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Clearing the Smoke: Assessing the Science Base for Tobacco Harm Reduction
of smokeless tobacco. The most common form of a tobacco product in the United States is the manufactured cigarette. A cigarette is considered to be any roll of tobacco wrapped in paper or in any substance not containing tobacco. Cigarettes can be either manufactured or individually constructed. Cigarettes are lit, and the burning process allows smoke to be inhaled at the other end. Cigarettes are approximately 8 mm in diameter and 70 mm to 100 mm in length.
A cigar is a roll of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or in any substance containing tobacco. There are four main types of cigars: little cigars, small cigars (sometimes called cigarillos), regular cigars, and premium cigars. Little cigars contain air-cured and fermented tobaccos. Little cigars are wrapped either in reconstituted tobacco or in cigarette paper that contains tobacco and/or tobacco extract. Some little cigars have cellulose acetate filter tips and are shaped like cigarettes. Cigarillos are small, narrow cigars with no cigarette paper or acetate filter. Regular cigars are available in various shapes and sizes and rolled to a tip at one end. The dimensions vary from 110 to 150 mm in length and up to 17 mm in diameter. Regular cigars weigh between 5 and 17 grams. Premium cigars vary in size, ranging from 12 to 23 mm in diameter and 12.7 to 21.4 cm in length.
Bidis are made by rolling dried leaf into a conical shape around approximately 0.2 grams of sun-dried, flaked tobacco and securing the roll with a thread. Bidis are used extensively in India, the rural areas of several countries in Southeast Asia, and some parts of the United States. There have been no scientific studies or assessments of the physical characteristics and pharmacologic properties of Indian bidis. In comparison, American versions of bidis were shown to have higher percentages of tobacco by weight (94% vs. 42.5% respectively) and lower levels of nicotine (16.6 mg/g vs. 21.2 mg/g) than Indian bidis. Kreteks are a type of small cigar containing tobacco, cloves, and cocoa, which gives a characteristic flavor and ‘honey’ taste to the smoke. Kreteks are indigenous to Indonesia but are also available in the United States.
Smokeless tobacco includes tobacco that is sniffed, dipped, or chewed according to the type and constitution of the tobacco. Smokeless tobacco products are made from dark or burley-leaved tobacco. Smokeless tobacco is often referred to as oral tobacco or spit tobacco.
Snuff is a cured, finely ground, flavored tobacco product that is sold in tins or cans and is available in two main types: dry and moist. Dry snuff is fire-cured powdered tobacco and is sniffed. After initial curing, the tobacco is fermented further and processed into a dry powdered form. It has a moisture content of less than 10%. Moist snuff is a granulated tobacco product that is made from both air-cured and fire-cured tobacco and multiple additives. Moist snuff is used by placing a pinch (or “dip”)