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What are some facts about cigarettes?

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Quick Answer

Cigarettes are a well-known form of tobacco, a legal recreational drug commonly regarded as addicting and unhealthy, with a history of usage in the Americas predating the Colonial era. After discovering the Americas, Europeans acclimated to tobacco and adopted Native American smoking habits, such as pipe smoking. They expanded their repertoire to include new methods of smoking tobacco, including paper and maize wraps commonly referred to as cigars and cigarettes.

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Cigarette filters to prevent flakes of tobacco and ash from reaching the mouth first became popular as cork- or cotton-tipped cigarettes, advertised to increase smoking comfort by helping cigarette smokers avoid excessive staining of the teeth and hands. Though sometimes touted as having additional health benefits compared to smoking cigarettes without filters, there is only a dubious connection between filtered cigarettes and such benefits.

Nineteenth-century society considered cigarettes a lower-class form of tobacco consumption until the advent of mass-produced cigarettes by French state enterprises, which worked to introduce the cigarette into cultured society. A "smoke" or "smokes" is a slang term for cigarettes not generally used with other forms of tobacco, including cigars. The primary difference between cigars and cigarettes is that the paper used to wrap cigars is tobacco leaf, while manufacturers wrap cigarettes in papers usually not derived from tobacco leaf.

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