacco and lozenges. Snus is a special form of sucking tobacco. This is made from ground tobacco leaves and is pushed under the upper lip when consumed. In Scandinavian countries snus has a long tradition. You can find snus either with or without tobacco. The tobacco-free products are called Nicotine Pouches or All White Snus.
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The tobacco plant has a long history and has been consumed in various ways for centuries. The first tobacco products came to Europe in the 16th century and its popularity grew rapidly. Today, there are a variety of different tobacco products, including smokeless alternatives such as snus.