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Encyclopedia > Cigarettes
A cigarette will burn to ash on one end.

A cigarette is a small paper-wrapped cylinder (generally less than 10cm in length and 10mm in diameter) of cured and shredded or cut tobacco leaves which is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder for the purpose of allowing inhalation of its smoke from the other end, inserted in the mouth. The term, as commonly used, typically refers to a tobacco cigarette, but can apply to similar devices containing other herbs, such as cannabis (aka marijuana) (see below).

A cigarette is distinguished from a cigar by its smaller size, use of processed leaf, and paper wrapping; cigars are typically composed entirely of whole leaf tobacco. A small, cigarette-sized cigar is called a cigarillo. Cigarettes were largely unknown in the English-speaking world before the Crimean War.


Contents of a cigarette

The leaves of the tobacco plant are first dried to make cigarettes, and then treated with a variety of chemicals. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic. Some of these include:

The amount of these ingredients can vary widely from one brand or type of cigarette to the next. This is especially true of the tar and nicotine content, the range of which is so extreme that an entire carton of some brands of cigarettes (e.g., Carlton) might contain less tar and/or nicotine than a single cigarette of a "full flavor" brand.

Cigarettes and cancer

Cigarette smoking is one of the major causes of lung cancer, a major cause of death amongst smokers. Certain other lung disorders, most notably emphysema, are also blamed on cigarette smoking. The tobacco industry tried for many years to deny this link, and to oppose medical research that attempted to prove the link.


Approximately 5.5 trillion cigarettes are produced globally each year by the tobacco industry, smoked by over 1.1 billion people.

Smoking Prevalence by Gender
Africa 29 4
Americas 35 22
Eastern Mediterranean 35 4
Europe 46 26
South_East Asia 44 4
Western Pacific 60 8
(2000, World Health Organization estimates)
The front and back of a UK cigarette packet (2003)

Health effects

Tobacco use, notably in cigarettes, is one of the major causes of preventable death. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and underweight infants. Smoking increases the chance of heart attacks and a variety of cancers. It also accelerates the aging process, and may cause premature aging. Therefore, smokers age faster than non-smokers.

Smoking increases the metabolic rate, and thus can slightly reduce a smoker's weight.

Nicotine is quite an effective appetite suppressant, and former smokers often develop junk food habits as they attempt to satisfy their tobacco cravings with snacks. One-third of those who stop smoking experience a weight gain.

Cigarette manufacturers


Also see http://www.tobacco.org, a tobacco information site


(links often show other meanings of the name, in many cases including that which the brand is named after)

Belomorkanal cigarettes
Belomorkanal cigarettes

Online Cigarette Stores

In an effort to avoid paying duty or taxes, many online stores have appeared that offer out of country cigarettes to avoid taxes in the jurisdiction where the smoker resides.

Online cigarette stores are big business today, but face serious legal competition from the brand manufacturers who do not want to see their profits diminished, as the quality of these cigarettes is just as high but sold at much lower cost for third world countries.

  Results from FactBites:
Chinese e-cigarette helps you stub out the habit | Lifestyle | Living | Reuters (500 words)
A Chinese company marketing the world's first "electronic" cigarette hopes to double sales this year as it expands overseas and as some of China's legions of smokers try to quit.
Golden Dragon Group Ltd's Ruyan cigarettes are battery-powered, cigarette-shaped devices that deliver nicotine to inhalers in a bid to emulate actual smoking.
The cigarettes sell for around 1,600 yuan ($208) apiece and are already available in China, Israel, Turkey, and a number of European countries, but not yet the United States.
Cigarette Smoking and Cardiovascular Diseases (610 words)
Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States.
Cigarette and tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes are the six major independent risk factors for coronary heart disease that you can modify or control.
Cigarette smoking is so widespread and significant as a risk factor that the Surgeon General has called it "the leading preventable cause of disease and deaths in the United States."
  More results at FactBites »



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