A cigarette (French "small cigar", from cigar + -ette) is a product consumed through smoking and manufactured out of cured and finely cut tobacco leaves and reconstituted tobacco, often combined with other additives, then rolled or stuffed into a paper-wrapped cylinder (generally less than 120 mm in length and 10 mm in diameter). The cigarette is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder for the purpose of inhalation of its smoke from the other (usually filtered) end, which is inserted in the mouth. They are sometimes smoked with a cigarette holder. The term cigarette, as commonly used, refers to a tobacco cigarette but can apply to similar devices containing other herbs, such as cannabis.
Nicotine, the primary psychoactive chemical in tobacco, is addictive. Cigarette use has also been shown to cause multiple types of cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease, circulatory disease, birth defects (which include mental and physical disability) and emphysema. On average, each cigarette smoked shortens lifespan by 11 minutes.
Rates of cigarette smoking vary widely. While rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in the developed world, they continue to rise in the undeveloped world.
A cigarette is distinguished from a cigar by its smaller size, use of processed leaf, and white paper wrapping. Cigars are typically composed entirely of whole-leaf tobacco.
Cigarettes are the most frequent source of fires in private homes and European Union wishes to ban in 2011 cigarettes that are not fire-safe.
The earliest forms of cigarettes have been attested in Central America around the 9th century in the form of reeds and smoking tubes. The Maya, and later the Aztecs, smoked tobacco and various psychoactive drugs in religious rituals and frequently depicted priests and deities smoking on pottery and temple engravings. The cigarette, and the cigar, were the most common method of smoking in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America until recent times.
Cigarettes were largely unknown in the English-speaking world before the Crimean War, when British soldiers began emulating their Ottoman Turkish comrades, who resorted to rolling their tobacco with newsprint.
The cigarette was named some time in the 18th century: beggars in Seville began to pick from the ground the cigar ends left by the señoritos ("rich, young men"), wrapped the tobacco remains with paper and smoked them. The first attested use in this habit can be seen in three 18th-century paintings by Francisco de Goya: La cometa (The Kite), La merienda en el Manzanares (Picnic by the River Manzanares) and El juego de la pelota a pala (The Ball and Paddle Game).
The use of tobacco in cigarette form became increasingly popular during and after the Crimean War. This was helped by the development of tobaccos that are suitable for cigarette use. During World War I and World War II, cigarettes were rationed to soldiers. During the second half of the 20th century, the adverse health effects of cigarettes started to become widely known and text-only health warnings became commonplace on cigarette packets. The United States and The United Kingdom have not yet implemented graphical cigarette warning labels, which is considered a more effective method to communicate to the public the dangers of cigarette smoking. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, however, have both textual warnings and graphic visual images displaying, among other things, the damaging effects tobacco use has on the human body.
The cigarette has evolved much since its conception; for example, the thin bands that travel transverse to the "axis of smoking" (thus forming circles along the length of the cigarette) are alternate sections of thin and thick paper to facilitate effective burning when being drawn, and retard burning when at rest. Synthetic particulate filters remove some of the tar before it reaches the smoker.
Commercially manufactured cigarettes are seemingly simple objects consisting mainly of a tobacco blend, paper, PVA glue to bond the outer layer of paper together, and often also a cellulose acetate–based filter. While the assembly of cigarettes is straightforward, much focus is given to the creation of each of the components, in particular the tobacco blend, which may contain over 100 ingredients, many of them flavourants for the tobacco. A key ingredient that makes cigarettes more addictive is the inclusion of reconstituted tobacco, which has additives to make nicotine more volatile as the cigarette burns.
According to Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney, burning agents in cigarette paper are responsible of fires and reducing them would be a simple and effective means of dramatically reducing the ignition propensity of cigarettes. Since 1980s Philipp Morris and RJ Reynolds developped fire-safe cigarettes but they didn't market them. Self-extinguising cigarettes are better value for smokers because a cigarette that burns down to the filter has to be replaced -- whereas one that goes out on its own can always be relit.
The burn rate of cigarette paper is regulated through the application of different forms of microcrystalline cellulose to the paper. Cigarette paper has been specially engineered by creating bands of different porosity to create "fire-safe" cigarettes. These cigarettes have a reduced idle burning speed which allows them to self-extinguish. This fire-safe paper is manufactured by mechanically altering the setting of the paper slurry.
