ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Amazing New Facts About Tobacco

Updated on July 18, 2011

Preventable Cause Of Death

According to the Surgeon General, tobacco has a negative effect on virtually every organ of the body. Tobacco use has been classified as the most preventable cause of death in the United States. Worldwide, the use of tobacco products is responsible for about 6 million deaths annually.

We are more than familiar with these types of statistics. The facts have been substantiated through countless studies. However, recent studies show the tobacco plant may have beneficial properties as well. A gel produced from a close relative to the tobacco plant is being heralded as a possible preventative measure for HIV, according to some U.S. researchers.

The University of Louisville's Owensboro Cancer Research Program has published studies suggesting the protein griffithsin, found in the Nicotiana Benthamiana plant, can prevent human immunodeficiency virus from infecting cells of the immune system. The report also states the drug could be manufactured very inexpensively.

North American Tobacco Flower
North American Tobacco Flower

Other Scientific Fronts

And on other scientific fronts, another therapeutic made from a tobacco plant is being touted as a successful combatant against the West Nile Virus infection. Research at Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute has been the first to demonstrate a plant-derived treatment after exposure and infection.

More benefits have also been forth coming from the United Kingdom. A genetically modified strain of tobacco tempering the damaging effects of a toxic pond scum has been developed. The toxin scientifically known as Microcystin-LR (MC-LR) makes water unsafe for drinking, swimming, or fishing. In developing countries it could be a great boon for keeping water sources safe to use.

Biofuels

In yet another study conducted by the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson University in the United States, a way has been found to create biofuel from modified tobacco plant leaves. Based on data collected, tobacco and other plants could be a promising alternative to fossil fuels.

Therefore, we can conclude from these examples, tobacco might become as well known for keeping us healthy as it is for its’ destructive health properties. But where did this versatile plant originate? Sources indicate it was a common plentiful plant native mostly to the Americas.

Up until recent times it was mostly farmed as an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus of Nicotiana. Its’ most common use was as a recreational drug, but it also had some medicinal value. The leaves were cured, dried and stored for 2 to 3 years before their use. It was used as early as the 16th century as a medicine in Europe. The name Nicotiana is derived in honor of Jean Nicot, French ambassador to Portugal.

Tobacco has been recognized as a chief health hazard since the 1950’s. When burned, tobacco produces around 4,000 different compounds. At least 60 of these are cancerous. Nicotine, an addictive colorless oil also produced by the plant, is one of the most powerful poisons known. It is also a major component in insecticides.

Tobacco had been used in the Americas long before European settlers arrived. They took the practice to Europe, where it quickly became popular. In contrast, Native Americans had never used the drug recreationally. Eastern North American tribes carried large amounts of tobacco in pouches to trade. They smoked it in pipes during sacred tribal ceremonies or in sealing a bargain. It was an accepted practice even in childhood, since it was believed tobacco was a gift from their Creator and exhaled tobacco smoke carried their thoughts and prayers to the afterlife.

An amusing legend from the Huron Indians handed down from ancient times refers to the origin of the tobacco plant. It tells of a time when the land was barren and people were starving. According to the myth the Great Spirit sent a woman forth to save them. As the woman traveled around the world, everywhere her right hand touched the land, potatoes grew. And everywhere her left hand touched, corn grew. When the Earth was once again rich and fertile, she sat down and rested. When she stood up again, there grew tobacco. There has to be some kind of moral implication in there somewhere!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      I didn't disagree with that Duck. It was stated it was a major health hazard. A good news journalist only reports facts, not their own biased opinions. That's done in editorials, which this is not.

    • OpinionDuck profile image

      OpinionDuck 

      7 years ago

      JY but the end result is that tobacco as a cigarette is still bad for people to smoke?

      I agree with Pamela

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Yeh, well when you're good, you're good! :-)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      JY, Very interesting information. At least it can be used in some very positive ways.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)