Tobacco (obsolete stuff ) is a vegetable product consisting of the foliage leaves of plants of the genus tobacco ( Nicotiana is produced). Of the approximately 75 species of this genus, only two are important for tobacco production: Virginian tobacco ( Nicotiana tabacum ) and peasant tobacco ( Nicotiana rustica ). The Nicotiana species are mainly native to South America , some also in Australia and North America .
The main components of tobacco are: nicotine (a colorless alkaloid that is liquid at room temperature ), ammonium salts, cellulose and proteins . In small amounts also natural resin , vegetable wax , starch , sugar , tannic acid , malic acid , citric acid , oxalic acid and the inorganic ingredients nitrate, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron and chlorine. In addition, the radioactive element polonium accumulates in the leaves . Although not all substances are known yet, it is estimated that z. For example, a cigarette and its smoke contain around 6,000-12,000 different substances.
Tobacco smoking has been shown to be harmful to health. According to data from the World Health Organization , over 6 million people die each year as a result of tobacco consumption, around 10% of them from secondhand smoke. The economic damage amounts to around $ 950 billion per year. Although economic benefits are occasionally discussed, for example through job creation and the tobacco tax , the negative ecological and social consequences of tobacco growing are considerable overall.
As an American type of plant, tobacco has always been used by many Indian tribes, albeit less as a stimulant, but more as part of spiritual rituals (although this did not apply to the so-called peace pipe of the Prairie Indians, in which sweet grass and sage were burned). It was chewed, sniffed, smoked, eaten, juiced, rubbed on the body, used in eye drops and body wraps. Either concentrated tobacco juice was used by shamans as a psychotropic (intoxicating), very fast-acting substance, as was the case with the Maya and the Caribbean tribes; or the tobacco smoke was swallowed in the stomach in large quantities , as the hallucinogenic alkaloids can evoke visions in this way , as in some rainforest ethnics in Amazonia .
Tribes used tobacco to treat:
- Earache ,
- Snakebite ,
- Cuts and burns,
- Respiratory diseases ,
- Fever ,
- nervous disorders,
- Bladder problems
- Skin disorders.
The Old World learned of the existence of tobacco plants and their use through Columbus' trips to America. The French ambassador to Portugal, Jean Nicot , introduced tobacco as a medicinal plant in France. The generic name of the tobacco plant "Nicotiana" and the most important ingredient nicotine were later named after him. In Europe, tobacco was first grown as a medicinal plant. Tobacco leaves are placed on open wounds and if the patient has stomach problems, the patient should drink tobacco juice. In a herbal book from 1656 you can read about tobacco: “This herb cleanses the palate and head, drives away pain and tiredness, soothes toothache, protects people from the plague, drives away lice, heals grinds, burns, old ulcers, damage and wounds ”.
Around 1650, "The Great Elector" Friedrich Wilhelm settled in his deserted areas as a result of the Thirty Years' War Huguenots who introduced tobacco production in his country. Immigrant Huguenots were already running snuff and chewing tobacco shops in Mannheim as early as 1666 . From 1688, tobacco cultivation spread from the Palatinate and from 1700 from the founding of Friedrichstal in Baden over the Hardt area between Karlsruhe and Mannheim as well as northern Germany.
The worldwide raw tobacco harvest in 120 countries on a cultivated area of 4.1 million hectares was around 7.4 million tons in 2000. The world's largest tobacco grower was China with 1.5 million hectares of cultivation area and a production share of 2.6 million tons. In the FAO statistics , the tobacco acreage is given as 3.4 million hectares in 1961 and 4.0 million hectares in 2010. This means an increase of 17% with an increase in the earth's population of 122%. From a purely statistical point of view, the tobacco-growing area, which was around 11 square meters per person in 1961, fell to 5.8 square meters by 2010, halving it in relation to the world's population.
As a useful plant for tobacco production, only two species are currently (2013) of economic importance, which form numerous varieties and from which many varieties have been bred. The most common type is the Virginian tobacco ( Nicotiana tabacum ), to which almost all varieties grown today belong. After appropriate processing, the tobacco harvest is mainly used for cigarettes. In Germany, the varieties “Friedrichstaler”, “Havanna”, “Geudertheimer” and “Burley” were widespread until the end of the 20th century. These are dark varieties that have been used for cigars and as an admixture to dark cigarettes. Virginia is a current variety that is used as an admixture in light-colored cigarette brands. In Eastern Europe, farmer's tobacco ( Nicotiana rustica ) is also grown and processed into machorka .
