Tobacco is a plant product containing mainly nicotine, cellulose, ammonia, and protein. In order for tobacco to be suitable for human consumption, the tobacco leaves are dried and cured after picking them at the plant and separating them from their stems. Various tobacco goods can be manufactured from the processed dried leaves including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco and shisha tobacco. It is predominantly consumed for the stimulant alkaloid nicotine and is associated with many heart- and lung-related diseases including cancer.
Tobacco production is primarily concentrated in regions with a mild and sunny climate, which is suitable for the cultivation of tobacco plants. China, India and Brazil were rated among the leading producers worldwide, followed by the United States. In the U.S., states residing in the Virginia-Carolina tobacco belt are mainly known for their extensive tobacco cultivation.
The consumption of tobacco products is highly regulated in the United States. The legal smoking age differs by state and starts around 18 years. The same goes for the existing smoking bans which are regulated individually by each state. Some states have implemented state-wide smoking bans in all enclosed public areas.