Tobacco, a plant of the nightshade family. The term is applied also to the cured and processed leaves of certain varieties of the plant, which are used in the manufacture of cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff. Nicotine, an alkaloid contained in tobacco, is used for medical purposes and as an insecticide. Tobacco is one of the most important commodities in world trade, and is of major importance in the economy of the United States.
China is by far the world's leading tobacco producer, with the United States ranking second. Most of the United States crop is produced in North Carolina and Kentucky. The United States exports about half of its production. It also imports large quantities, especially Turkish, or Oriental, tobacco, from Turkey, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Greece.