New York was the first U.S. state to mandate that all cigarettes manufactured or sold within the state comply with a fire-safe standard. Canada has passed a similar nation-wide mandate based on the same standard. Many other U.S. states have passed or are considering fire-safe mandates.
European union wishes to ban in 2011 cigarettes that are not fire-safe. According to a study made by European Union in 16 European countries, 11000 fires were due to cigarettes between 2005 and 2007. They caused 520 deaths and 1600 people injured
The process of blending, like the blending of scotch and cognac, gives the end product a consistent taste from batches of tobacco grown in different areas of a country that may change in flavour profile from year to year due to different environmental conditions.
Modern cigarettes produced after the 1950s, although composed mainly of shredded tobacco leaf, use a significant quantity of tobacco processing by-products in the blend. Each cigarette's tobacco blend is made mainly from the leaves of flue-cured brightleaf, burley tobacco, and oriental tobacco. These leaves are selected, processed, and aged prior to blending and filling. The processing of brightleaf and burley tobaccos for tobacco leaf "strips" produces several by-products such as leaf stems, tobacco dust, and tobacco leaf pieces ("small laminate"). To improve the economics of producing cigarettes, these by-products are processed separately into forms where they can then be possibly added back into the cigarette blend without an apparent or marked change in the cigarette's quality. The most common tobacco by-products include:
Whole tobacco can also be processed into a product called expanded tobacco. The tobacco is "puffed", or expanded, by saturating it with supercritical carbon dioxide and heating the CO2 saturated tobacco to quickly evaporate the CO2. This quick change of physical state by the CO2 causes the tobacco to expand in a similar fashion as polystyrene foam. This is used to produce light cigarettes ("Lights") by reducing the density of the tobacco and thus maintain the size of a cigarette while reducing the amount of tobacco used in each cigarette.
A recipe-specified combination of brightleaf, burley-leaf and oriental-leaf tobacco will be mixed with humectants such as propylene glycol or glycerol, as well as flavouring products and enhancers such as cocoa, licorice, tobacco extracts, and various sugars, which are known collectively as "casings". The leaf tobacco will then be shredded, along with a specified amount of small laminate, expanded tobacco, BL, RL, ES and IS. A perfume-like flavour/fragrance, called the "topping" or "toppings", which is most often formulated by flavor companies, will then be blended into the tobacco mixture to improve the consistency in flavour and taste of the cigarettes associated with a certain brand name. As well, they replace lost flavours due to the repeated wetting and drying used in processing the tobacco. Finally the tobacco mixture will be filled into cigarettes tubes and packaged.
In recent years, the manufacturers' pursuit of maximum profits has led to the practice of using not just the leaves, but also recycled tobacco offal and the plant stem. The stem is first crushed and cut to resemble the leaf before being merged or blended into the cut leaf.
Many people in the UK now illegally import cigarettes due to the increasing tax. A packet is less than half the price in all other countries, making illegal importers a large profit, while still providing very cheap cigarettes. The average price for 20 legal cigarettes is £5.20, while imported packs are sold for less than £3; this is due to the extreme taxation.
Before the Second World War many manufacturers gave away collectible cards, one in each packet of cigarettes. This practice was discontinued to save paper during the war and was never generally reintroduced, though for a number of years Natural American Spirit cigarettes included "vignette" cards depicting endangered animals and American historical events; this series was discontinued in 2003. On April 1, 1970 President Richard Nixon signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, banning cigarette advertisements on television in the United States starting on January 2, 1971. However, some tobacco companies attempted to circumvent the ban by marketing new brands of cigarettes as "little cigars"; examples included Tijuana Smalls, which came out almost immediately after the ban took effect, and Backwoods Smokes, which reached the market in the winter of 1973–1974 and whose ads used the slogan, "How can anything that looks so wild taste so mild."
Beginning on April 1, 1998, the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to people under 18 has been prohibited by law in all fifty states of the United States. The legal age of purchase has been additionally raised to 19 in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, Utah, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Onondaga Counties in New York. The intended effect of this is to prevent upper class high school students from purchasing cigarettes for their younger peers. Legislation was pending as of 2004 in some other states. In Massachusetts and Virginia, parents and guardians are allowed to give cigarettes to minors, but sales to minors are prohibited.
