Tobacco leaves are botanically known as Nicotiana tabacum and are members of the eggplant family. However, eating the leaves is difficult on the stomach. Because the leaves contain nicotine, consuming a large number of them may be harmful. There have been several accounts of harvesters becoming ill as a result of leaf exposure. Although smoking dried tobacco leaves is safe, some people become nauseated or vomit when they consume too many fresh leaves.
People have been eating tobacco for medicinal purposes since its introduction into Europe in the 16th century. The leaves were popularized as a food plant during the Industrial Revolution when its high nicotine content made it useful for adding flavor to cigarettes. Modern smokers still use tobacco leaves in this way.
Tobacco plants produce flowers that are white or pink with a center ringed with small black spots. The fruit is a round, red berry about the size of a pea. It contains up to 3% alkaloid nicotine.
The seeds are coated in fiber called mucilage that can irritate the gut if not removed. This can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Eating too much fresh tobacco leaves is not recommended because of this reason.
Smoking raw tobacco leaves is not recommended either because it exposes the smoker to toxic chemicals found in tobacco plants. These include cyanide, arsenic, and caffeine. Smoking also does not fully release the nutrients in the leaves so they do not get used by the body efficiently.
To generate a more nuanced flavor for their meals, chefs have controversially began to utilize tobacco leaves in gastronomy.
Tobacco has been used for smoking and chewing since its discovery in South America. The ancient Inca used it as a source of food and fuel because it grows easily in that environment. They also used it to make pipes for transporting urine away from villages where they didn't want people to smell like alcohol.
In Europe, tobacco was initially cultivated by Indians as a cash crop and later became popular among colonists as a smokeable product. After the American Revolution when tobacco became an important commodity, farmers started growing more efficient varieties of the plant. This led to the creation of many new products that are still sold today. For example, cigarettes display images of movie stars on their packaging to attract young consumers.
The tobacco industry has been accused of using deceptive marketing practices to encourage children to start smoking. There is evidence that shows that seeing celebrities on television or in magazines promoting cigarettes makes it easier for kids to decide to try out smoking.
However, not all children will automatically be influenced by this type of marketing. Studies have shown that children prefer to watch celebrities who model healthy behaviors such as exercising and eating well.
They are not commonly considered or used as smoking tobacco since they are apparently lower in nicotine than tobacco plants bred for smoking, and they are supposed to be one of the original parents of Nicotiana tabacum (the plant species utilized in current tobacco products).
However, flowering tobacco is used as a floral decoration in some countries including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States. It is also popular as a garden plant due to its decorative flowers which appear over several weeks rather than just at once as with most other plants.
Smoking flowering tobacco can lead to certain complications such as bronchitis, cough, fever, inflammation, malaise, nausea, and vomiting. Also, since it contains nicotine, smoking flowering tobacco could be addictive.
Flowering tobacco is available in shops and nurseries where gardening materials are sold. The plants typically measure around 1 meter (3 feet) high and have dark green leaves with red veins. The flowers are usually pink or purple but there are varieties that are white, yellow, or orange.
The first flowering tobacco was brought to Europe from America, probably via Brazil. Today, it is widely cultivated in many parts of the world because of its attractive flowers.
The decorative tobaccos, of which there are about a half-dozen, bear a striking familial resemblance to the Nicotiana tabacum used in cigarettes, but their leaves lack the nicotine content to be appropriate for smoking. The most popular type of ornamental tobacco is called "filbert" after the nut it resembles when ripe. The seeds are edible and have a mild flavor similar to pecan nuts.
Ornamental tobacco is grown as an annual plant for its seed pods which appear in late summer. The seed pods contain from 2 to 4, usually 3, brownish black seeds that are edible when raw but become toxic when heated above 350 degrees F for more than three minutes. Cooking them thoroughly destroys the toxicity. They have a mild peanut-like flavor that some people like but many find too strong for eating alone. Desserts, salads, and sandwiches are just some of the ways that these seeds are used.
As with other types of tobacco, smoking ornamental tobacco can lead to lung cancer. However, the levels of carcinogens in filbert seeds are so low that they cannot cause this disease.
In conclusion, yes, you can smoke ornamental tobacco if you want to. It is not going to kill you any faster than normal tobacco would. However, it does present some risks that must be considered before starting this activity.