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 smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.


Senate votes to regulate tobacco

The federal government would have broad new authority to regulate tobacco products, slash the nicotine content of cigarettes and restrict advertising under legislation overwhelmingly approved Thursday by the U.S. Senate.

Health advocates cheered the 79-17 passage of the bill, which closely mirrors a version passed by the House, saying it could prevent thousands of deaths. One of every five Americans uses tobacco, and smoking-related disease kills nearly half a million a year, more than any other preventable cause of death.

The bill would direct the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the content and marketing of tobacco products. It would allow the agency to alter tobacco products’ chemical makeup to affect both their taste and, health advocates hope, their addictive qualities.

North Carolina
tobacco interests said new regulation would cost jobs, hurt farmers and maintain the market dominance of tobacco giant Philip Morris of Virginia, maker of Marlboros.

Gov. Beverly Perdue, who just signed into law a smoking ban for North Carolina restaurants and bars, said she nonetheless disagrees with the new federal role because it would overstep regulatory bounds in restricting adult choices.

“I’m concerned about the direction this conversation is going,” Perdue said in an interview.

Health advocates, though, were ecstatic.

“Today is a historic day for public health,” said John R. Seffrin, president of the American Cancer Society Action Network. The bill, he said, “will finally put an end to Big Tobacco’s despicable marketing practices that are designed to addict children to its deadly products.”

Across the country, an estimated 1,000 children begin smoking each day. In North Carolina, anti-smoking advocates predict the bill will help prevent the premature deaths of 44,000 residents.

Under the federal legislation, addictive nicotine could be cut to almost zero, but not wiped out entirely, which some health advocates warn reduces the bill’s impact.

The bill was fought fiercely by tobacco state senators, most notably North Carolina’s Republican Sen. Richard Burr. Burr never had the votes to sustain his threatened filibuster, but he successfully maneuvered rules to hold up Senate floor action on any other matter for nearly two weeks. He was joined in spirit by North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, the only Democrat to vote against the bill’s passage.

Burr is the Senate’s second-biggest recipient of tobacco money over his career, behind only Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Burr also hails from Winston-Salem, home to No. 2 tobacco company Reynolds American, maker of Camel cigarettes. Hagan is from Greensboro, the headquarters of No. 3 Lorillard, maker of Newports.

Burr argued that the FDA is already overextended and underfunded, and that the restrictions would keep entrepreneurs from developing tobacco products that could reduce the health risks to users.

“Keeping reduced-risk tobacco products from consumers, as this bill does, will not reduce death and disease associated with smoking,” Burr said in a statement after Thursday’s vote.

The U.S. surgeon general has determined there is no safe tobacco product.

Hagan flew back to North Carolina after the vote without issuing a statement.

10,000 N.C. jobs

North Carolina is the nation’s top producer of tobacco, growing $686 million worth of leaf last year on 12,000 farms. The state’s tobacco manufacturers, from the behemoth Reynolds American to tiny boutique companies, put 10,000 people to work. They warned that any rules that restrict tobacco sales could be assumed to cost jobs.

“We don’t really know what we’re going to do,” said Keith Beavers, a board member of the U.S. Tobacco Cooperative and a farmer who grows about 100 acres in Mount Olive. “If we get a reasonable FDA … we maybe can live with that. But if the FDA is about eradicating tobacco in the United States, we’re in trouble.”

Reynolds American spokesman Frank Lester said the company would work with the FDA: “We have been preparing should the FDA eventually be granted authority to regulate the industry, are ready to participate in the regulatory process to the degree possible and intend to successfully compete for the business of adult tobacco consumers in the future.”

Thursday’s vote was the first time in a decade of attempts that both chambers of Congress have passed the stringent tobacco regulation.

The Senate bill now returns to the House, where almost identical legislation was approved by a strong margin. President Barack Obama, an occasional smoker, plans to sign the bill into law, an action he said “will make history.”

Demetrius Harvey, a Goldsboro native and manager with the American Lung Association in North Carolina, said he never saw the FDA regulation bill the way some tobacco interests did.

“I don’t think it’s going after North Carolina,” Harvey said. “I think it’s about protecting North Carolinians.”
© Copyright: Newsobserver

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