A cigarette (French "small cigar", from cigare + -ette) is a small roll of finely-cut tobacco leaves wrapped in a cylinder of thin paper for smoking. The cigarette is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder; its smoke is inhaled from the other end, which is held in or to the mouth and in some cases acigarette holder may be used as well. Most modern manufactured cigarettes are filtered and include reconstituted tobacco and other additives.
The term cigarette, as commonly used, refers to a tobacco cigarette but can apply to similar devices containing other herbs, such as cannabis. 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 are occasionally available. Cigars are typically composed entirely of whole-leaf tobacco.
Rates of cigarette smoking vary widely. While rates of smoking have leveled off or declined in the developed world, they continue to rise in developing nations. Nicotine, the primary psychoactive chemical in cigarettes, has been shown to be addictive. Statistically each cigarette smoked shortens the user's lifespan by 11 minutes. 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 mental and physical disabilities. Secondhand smoke from cigarettes has been shown to be injurious to bystanders, which has led to legislation that has banned their smoking in many workplaces and public areas.
Cigarettes are the most frequent source of fires in private homes, which has prompted the European Union and the United States to ban cigarettes that are not fire standard compliant by 2011.
The earliest forms of cigarettes have been attested in Central America around the 9th century in the form of reeds and smoking tubes. The Maya, and later theAztecs, smoked tobacco and various 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 method of smoking in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America until recent times.
The South and Central American cigarette used various plant wrappers; when it was brought back to Spain, maize wrappers were introduced, and by the seventeenth 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.
In the Georges Bizet opera Carmen, which was set in Spain in the 1830s, the title character Carmen was at first a worker in a cigarette factory.
In the English-speaking world, the use of tobacco in cigarette form became increasingly popular during and after the Crimean War, when British soldiers began emulating their Ottoman Turkish comrades and Russian enemies. This was helped by the development of tobaccos that are suitable for cigarette use, and by the development of the Egyptian cigarette export industry.
The widespread smoking of cigarettes in the Western world is largely a 20th century phenomenon – at the start of the century the per capita annual consumption in the USA was 54 cigarettes (equivalent to less than 0.5% of the population smoking more than 100 cigarettes per year), and consumption there peaked at 4,259 per capita in 1965. At that time about 50% of men and 33% of women smoked (defined as smoking more than 100 cigarettes per year). By 2000, consumption had fallen to 2,092 per capita, corresponding to about 30% of men and 22% of women smoking more than 100 cigarettes per year, and by 2006 per capita consumption had declined to 1,691; implying that about 21% of the population smoked 100 cigarettes or more per year.
During World War I and World War II, cigarettes were rationed to soldiers. During the second half of the 20th century, the adverse health effects of cigarettes started to become widely known and text-only health warnings became commonplace on cigarette packets. The United States has not yet implemented graphical cigarette warning labels, which are considered a more effective method to communicate to the public the dangers of cigarette smoking. Canada, Thailand, India, Australia, and New Zealand, however, have both textual warnings and graphic visual images displaying, among other things, the damaging effects tobacco use has on the human body.
The cigarette has evolved much since its conception; for example, the thin bands that travel transverse to the "axis of smoking" (thus forming circles along the length of the cigarette) are alternate sections of thin and thick paper to facilitate effective burning when being drawn, and retard burning when at rest. Synthetic particulate filters remove some of the tar before it reaches the smoker.
Commercially manufactured cigarettes are seemingly simple objects consisting mainly of a tobacco blend, paper, PVA glue to bond the outer layer of paper together, and often also a cellulose acetate–based filter. While the assembly of cigarettes is straightforward, much focus is given to the creation of each of the components, in particular the tobacco blend, which may contain over 600 ingredients, many of them flavourants for the tobacco. A key ingredient that makes cigarettes more addictive is the inclusion of reconstituted tobacco, which has additives to make nicotine more volatile as the cigarette burns.
The paper for holding the tobacco blend may vary in porosity to allow ventilation of the burning ember or contain materials that control the burning rate of the cigarette and stability of the produced ash. The papers used in tipping the cigarette (forming the mouthpiece) and surrounding the filter stabilise the mouthpiece from saliva and moderate the burning of the cigarette as well as the delivery of smoke with the presence of one or two rows of small laser-drilled air holes.
