Chewing tobacco

Chewing tobacco is a type of smokeless tobacco product consumed by placing a portion of the tobacco between the cheek and gum or upper lip teeth and chewing. Unlike dipping tobacco, it is not ground and must be manually crushed with the teeth to release flavor and nicotine. Unwanted juices are then expectorated (spat). Chewing tobacco is typically manufactured as several varieties of product most often as loose leaf (or scrap), pellets (tobacco "bites" or "bits"), and "plug" (a form of loose leaf tobacco condensed with a binding sweetener). Nearly all modern chewing tobaccos are produced via a process of leaf curing, cutting, fermentation and processing or sweetening. Historically, many American chewing tobacco brands (which were popular during the American Civil War era) were made with cigar clippings. Chewing is one of the oldest methods of consuming tobacco. Native Americans in both North and South America chewed the leaves of the plant, frequently mixed with the mineral lime. Chewing tobacco was the most prevalent form of tobacco use in the United States until it was overtaken by cigarette smoking in the early 20th century. Chewing is one of the oldest ways of consuming tobacco leaves. Native Americans in both North and South America chewed the leaves of the plant, frequently mixed with the mineral lime.[citation needed] In Alaska, the use of "Punk Ash" has been used with chewing tobacco for well over 100 years. The fungus "Phillinus Igniarius", found on the paper birch trees, was burned down to an ash and mixed with the tobacco. The Punk Ash changed the Ph or Alkalinity of the tobacco so that the nicotine could be more readily absorbed into the bloodstream. This was, in essence, freebasing nicotine, giving the user an immediate "high" comparable to the first time use one gets from chewing tobacco, every time. The southern United States was distinctive for its production of tobacco, which earned premium prices from around the world. Most farmers grew a little for their own use, or traded with neighbors who grew it. Commercial sales became important in the late 19th century as major tobacco companies rose in the South, becoming one of the largest employers in cities like Winston-Salem, NC, Durham, NC and Richmond, VA. Southerners dominated the tobacco industry in the United States; even a concern as large as the Helm Tobacco Company, headquartered in New Jersey, was headed by former Confederate officer George Washington Helme. In 1938 R.J. Reynolds marketed eighty-four brands of chewing tobacco, twelve brands of smoking tobacco, and the top-selling Camel brand of cigarettes. Reynolds sold large quantities of chewing tobacco, though that market peaked about 1910. A historian of t

e American South in the late 1860s reported on typical usage in the region where it was grown, paying close attention to class and gender: The chewing of tobacco was well-nigh universal. This habit had been widespread among the agricultural population of America both North and South before the war. Soldiers had found the quid a solace in the field and continued to revolve it in their mouths upon returning to their homes. Out of doors where his life was principally led the chewer spat upon his lands without offence to other men, and his homes and public buildings were supplied with spittoons. Brown and yellow parabolas were projected to right and left toward these receivers, but very often without the careful aim which made for cleanly living. Even the pews of fashionable churches were likely to contain these familiar conveniences. The large numbers of Southern men, and these were of the better class (officers in the Confederate army and planters, worth $20,000 or more, and barred from general amnesty) who presented themselves for the pardon of President Johnson, while they sat awaiting his pleasure in the ante-room at the White House, covered its floor with pools and rivulets of their spittle. An observant traveller in the South in 1865 said that in his belief seven-tenths of all persons above the age of twelve years, both male and female, used tobacco in some form. Women could be seen at the doors of their cabins in their bare feet, in their dirty one-piece cotton garments, their chairs tipped back, smoking pipes made of corn cobs into which were fitted reed stems or goose quills. Boys of eight or nine years of age and half-grown girls smoked. Women and girls "dipped" in their houses, on their porches, in the public parlours of hotels and in the streets. Chewing tobacco is still sometimes used, predominantly by young white males in some rural parts of the American Southeast, but also more rarely in other areas and age groups. In September 2006 both the Republican and Democratic candidates for Senator from Virginia admitted to chewing tobacco and agreed that it sets a bad example for children. In the late 19th century, during the peak in popularity of chewing tobacco in the Western United States, a device known as the spittoon was a ubiquitous feature throughout places both private and public (e.g. parlours and passenger cars). The purpose of the spittoon was to provide a receptacle for excess juices and spittle accumulated from the oral use of tobacco. As chewing tobacco's popularity declined throughout the years, the spittoon became merely a relic of the Old West and is rarely seen outside museums. To this very day, spittoons are still present on the floor of the U.S. Senate.