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Tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves that are smoked chewed or sniffed for a variety of effects It is considered an addictive substance because it contains the chemical nicotine The tobacco plant is believed to have originated in the Western Hemisphere The cultivated species most often grown for North American and European tobacco products is Nicotine Tabacum The leaves of the plant are prepared for smoking chewing or sniffing In addition nicotine tobacco contains over 45 carcinogens and more than 4000 chemicals Prior to European influence in the Americas the Indians of Mexico and Peru used tobacco for the ceremonies medical purposes and to alleviate hunger pains during famines Columbus is credited with introducing tobacco into Europe Tobacco use became widely accepted by the Portuguese Spanish French British and Scandinavians Explorers and sailors who became dependent upon tobacco began planting seeds at their ports of call introducing the product into other parts of Europe and Asia The colonist introduced tobacco on the American continent in the early 1600s It became a major crop and trading commodity of the Jamestown Colony Over the years tobacco has been claimed as a cure for a wide range of ailments with varying forms of administration Its social importance also grew over the years even the point of denoting the modern women during the It was not until the 1960s with the introduction of medical research related to cigarette smoking that the adverse health effects of the tobacco became widely publicized Unfortunately most of the health hazards were only associated with cigarette smoking While the number of cigarette smokers in the United States has continually decreased over recent years the number of smokeless tobacco users has steadily increased Since the 1970s a 15-fold increase in smokeless tobacco has been noted in adolescents 17 to 19 years old This has most likely been related to the
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