According to Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney, the burning agents in cigarette paper are responsible for fires and reducing them would be a simple and effective means of dramatically reducing the ignition propensity of cigarettes. Since 1980s Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds developed fire-safe cigarettes but did not market them.
The burn rate of cigarette paper is regulated through the application of different forms of microcrystalline cellulose to the paper. Cigarette paper has been specially engineered by creating bands of different porosity to create "fire-safe" cigarettes. These cigarettes have a reduced idle burning speed which allows them to self-extinguish. This fire-safe paper is manufactured by mechanically altering the setting of the paper slurry.
New York was the first U.S. state to mandate that all cigarettes manufactured or sold within the state comply with a fire-safe standard. Canada has passed a similar nation-wide mandate based on the same standard. All U.S. states have passed fire-safe mandates.
European union wishes to ban in 2011 cigarettes that are not fire-safe. According to a study made by European Union in 16 European countries, 11,000 fires were due to cigarettes between 2005 and 2007. They caused 520 deaths and 1600 people injured 
The process of blending, like the blending of tea, scotch, or cognac, gives the end product a consistent taste from batches of tobacco grown in different areas of a country that may change in flavour profile from year to year due to different environmental conditions.
Modern cigarettes produced after the 1950s, although composed mainly of shredded tobacco leaf, use a significant quantity of tobacco processing by-products in the blend. Each cigarette's tobacco blend is made mainly from the leaves of flue-cured brightleaf, burley tobacco, and oriental tobacco. These leaves are selected, processed, and aged prior to blending and filling. The processing of brightleaf and burley tobaccos for tobacco leaf "strips" produces several by-products such as leaf stems, tobacco dust, and tobacco leaf pieces ("small laminate"). To improve the economics of producing cigarettes, these by-products are processed separately into forms where they can then be possibly added back into the cigarette blend without an apparent or marked change in the cigarette's quality. The most common tobacco by-products include:
- Blended leaf (BL) sheet: a thin, dry sheet cast from a paste made with tobacco dust collected from tobacco stemming, finely milled burley-leaf stem, andpectin.
- Reconstituted leaf (RL) sheet: a paper-like material made from recycled tobacco fines, tobacco stems and "class tobacco", which consists of tobacco particles less than 30 mesh in size (~0.599 mm) that are collected at any stage of tobacco processing. RL is made by extracting the soluble chemicals in the tobacco by-products, processing the leftover tobacco fibres from the extraction into a paper, and then reapplying the extracted materials in concentrated form onto the paper in a fashion similar to what is done in paper sizing. At this stage ammonium additives are applied to make reconstituted tobacco an effective nicotine delivery system.
- Expanded (ES) or improved stems (IS): ES are rolled, flattened, and shredded leaf stems that are expanded by being soaked in water and rapidly heated. Improved stems follow the same process but are simply steamed after shredding. Both products are then dried. These two products look similar in appearance but are different in taste.
Whole tobacco can also be processed into a product called expanded tobacco. The tobacco is "puffed", or expanded, by saturating it with supercritical carbon dioxide and heating the CO2 saturated tobacco to quickly evaporate the CO2. This quick change of physical state by the CO2 causes the tobacco to expand in a similar fashion as polystyrene foam. This is used to produce light cigarettes ("Lights") by reducing the density of the tobacco and thus maintain the size of a cigarette while reducing the amount of tobacco used in each cigarette.
A recipe-specified combination of brightleaf, burley-leaf and oriental-leaf tobacco will be mixed with humectants such as propylene glycol or glycerol, as well as flavouring products and enhancers such as cocoa solids, licorice, tobacco extracts, and various sugars, which are known collectively as "casings". The leaf tobacco will then be shredded, along with a specified amount of small laminate, expanded tobacco, BL, RL, ES and IS. A perfume-like flavour/fragrance, called the "topping" or "toppings", which is most often formulated by flavor companies, will then be blended into the tobacco mixture to improve the consistency in flavour and taste of the cigarettes associated with a certain brand name. As well, they replace lost flavours due to the repeated wetting and drying used in processing the tobacco. Finally the tobacco mixture will be filled into cigarettes tubes and packaged.
In recent years, the manufacturers' pursuit of maximum profits has led to the practice of using not just the leaves, but also recycled tobacco offal and the plant stem. The stem is first crushed and cut to resemble the leaf before being merged or blended into the cut leaf.