The dried, cured and stripped tobacco leaves (smoke herb) can in tobacco pipes or rotated as cigarettes , cigarillos and cigars smoked be. The toxic nicotine is largely burned off; only a small proportion evaporates and is inhaled. Consumption in the form of smokeless tobacco , snus , chewing tobacco and snuff is less common . Consumption through inhalation, sniffing or chewing is also associated with considerable health risks, which can range from cardiovascular problems to circulatory disorders and impotence to various forms of carcinoma. Several of these risks are also associated with secondhand smoke and residue smoking . The consumption of tobacco products significantly increases the risk of nicotine addiction .
The previous use of tobacco broth as an insecticide is now banned because of the risk of nicotine residues in food.
Tobacco cultivation is the agricultural cultivation of tobacco as a useful plant for the production of raw tobacco from the harvested and dried leaves, sometimes also from whole plants. Because of the great adaptability of the subtropical plant, tobacco is grown in the temperate zones from 38 ° south latitude to 56 ° north latitude. The most important cultivation areas are People's Republic of China , North , Central and South America , Southeast Asia, the Middle East / Balkans and Europe .
At the beginning of the 21st century, almost 90% of the cultivation area was in the southern countries. Tobacco cultivation is increasing particularly in the low- and middle-income countries of the tropical and subtropical landscape zones in Africa, Latin America and Asia, the emerging and developing countries of the south. In the period 1961–2002 the area under cultivation in the “First World” fell by 60% and increased by approx. 60% in the same period in the “Third World”. Examples of extreme growth in cultivation are Malawi, which has doubled and Tanzania, which has increased sixfold in 40 years. Tobacco cultivation leads to increased deforestation of forests, humus degradation of the soil and strong economic dependence on the tobacco buyers in the African growing areas .
Tobacco growing in Europe has been promoted by the European Union with subsidies of up to one billion euros annually. Of this, around 150 million euros went to tobacco growing in Germany. As of 2005, 20 percent of EU payments were used specifically to encourage tobacco farmers to switch to other products. In 2010, subsidies for tobacco growing in the EU ceased; Conversion aid could be applied for until 2013.
Cultivation and drying
The tobacco seeds are first sown on a bed of seedlings, the fertile soil of which is supposed to be protected from strong winds but shone on by the sun. Before sowing, the earth is burned off, steamed or chemical aids z. T. sterilized to destroy insects, parasites and weed seeds. The seedling bed is laid out in warm zones outdoors, possibly protected from the cool nighttime by a thin cotton cloth or a thin layer of grass, straw or pine needles. In cool regions, the tobacco plant is grown under a glass or plastic roof. Of the small-grain tobacco seeds with a thousand-grain weight of 0.1 grams, 2 grams of seeds are sufficient for approx. 100 m² of growing bed, which, under favorable conditions, yield 9,000–15,000 seedlings. After 8-10 weeks, a plant size of 10 to 18 cm is reached. This completes the cultivation process and the plants are ready as seedlings for transplanting into the field.
The seedlings are transplanted into the field by planters in some areas, but still by hand in most areas. The seedlings are planted at different distances depending on the variety, the furthest apart Perique (distance between rows 1.5 m, distance between plants in a row 91-107 cm), much closer, e.g. B. Burley in Europe (65 cm; 50 cm). When the flower appears, it is cut off (technical term "beheaded") so that the plant nutrients are only supplied to the leaves. Only plants selected for seed production are spared in order to bloom and produce seeds.
The optimal number of leaves varies: dark tobacco plants that are air- or fire-dried later should have 10–16, Burley or Maryland tobacco plants 16–20, with the lower leaves containing less nicotine. Each plant represents a kind of quality pyramid. The lower leaves (sand leaves) were previously used as wrappers and wrappers for cigars; With the trend towards lighter smoking, the low nicotine levels at this harvest stage also became important in cigarette production. In the upper part of the plant, the main estate and the upper estate, the nicotine content, aroma and fragrance are increasing.
