PNG images: Cigarette

A cigarette, or cigaret, is a small cylinder of finely cut tobacco leaves rolled in thin paper for smoking. The cigarette is ignited at one end causing the cigarette to smoulder and allowing smoke to be inhaled from the other end, which is held in or to the mouth; in some cases, a cigarette holder may be used, as well. Most modern manufactured cigarettes are filtered, and also include reconstituted tobacco and other additives.

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Cigarette PNG images

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The term cigarette, as commonly used, refers to a tobacco cigarette, but can apply to similar devices containing other substances, such as a cannabis cigarette. A cigarette is distinguished from a cigar by its smaller size, use of processed leaf, and paper wrapping, which is normally white, though other colors and flavors are also available. Cigars are typically composed entirely of whole-leaf tobacco.

Rates of cigarette smoking vary widely throughout the world and have changed considerably since cigarettes were first widely used in the mid-19th century. While rates of smoking have over time leveled off or declined in the developed world, they continue to rise in developing nations.

Nicotine, the primary psychoactive chemical in tobacco and therefore cigarettes, is very addictive. About half of cigarette smokers die of tobacco-related disease and lose on average 14 years of life. Cigarette use by pregnant women has also been shown to cause birth defects, including low birth weight, fetal abnormalities, and premature birth. Second-hand smoke from cigarettes has been shown to be injurious to bystanders, which has led to legislation that has prohibited smoking in many workplaces and public areas. The smoke produced is an aerosol containing over 4,000 distinct chemical compounds, including nicotine, carbon monoxide and acrolein. Over 50 of these are carcinogenic. Cigarettes are a frequent source of house fires, which prompted both the European Union and the United States to ban cigarettes that are not fire-standard compliant from 2011 onwards.

The earliest forms of cigarettes were similar to their predecessor, the cigar. Cigarettes appear to have had antecedents in Mexico and Central America around the 9th century in the form of reeds and smoking tubes. The Maya, and later the Aztecs, smoked tobacco and other psychoactive drugs in religious rituals and frequently depicted priests and deities smoking on pottery and temple engravings. The cigarette and the cigar were the most common methods of smoking in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central and South America until recent times.

The North American, Central American, and South American cigarette used various plant wrappers; when it was brought back to Spain, maize wrappers were introduced, and by the 17th century, fine paper. The resulting product was called papelate and is documented in Goya's paintings La Cometa, La Merienda en el Manzanares, and El juego de la pelota a pala (18th century).

By 1830, the cigarette had crossed into France, where it received the name cigarette; and in 1845, the French state tobacco monopoly began manufacturing them.

The first patented cigarette machine was by Juan Nepomuceno Adorno of Mexico in 1847. However, production climbed markedly when another cigarette-making machine was developed in the 1880s by James Albert Bonsack, which vastly increased the productivity of cigarette companies, which went from making about 40,000 hand-rolled cigarettes daily to around 4 million.

In the English-speaking world, the use of tobacco in cigarette form became increasingly widespread during and after the Crimean War, when British soldiers began emulating their Ottoman Turkish comrades and Russian enemies, who had begun rolling and smoking tobacco in strips of old newspaper for lack of proper cigar-rolling leaf. This was helped by the development of tobaccos suitable for cigarette use, and by the development of the Egyptian cigarette export industry.

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