Cigarettes are a significant source of tax revenue in many localities. This fact has historically been an impediment for health groups seeking to discourage cigarette smoking, since governments seek to maximize tax revenues. Furthermore, some countries have made cigarettes a state monopoly, which has the same effect on the attitude of government officials outside the health field. In the United States, cigarettes are taxed quite heavily, but the states are a primary determinant of the total tax rate. Generally, states that rely on tobacco as a significant farm product tend to tax cigarettes at a low rate. It has been shown that higher prices for cigarettes discourage smoking. Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduced youth smoking by about seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent. Thus increased cigarette taxes are proposed as a means to reduce smoking. Cigarette taxes range from $0.17 per pack in Missouri to $5.85 per pack in New York City. The federal government charges $1.01 per pack, which levied in addition to state and local cigarette taxes. In addition, consumers pay sales tax on cigarettes in most U.S. jurisdictions.
In the UK, many people now illegally import cigarettes, or buy those illegally imported, due to the increasing tax. A packet is less than half the price in some other countries, making illegal importers a large profit, while still providing comparatively very cheap cigarettes. The average price for 20 legal cigarettes is £6.30, while imported packs are sold for less than £3; this is due to the fact that the large majority of the sale price of a legitimate pack is tax.
Before the Second World War many manufacturers gave away collectible cards, one in each packet of cigarettes. This practice was discontinued to save paper during the war and was never generally reintroduced, though for a number of years Natural American Spirit cigarettes included "vignette" cards depicting endangered animals and American historical events; this series was discontinued in 2003. On April 1, 1970 President Richard Nixon signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, banning cigarette advertisements on television in the United States starting on January 2, 1971. However, some tobacco companies attempted to circumvent the ban by marketing new brands of cigarettes as "little cigars"; examples included Tijuana Smalls, which came out almost immediately after the ban took effect, and Backwoods Smokes, which reached the market in the winter of 1973–1974 and whose ads used the slogan, "How can anything that looks so wild taste so mild."
In many parts of the world tobacco advertising and even sponsorship of sporting events has been outlawed. The ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship in the EU in 2005 has prompted Formula One Management to look for races in areas that allow the tobacco sponsored teams to display their livery. As of 2007, only the Scuderia Ferrari retains tobacco sponsorship, continuing their relationship with Marlboro until 2011. In the United States, bolder advertising restrictions took effect on June 22, 2010.
In some jurisdictions, such as the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, the retail store display of cigarettes is completely prohibited if persons under the legal age of consumption have access to the premises. In Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec, Canada, the display of tobacco is prohibited for everyone, regardless of age, as of 2008. This includes non-cigarette products such as cigars and blunt wraps.
Beginning on April 1, 1998, the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to people under 18 has been prohibited by law in all fifty states of the United States. The legal age of purchase has been additionally raised to 19 in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, Utah, and Nassau, Suffolk, and Onondaga counties in New York. The intended effect of this is to prevent upper class high school students from purchasing cigarettes for their younger peers. Legislation was pending as of 2004 in some other states. In Massachusetts, parents and guardians are allowed to give cigarettes to minors, but sales to minors are prohibited.
Similar laws exist in many other countries. In Canada, most of the provinces require smokers to be 19 years of age to purchase cigarettes (except forQuebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta, where the age is 18). However, the minimum age only concerns the purchase of tobacco, not use. Alberta, however, does have a law which prohibits the possession or use of tobacco products by all persons under 18, punishable by a $100 fine. Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan have a nationwide ban on the selling of all tobacco products to people under the age of 18.
Since 1 October 2007, it has been illegal for retailers to sell tobacco in all forms to people under the age of 18 in three of the UK's four constituent countries (England, Wales and Scotland) (rising from 16). It is also illegal to sell lighters, rolling papers and all other tobacco-associated items to people under 18. It is not illegal for people under 18 to buy or smoke tobacco, just as it was not previously for people under 16; it is only illegal for the said retailer to sell the item. The age increase from 16 to 18 came into force in Northern Ireland on 1 September 2008. In the Republic of Ireland, bans on the sale of the smaller ten-packs and confectionery that resembles tobacco products (Candy cigarettes) came into force on May 31, 2007 in a bid to cut underaged smoking. The UK Department of Health plans to follow suit with the ten-pack ban.