The harvest takes place 70 to 130 days after the field is planted, with the individual leaves usually being harvested depending on their state of maturity. Harvesting begins with the lower leaves after they have turned yellow. Two more leaves are harvested at intervals of five to seven days. The tobacco leaves are harvested early in the morning with as little starch as possible. After that, the leaves should wither for a few hours in order to avoid leaf damage during further processing. Holes in the leaves during processing mean a considerable loss of quality.
After the harvest, the tobacco must be dried. In the widespread natural drying, the tobacco is "threaded" on strings and hung for two to three months in closed or blinded sheds. Mainly Virginia tobacco varieties are treated in hot air drying sheds, in which drying takes only four to eight days.
In some areas the harvest is also carried out as a whole plant harvest ; the entire plant is cut off and hung upside down to dry in roofed rooms. After the leaves have dried out, they are harvested and the stalk used as fuel.
The fermentation of tobacco is understood to be a fermentation process that is intended to bring the dried tobacco leaves into a storable and consumable condition. During fermentation, chemical and enzymatic processes continue, which begin when the leaf is ripe and continue with the drying process. Fermentation is a biotechnical refinement process in which reactions take place that are triggered by the leaf's own ferments, microbiological processes and chemical reactions. The fermentation leads to the breakdown of unwanted proteins and pesticide residues, serves to balance the color and the reduction of nicotine and smoke condensate and promotes the formation of aromas.
The fermentation process is controlled depending on the variety, vintage, harvest category and degree of ripeness of the leaf, drying process and intended use. In the case of tobacco, the fermentation process usually starts automatically when a stack of at least eight cubic meters of raw tobacco is put together. The first measurable sign is the rise in temperature within the stack.
Natural, stick or batch fermentation
Natural fermentation is the oldest fermentation method. The tobacco tufts, as delivered by the planters, are put together into rectangular stacks or sticks with an edge length of three to four meters square at a height of two to two and a half meters. Such a stick usually holds four to six tons of tobacco. In the course of the fermentation, the stick sinks to a height of less than two meters. The tobacco pile begins to warm up after just a few days.
The temperature is checked daily with long tube thermometers. Depending on the fermentation activity, the temperatures often rise very quickly to 40 to 55 ° C. The later use determines how high the temperatures in the hive can rise. Once the desired temperature has been reached, the stack is moved in such a way that the previously outer sheets come to the center of the stack and vice versa. The number of envelopes or repeated fermentation depends largely on the subsequent processing direction. As a rule, the groups are turned over a maximum of three to four times, while the sand leaf and main material undergo up to five to six conversions in some years, which can mean a fermentation period of three to five months.
After the fermentation and fermentation process, the tobacco is placed on so-called cooling benches in spring. The tobacco cools down and loses moisture. The tobacco also undergoes a so-called post-ripening on the cooling benches and can only be packaged after it has cooled down completely and has a humidity of 16 to 18%. During natural fermentation, tobacco not only loses moisture, but also substance. This so-called decalo is 16 to 25% in natural fermentation, depending on the proportion of harvest and the variety.
This type of fermentation works under controlled climate conditions with artificial heating and air humidification. While with natural fermentation the tobacco is put together into sticks in large rooms, with chamber fermentation the tobacco is placed on pallets in climatic chambers. By creating favorable environmental conditions (heat and moisture), the tobacco leaf is able to warm up more quickly and thus ferment. Often, tobaccos that have little fermentation activity get into the chamber, that is, these tobaccos are given the necessary boost for fermentation in the chamber. Tobacco that only heats up once or twice in stick fermentation are fermented in the chamber.
Machine fermentation or redrying process
The redrying process is actually more a conditioning (preservation) and color fixation of the tobacco. This type of fermentation is mainly used for light-colored, hot-air-dried virgin tobacco and air-dried burley tobacco. Machine fermentation is also often used for the post-treatment of tobacco from natural and chamber fermentation.
The fermentation machines consist of a tunnel-like housing, which is usually made of an iron construction that is insulated against heat loss. These machines are usually divided into four sections: the heating and drying zone, the cooling zone, as well as the humidifying zone and the drain. Since a certain passage area is necessary for the heating and drying zone in particular, the length of the fermentation machine varies between 30 and 80 m with a width of 2 to 3 m. Depending on the length and intensity, the lead time is one to two hours. The tobaccos are either hung in docks or tufts on bars or sent through the machine as loose sheets on an endless grate.
