Oddly, congress recently decided that tobacco is Not a Drug. The logic goes something like this: If tobacco is a drug, then the FDA would obviously have control over it. If the FDA could control it, they would have to illegalize it, since it kills people. It tobacco were illegalized, then tons of farmers and rich people would have their livelyhoods taken from them, and the congress people would lose tons in campaign donations. So, it was decided that it would be best if tobacco were simply Not a Drug.

natural tobacco:cigarette tobacco::hemp:cultivated marijuana

the natural tobacco plant is about as harmless as any normal non-woody plant if combusted and inhaled. there are many differences between the strains of natural tobacco and what you find in your cigarette, much like there are many differences between a natural hemp plant and one grown to maximize thc content.

the cigarette tobacco you smoke every day has about 1000 years of selective cultivation (breeding) behind it. this kind of tobacco is bred to contain much much more nicotine than natural tobacco or even tobacco used by the native tribes that inhabited the americas before the white man showed up. the same thing goes for hemp, except hemp might have close to 4000 years of selective cultivation.

tobacco isn't a bad thing, per se. you can smoke natural tobacco or tobacco bred to contain more nicotine with very minor health problems (compared to regular cigarette tobacco). the problem with smoking cigarettes provided by Big Tobacco is that all the tobacco has gone through massive hereditary engineering.

there isn't such a thing as "tobacco is bad" or "tobacco is good". tobacco is both bad and good: it all depends on how much you know. go educate yourself.

tobacco

A plant, once in great estimation as a medicine:
        Tobacco hic
Will make you well if you be sick.
        Tobacco hic
If you be well will make you sick.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

To*bac"co (?), n. [Sp. tabaco, fr. the Indian tabaco the tube or pipe in which the Indians or Caribbees smoked this plant. Some derive the word from Tabaco, a province of Yucatan, where it was said to be first found by the Spaniards; others from the island of Tobago, one of the Caribbees. But these derivations are very doubtful.]

1. Bot.

An American plant (Nicotiana Tabacum) of the Nightshade family, much used for smoking and chewing, and as snuff. As a medicine, it is narcotic, emetic, and cathartic. Tobacco has a strong, peculiar smell, and an acrid taste.

⇒ The name is extended to other species of the genus, and to some unrelated plants, as Indian tobacco (Nicotiana rustica, and also Lobelia inflata), mountain tobacco (Arnica montana), and Shiraz tobacco (Nicotiana Persica).

2.

The leaves of the plant prepared for smoking, chewing, etc., by being dried, cured, and manufactured in various ways.

Tobacco box Zool., the common American skate. -- Tobacco camphor. Chem. See Nicotianine. -- Tobacco man, a tobacconist. [R.] -- Tobacco pipe. (a) A pipe used for smoking, made of baked clay, wood, or other material. (b) Bot. Same as Indian pipe, under Indian. -- Tobacco-pipe clay Min., a species of clay used in making tobacco pipes; -- called also cimolite. -- Tobacco-pipe fish. Zool. See Pipemouth. -- Tobacco stopper, a small plug for pressing down the tobacco in a pipe as it is smoked. -- Tobacco worm Zool., the larva of a large hawk moth (Sphinx, ∨ Phlegethontius, Carolina). It is dark green, with seven oblique white stripes bordered above with dark brown on each side of the body. It feeds upon the leaves of tobacco and tomato plants, and is often very injurious to the tobacco crop. See Illust. of Hawk moth.

 

© Webster 1913.

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