Glossary of Medical Terms

Nicotiana tabacum

Tobacco. A plant with leaves that have high levels of the addictive chemical nicotine. The leaves may be smoked (in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes), applied to the gums (as dipping and chewing tobacco), or inhaled (as snuff). Tobacco leaves also contain many cancer-causing chemicals, and tobacco use and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke have been linked to many types of cancer and other diseases. Also called tobacco.

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