In the machine, the processing process takes place in that the tobacco is first dried at temperatures of 10 to 100 ° C to a water content of less than 10%. The subsequent cooling to approx. 20 ° C is followed by a moistening zone in which the tobacco is moistened with water vapor so that it can be processed after it has run out. The rate of degradation of undesirable substances is lower than with the other two processes, but it is completely sufficient for chlorophyll larms, especially virgin and burley tobacco, depending on the use.
Until the last century, fermented tobacco leaves were mainly used to braid strands from which chewing portions could be cut off with a knife. Today chewing tobacco is made almost exclusively by spinning the sautéed tobacco leaves that are pressed into molds.
A distinction is made between black snuff (Copenhagen, Great Cardinal, Dutch, Paris, Strasbourg, Schmalzler, Fresco), green snuff (health tobacco, marino, eye tobacco, kownoer, Tilsiter, Russian) and fragrant snuff (rose tobacco, violet tobacco, Parisians).
Smoking tobacco (pipe)
For smoking tobacco (mainly Virginia, Burley, Kentucky and Oriental tobacco), the tobacco leaves are mechanically moistened, loosened, mixed and provided with 15 to 50% sauce (mainly made of sugar, plus plasticizers, glycerine or glycol ) in sauce drums , and then cut by machine : Fine cut up to 1.5 mm; Krüll incision 1.5–3 mm; Coarse cut more than 3 mm.
The cigar consists of the moistened, machine-stripped insert (only cheap cigars also contain fibrous ribs), the hand-stripped binder and a strong, silky-to-the-touch wrapper with a pleasant smell and good burning properties. Using the binder and the insert, a roll is rolled (glued when stumped), pressed into the desired shape, pre-dried and the helically applied cover sheet is provided with a roller (or by machine). Cigars are considered to be relatively healthier than cigarettes, as they contain fewer carcinogenic carbon dioxide products (from cyclic hydrocarbons). Since the cigar smoke mainly contains basic components (in contrast to the acidic smoke of the cigarette because of the sugar remaining in the cigarette tobacco), it hardly causes catarrh of the throat .
To manufacture cigarettes, the tobacco (Orient in air conditioning, Virginia, Burley and dark tobacco by steaming, since the middle of the 20th century in a vacuum process) are moistened and stripped. The ribs are steamed, rolled, sauced, cut and roasted.
Diseases and pests in tobacco growing
Tobacco is a plant of the subtropics with a high need for warmth and low tolerance to cold. Growth is inhibited below 15 ° C, leaves are damaged at 0 ° C, and plants die at −3 ° C. In order to grow well, the tobacco plant needs not only warmth but also enough moisture, but these are also the best conditions for the common diseases of tobacco. A light wind prevents the fungal attack, strong wind and hail destroy the leaves and make them unusable for processing.
The tobacco blue mold ( Peronospora tabacina ) is the most dangerous and non worldwide disease. It first appeared in Europe in 1960 and destroyed a large part of the harvest that year. On the underside of the leaf, the grayish-bluish coating that is typical of downy mildew fungi forms, holes appear in the leaves that prevent them from being used as raw materials for cigars and cigarettes. This disease can only be combated through the prophylactic use of fungicides and a crop rotation in which tobacco is grown again on the same area after three years at the earliest.
Other fungal diseases are the root tan ( Thielaviopsis basicola ) and sclerotinia disease ( Sclerotinia sclerotiorum ), the wildfire bacterial disease ( Pseudomonas tabaci ) and various viral diseases, especially tobacco mosaic virus ( Tabacco mosaic virus ).
A common weed in European tobacco cultivation is the field horsetail ( Equisetum arvense ), which is difficult to control ; the parasite small summer root ( Orobanche minor ) damages the plants by depriving them of important nutrients.
Tobacco pests are grubs (larvae of the May and June beetles ; Melolontha melolontha ), wireworms ( Agriotes spp.), Snails ( Deroceras sp.), Stem elbows ( Ditylenchus dipsaci ) and the locust ( Locusta migratoria ).