Most countries in the world have a legal smoking age of 18. Seven exceptions are Italy, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands, where the age is 16. Since January 1, 2007, all cigarette machines in public places in Germany must attempt to verify a customer's age by requiring the insertion of a debit card. Turkey, which has one of the highest percentage of smokers in its population, has a legal age of 18. Another curiosity is Japan, one of the highest tobacco-consuming nations, which requires purchasers to be 20 years of age (suffrage in Japan is 20 years old).Beginning in July 2008, Japan will enforce this age limit at cigarette vending machines through use of the taspo smart card. In other countries, such as Egypt, it is legal to use and purchase tobacco products regardless of age. Germany raised the purchase age from 16 to 18 on the 1 September 2007.
Some police departments in the United States occasionally send an underaged teenager into a store where cigarettes are sold, and have the teen attempt to purchase cigarettes, with their own or no ID. If the vendor then completes the sale, the store is issued a fine. Similar enforcement practices are regularly performed by Trading Standards Officers in the UK and the Gardaí Siochana, the police force of the Republic of Ireland.
As of 2002, Approximately 5.5 trillion cigarettes are produced globally each year and are smoked by over 1.1 billion people or greater than one-sixth of the world population. While smoking rates have leveled off or declined in developed nations, they continue to rise in developing parts of the world. Smoking rates in the United States have dropped by half from 1965 to 2006 falling from 42% to 20.8% of adults. In the developing world, tobacco consumption is rising by 3.4% per year.
Source: World Health Organization estimates, 2000
Nicotine, the primary psychoactive chemical in cigarettes, is addictive. Cigarette use by pregnant women has also been shown to cause birth defects (which include mental and physical disability). On average, each cigarette smoked shortens lifespan by 11 minutes and half of smokers die early of tobacco-related disease and lose, on average, 14 years of life.
Graphics on cigarette packets
Some countries require cigarette packs to contain warnings about health. The United States was one of the first. Other countries include Canada, most of Europe, Australia and in Asia (e.g. Hong Kong and Singapore). Since 2000, many developed countries began requiring graphic pictorial warning labels on a large portion of the front and back of each pack. Canada is the first country to enforce graphic warning on cigarette packaging. Australia introduced its latest graphic health warnings on cigarette packs in March 2006. 
Many governments impose restrictions on smoking tobacco, especially in public areas. The primary justification has been the negative health effects of secondhand smoke. Laws vary by country and locality. See:
The common name for the remains of a cigarette after smoking is a "(cigarette) butt". The butt typically comprises about 30% of the cigarette's original length. It consists of a tissue tube which holds a filter and some remains of tobacco mixed with ash. In extreme cases the filter is slightly burned. Cigarette butts are one source of tobacco for minors and low income people. The shape of a butt hinges on the manner of stubbing out. The intensely pressed butt possesses irregular shape at the end and wrinkled tissue. Cigarette butts may be a subject of studies over popularity of brands producing cigarettes.
Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate and are biodegradable, though depending on environmental conditions they can be resistant to degradation. Accordingly, the duration of the degradation process is cited as taking as little as 1 month to 3 years to as long as 10–15 years. One campaign group has suggested they never fully biodegrade.
This variance in rate and resistance to biodegradation in many conditions is a factor in littering and environmental damage. It is estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts become litter every year. In the 2006 International Coastal Cleanup, cigarettes and cigarette butts constituted 24.7% of the total collected pieces of garbage, over twice as many as any other category.
Cigarette butts contain the chemicals filtered from cigarettes and can leach into waterways and water supplies.
Cellulose acetate and carbon particles breathed in from cigarette filters is suspected of causing lung damage.
Smouldering cigarette butts have also been blamed for triggering fires from residential fires to major wildfires and bushfires which have caused major property damage and also death as well as disruption to services by triggering alarms and warning systems.
Many governments have sanctioned stiff penalties for littering of cigarette butts; Washington State imposes a penalty of $1024.
Cigarette butt is one of the most commonly found litters on the street. Most high-rise littering also relates to cigarette butts.
Electronic cigarettes are nicotine delivery devices that closely resemble cigarettes but produce no smoke. Due to the novelty of the devices, the health effects of electronic cigarettes are unknown. These devices are illegal in some countries, such as New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore. In other countries, these devices require government approval before these products can be sold, such as Canada and Denmark.