tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves. Nicotiana rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%

tocacco cigar A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sumatra, Philippines, and the Eastern United States.

tocacco Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of cigarettes smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.

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From cigarettes to gold: French tobacconists boost falling incomes

gold cigarette

French women have found a way of drawing a line under an unwanted husband. They are selling their wedding rings to be melted down and turned into dentures and using the money to buy cigarettes and wine, or sweets for their children.

The practice has caught on as some of France’s 29,000 tobacconists try to supplement their falling incomes with an offer to buy gold on behalf of a company that turns it into dental and medical products, including pacemakers.

The economic crisis, the rising price of gold and family breakdowns have combined to give impetus to what was initially a marginal activity.

Divorcees are getting rid of rings and other jewellery, and coins and ingots — which have sometimes been in the family for generations — are being sold.

With French households hoarding 5,000 tonnes of gold — more than any other country, according to Roland Martin, the managing director of Valeurs Précieuses et Or, the company behind the initiative — a cultural change is under way.

“Selling gold has never been part of the French mentality,” Mr Martin told The Times.

“Unlike Germany or the UK, the French have never had too much confidence in their money — there’s been so much upheaval over the years — so they have preferred to keep gold. A lot of people bought it in 1967 and 1968 because they were afraid of communism, for instance.”

The metal is fetching up to €22,000 (£19,000) a kilo compared to €10,500 five years ago, so “they are coming round to the idea of selling”, he said.

Companies such as Metaltech and Metafinor have stands in hotels on a regular basis. Valeurs Précieuses et Or has supplied tobacconists with magnifying glasses, scales and chemicals to determine the value of precious metals and offers them a commission on the gold they buy.

A total of 1,500 cigarette sellers have joined the scheme and a further 500 are expected to follow this year.

Among them is Jean-Luc Renaud, the general secretary of the French Federation of Tobacconists, who has a shop in Agen, southwest France.

Mr Renaud said that he needed “new ways of making money” because the number of cigarettes sold in France last year was 53.6 billion — down from 97.1 billion in 1991.

Gold was a solution. It earns him €300 to €500 a month and “since all the tools are provided by the company there was no investment at all. It’s all profit”.

Mr Renaud said that many of his customers were women going through a divorce. “They just want to get rid of rings and necklaces and everything which reminds them of their marriage. They’re not necessarily poor, they just want it taken off their hands,” he said.

A ring often fetches no more than a few dozen euros because 18-carat gold is worth €7 a gram.

“Sometimes they spend the money in the shop straight away to buy cigarettes or sweets for their children,” Mr Renaud said.

Other cigarette sellers who have bistros in their shops said that customers sometimes used the money to buy coffee or a glass of wine.

Tobacconists said that purchases of gold had increased by 20 per cent over the past six months. Payouts ranged from €3 for jewellery to €2,000 for ancient coins or ingots.

A customer in southern France told Midi Libre, the regional newspaper, that she had sold jewellery given to her by her great-aunt. She got €28.40. “With that, I’m going to buy some fags,” she said.

© Copyright: Timesonline

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