While tobacco production in Europe rarely suffers major qualitative and quantitative losses due to plant diseases or pests (exception 1960), extreme weather conditions can play a greater role. Damage to the tobacco leaves from hailstorms in particular can lead to total loss. Tobacco plantations are affected by hail almost every year. The important quality feature in tobacco production, namely that large, undamaged tobacco leaves with a fine leaf tissue can be achieved, is prevented by hail.
Hail shooting with silver iodide or spraying it from airplanes is only known from Italy and Eastern Europe in large contiguous cultivation areas, but its effect is controversial. Since most of the growers in the specialized commercial tobacco growing are dependent on the proceeds from the tobacco cultivation and strong hailstorms can lead to the ruin of the farms, hail insurance contracts are offered by insurance companies in the various growing areas. However, at 9 to 14% of the insurance value, the premiums are relatively high, which is why many growers do not take out insurance.
World harvest and trade in raw tobacco
In 2012, the global raw tobacco harvest in 129 states on a cultivated area of 4.3 million hectares was around 7.5 million tons. The People's Republic of China was the world's largest tobacco grower with 1.5 million hectares of cultivation area and a production share of 3.2 million tons.
|State / association of states||Cultivation area in
thousands of hectares
thousands of tons
|People's Republic of China||1,480||3,200|
|Tobacco trade in 2004|
millions of US dollars
millions of US dollars
|Sum of all countries listed||15,141||14,815|
United States of America
In what is now the United States , tobacco was harvested long before the arrival of Europeans by Indians who used it as a stimulant, as a spiritual drug, and for medicinal purposes. The Spaniards quickly adopted the use as a luxury food and introduced tobacco in Europe in 1518. When the first English settlers landed in the colony of Virginia in 1607, tobacco was already known and in great demand in England. Instead of the wild tobacco plants used by the Indians, a milder type of tobacco that the Englishman John Rolfe had illegally imported from Spanish America around 1612 prevailed in the tobacco fields of the white settlers . Tobacco became Virginia's main export product in the 17th century. By 1619, 10 tons of tobacco were shipped to Europe via Jamestown , and by 1639 it was 750 tons. Because of its saleability, tobacco was considered so valuable that it was widely accepted as a means of payment in Virginia.
Initially, the settlers had only grown tobacco as a lucrative part-time source of income alongside agriculture, but soon they established plantations whose high labor demand was initially met primarily by debt servants. After many debt servants took part in Bacon's rebellion in 1676 , the planters replaced their labor with slaves . William Fitzhugh (1741-1809) is considered to be the first tobacco grower in Virginia who managed his plantation with slaves . The planters in Virginia were not the first slave owners in what would later become the United States, but they were the first whose demand for cheap labor was so great that they began importing slaves directly from Africa, thus participating in the Atlantic triangle trade. They were also the first to use their slaves in the infamous column system. The work on the tobacco plantations was extraordinarily hard and lasted for most of the year, but unlike cotton production in the Deep South , it involved many operations that required special knowledge and experience from the slaves. Barrels, barns and trolleys were also required for tobacco production, so that slaves could e.g. B. could qualify as a cooper , carpenter or wagon builder and thus gained the opportunity to rise in the hierarchy of the plantation at least to a modest extent.
The American states that have the largest quantities of tobacco grown today are North Carolina , Kentucky , Tennessee , Virginia , South Carolina, and Georgia . Tobacco is also produced to a lesser extent in Ohio , Indiana , Florida , Maryland , Pennsylvania , Missouri , West Virginia, and Alabama . In 2005, the US produced 0.47 million tons of tobacco. With 7% of the world's tobacco produced, the United States - after the People's Republic of China, India and Brazil - was the fourth largest tobacco producer in the world. At the same time, 0.43 million tons of tobacco were consumed in the USA; this corresponds to 6.2% of tobacco production worldwide (for comparison: the share of the US population in the world population is approx. 4.6%). After the People's Republic of China, the European Union and Russia, the USA was the fifth largest tobacco consumer in the world. The largest American company that produces tobacco products for the American market is Philip Morris USA , a subsidiary of the Altria Group , which also includes Philip Morris International , which manufactures for the international market . Other major American manufacturers of tobacco products include Reynolds American , the Lorillard Tobacco Company, and the Liggett Group . The consumption of smokeless tobacco is also widespread in the USA , the largest manufacturer of which is the US Smokeless Tobacco Company based in Stamford , Connecticut .