Similar laws exist in many other countries. In Canada, most of the provinces require smokers to be 19 years of age to purchase cigarettes (except for Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta, where the age is 18). However, the minimum age only concerns the purchase of tobacco, not use. Alberta, however, does have a law which prohibits the possession or use of tobacco products by all persons under 18, punishable by a $100 fine. Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan have a nationwide ban on the selling of all tobacco products to people under the age of 18.
Since 1 October 2007, it has been illegal for retailers to sell tobacco in all forms to people under the age of 18 in three of the UK's four constituent countries (England, Wales and Scotland) (rising from 16). It is also illegal to sell lighters, rolling papers and all other tobacco-associated items to people under 18. It is not illegal for people under 18 to buy or smoke tobacco, just as it was not previously for people under 16; it is only illegal for the said retailer to sell the item. The age increase from 16 to 18 will be in force in Northern Ireland starting 1 September 2008. In the Republic of Ireland, bans on the sale of the smaller ten-packs and confectionery that resembles tobacco products came into force on May 31, 2007 in a bid to cut underaged smoking. The UK Department of Health plans to follow suit with the ten-pack ban.
Most countries in the world have a legal smoking age of 18. Five exceptions are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, and the Netherlands, where the age is 16. Since January 1, 2007, all cigarette machines in public places in Germany must attempt to verify a customer's age by requiring the insertion of a debit card. Turkey, which has one of the highest percentage of smokers in its population, has a legal age of 18. Another curiosity is Japan, one of the highest tobacco-consuming nations, which requires purchasers to be 20 years of age (suffrage in Japan is 20 years old).. Beginning in July 2008, Japan will enforce this age limit at cigarette vending machines through use of the taspo smart card. In other countries, such as Egypt, it is legal to use and purchase tobacco products regardless of age. Germany raised the purchase age from 16 to 18 on the 1 September 2007.
Some police departments in the United States occasionally send an underaged teenager into a store where cigarettes are sold, and have the teen attempt to purchase cigarettes, with their own or no ID. If the vendor then completes the sale, the store is issued a fine. Similar enforcement practices are regularly performed by Trading Standards Officers in the UK and the Gardaí Siochana, the police force of the Republic of Ireland.
Approximately 5.5 trillion cigarettes are produced globally each year and are smoked by over 1.1 billion people or greater than one-sixth of the world population. While smoking rates have leveled off or declined in developed nations, they continue to rise in developing parts of the world. Smoking rates in the United States have dropped by half from 1965 to 2006 falling from 42% to 20.8% of adults. In the developing world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year.
| Cigarettes consumed|
| Cigarettes consumed|
Some countries require cigarette packs to contain warnings about health. The United States was one of the first. Other countries include most of Europe, Australia and in Asia (e.g. Hong Kong)
The common name the remains of a cigarette after smoking is a "cigarette butt" or simply "butt." It comprises about 30% of the cigarette's original length. The butt consists of a tissue tube which holds a filter and some remains of tobacco mixed with ash. In extreme cases the filter is slightly burned. Cigarette butts are one source of tobacco for minors and low income people. The shape of a butt hinges on the manner of stubbing out. The intensely pressed butt possesses irregular shape at the end and wrinkled tissue. Cigarette butts may be a subject of studies over popularity of brands producing cigarettes.
Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate and is biodegradable, however depending on environmental conditions it can be resistant to degradation. Accordingly, the duration of the degradation process is cited as taking as little as 1 month to 3 years to as long as 10-15 years.
This variance in rate and resistance to biodegradation in many conditions is a factor in littering and environmental damage. It is estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts become litter every year. In the 2006 International Coastal Cleanup, cigarettes and cigarette butts constituted 24.7% of the total collected garbage, over twice as much as any other category.
Cigarette butts contain the chemicals filtered from cigarettes and can leach into waterways and water supplies.
Cellulose acetate and carbon particles breathed in from cigarette filters is suspected of causing lung damage.
In some jurisdictions, such as Saskatchewan, Canada, the retail store display of cigarettes is completely prohibited if persons under the legal age of consumption have access to the premises