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.

tocacco
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Smoking ban in effect

As of today, smoking is banned in bars and restaurants in Rock Hill and most of York County. While that will inconvenience some smokers, it represents a big victory for public health.

The decision to ban smoking in public buildings did not occur overnight. City and county officials first had to wait to see whether the state Supreme Court would approve smoking bans initiated in other cities before forging ahead.

Then, it was a matter of educating the public and persuading local elected officials that a smoking ban was the right thing to do. Mayor Doug Echols was an early and outspoken advocate. Local physicians and health advocates — notably Dr. Alan Nichols, chairman of the Tobacco-Free York County Coalition, and Dr. David Keely — played a significant role in highlighting the real dangers of secondhand smoke.

Ultimately, we think, the public came to accept and support the ban. Even many smokers, though knowing they would have to give up smoking in bars and restaurants, acknowledged that they had no right to inflict their habit on others.

The consensus that public health trumps smokers’ rights seems to be growing, not only locally but around the world. People should not be involuntarily exposed to secondhand smoke.

We suspect most residents will welcome the smoke-free atmosphere at restaurants and bars that used to allow smoking. As one local letter writer suggested this week, now might be a good time to patronize establishments that made the switch from smoking to nonsmoking.

While the bans include fines for both smokers and business owners who ignore the law, we expect that compliance with the new rules will be largely voluntary. Neither the Rock Hill Police Department nor the York County sheriff’s Office has enough personnel to scour the countryside looking for violators.

“We aren’t planning to send out undercover smokers,” county manager Jim Baker noted in February.

Violations may occur in small, out-of-the-way places where the owner turns a blind eye. But it seems likely that smoke-free public places soon will be accepted as the norm, and smokers will abide by the rules.

Fort Mill now is preparing a proposed ordinance to ban smoking to be presented to the Town Council at its next regular meeting. While some council members want to protect smoking privileges at private clubs, the ban in public buildings seems to be gaining support.

But for residents of Rock Hill and the unincorporated areas of York County, today is a day of momentous change — change, we might add, for the better.

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