→ Main article: Tobacco cultivation in Germany
Tobacco cultivation in Germany was only of minor importance in the world market. Even though it provided a livelihood for up to 200,000 farming families in the 20th century, at most 1% of world cultivation was of German origin. Until the late 1960s, tobacco growing for self-sufficiency was also quite common in Germany. In Germany (2011) tobacco is only grown on a few areas in Baden between Mannheim and Lahr, in central Saxony and in the southern Palatinate . In addition, efforts are being made to make it easier for the remaining tobacco growers to switch to alternative crops.
Ecological and social consequences of tobacco growing
Consideration of the tobacco supply chain
The cultivation and drying of tobacco as well as the manufacture, distribution, consumption and disposal of cigarettes involve a considerable use of resources in the global tobacco supply chain ; the result is the production of waste and emissions. As a result, the already heavily used natural resources of the planet and its fragile ecosystems are put under further pressure by tobacco and the livelihoods and future development of social associations around the world are threatened. A study by the World Trade Organization in 2018 showed that the ecological footprint of tobacco taken together is comparable to that of countries as a whole and that its production is often more environmentally harmful than that of essential goods such as food crops. Tobacco cultivation is associated with poverty, indebtedness, the economic dependence of small farmers on plantation owners and large corporations as well as with child labor and environmental destruction in most countries in the “South”. In addition, tobacco growing blocks areas that could be used for the production of food. For this reason and because of the health hazards of smoking, efforts are being made worldwide to develop alternatives to tobacco cultivation.
Dependencies on tobacco growing due to monocultures
In some of the poorer countries of the world, the tobacco industry is an economic factor that is difficult to replace. For example, in 2010 the International Tobacco Growers Association (a front organization for leading tobacco companies) warned : “After implementation of the WHO guidelines, some of the poorest countries in Africa, are dependent on tobacco cultivation, are affected by serious social and economic crises and job losses to an unprecedented extent. In Malawi alone , 70 percent of workers are directly or indirectly employed in tobacco cultivation. They have no alternative and the WHO cannot offer them one. ”Malawi ranks 173rd in the country ranking in the report on human development , which is published every year by the UN world development program UNDP (2015).
In contrast, the organization Unfairtobacco argues that it is relatively easy to create new job opportunities for workers in tobacco plantations in poorer and emerging countries, for example with the cultivation of cotton or cassava .
According to a media report, tobacco would be “one of the greediest - and most erosion-intensive - crops in terms of nutrient and water consumption”. According to a study, to produce one ton of raw tobacco, more water is required ("twice as much") than with maize, the plants deprive the soil of a multiple of the nutrients potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen compared to maize or rice. The soil would erode faster than with any other crop, for example "more than five times as quickly as when growing cotton, for example".
According to a report by Human Rights Watch , children aged 12 and over are allowed to work in the tobacco harvest in the United States . There you would be exposed to nicotine (through skin contact) and toxic pesticides. 90 percent of the total US tobacco production comes from North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, in a 138-page report "Tobacco's Hidden Children: Hazardous Child Labor in US Tobacco Farming" documents the conditions under which children work.
In Malawi, around 80,000 minors would regularly be involved in the harvest and processing of raw tobacco. Many would suffer from headache, stomach ache, muscle weakness and a painful cough, which would be "typical symptoms of nicotine poisoning". Working without protective clothing, a child would absorb up to 54 milligrams of nicotine through the skin; "As much as if it had smoked 50 cigarettes".
History of consumption
→ Main article: History of tobacco use
The history of tobacco consumption in Europe dates back to 1492 when Christopher Columbus discovered America. The inhabitants living there had already known tobacco smoking. Over the years, consumption has changed a lot. There are different forms of consumption, brands, so that a separate market branch even emerged. As it has spread, so has criticism that many countries legally prohibit smoking in various places.
- Tobacco Products Regulation
- Tobacco tax
- smoking ban
- Tobacco smoke
- Third-hand smoke
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