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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Mixed Messages Complicate Efforts to Ban Smoking in Military

The Pentagon’s goal of making the U.S. military tobacco-free may be getting undermined by the mixed messages it is sending, some health professionals say.

The Pentagon is reviewing a study that recommends banning the use of tobacco by troops and ending its sale on military property in order to improve military readiness and cut back on medical costs. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates has already decided not to ban smoking by troops in war zones, where smoking is often the heaviest, a Pentagon spokesman said this week.

Another mixed message from the military: it offers smoking cessation programs but also subsidizes tobacco products for troops who buy them at base exchanges and commissaries — troops can buy them at 5 percent below market price.

Further complicating the mixed messages are federal policies that prohibit smoking in and around federal buildings, including the Pentagon. The policies, which were first enacted under President Clinton, were strengthened last month to ban smoking in the courtyards of federal buildings and within 25 feet of doorways.

“I think that’s part of the issue. There are conflicting messages being sent,” said Kenneth Kizer, a health care consultant and former undersecretary for health in the Veteran Affairs Department.

“It’s confusing,” he said, explaining that mixed messages undermine efforts to change patterns of behavior. “It tends to reinforce behaviors that you want to extinguish.”

Kizer was among a group of health professionals who produced a study that drew attention and criticism for calling on a phased-in ban on tobacco use in the military.

But the Pentagon made clear this week that it will not ban smoking for soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, citing the relief from stress that tobacco provides.

“We do support the goal of a tobacco-free military,” Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told “But we understand it’s a national issue. We can’t change unless the society as a whole changes.”

Tobacco use costs the Pentagon substantially: $846 million a year, as well as lost productivity, according to the study, and the Department of Veterans Affairs spends up to $6 billion in treatments for tobacco-related illnesses.

According to the study, 32 percent of service members use tobacco, compared with 20 percent of U.S. adults.

Tobacco use in the military increased after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and combat veterans are 50 percent more likely to use tobacco than troops who haven’t seen combat, the study found.

Committee members who worked on the study say the Pentagon’s decision not to ban smoking in war zones is consistent with the recommendations of the report.

“I think that the report of the committee is very clear,” said Stuart Bondurant, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who headed the committee. “It understood that troops in combat … were in a different circumstance and would require special kinds of considerations.”

He and other committee members told FOX News that a tobacco ban would focus on new troops.

“The goal is to gradually tighten the pipeline so when new troops come in, the expectation will be you will remain tobacco-free from the time you enlist until the time you depart,” said Alan Peterson, a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

But some military advocacy groups said they were outraged by the study.

“The Defense Department is in the process of executing two wars and their attention should not be spent on whether or not our troops can light up cigarettes on the battlefields,” Brian Wise, executive director of Military Families United, told “It should be spent on how they can prosecute the wars successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Wise said he supports the Pentagon’s decision not to ban smoking in war zones.

“I think it’s a wise decision,” he said. “Our troops give up an awful lot to serve our country, and the one vice they’re allowed to have to relieve the stress of combat is a cigarette here and there.”

Wise said his group does not advocate smoking, but it believes the troops should be allowed to participate in legal activities.

He derided the study for being conducted by health professionals “who don’t know or understand what our troops go through.”

“A ban on smoking would have a much more detrimental effect on the morale of our troops than the costs that the study shows,” he said. “While I understand and appreciate the military trying to reduce the costs of tobacco use, it should never come at the expense of our troops’ ability to accomplish their missions abroad.”

Committee members said they understood the criticism, but they disagreed with the arguments.

“Service men and women give up all sorts of aspects in their lives that are legal in civilian society but not acceptable in the military,” said Peter Jacobson, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He cited freedom of speech as an example. “So to single out tobacco as sacrosanct seems to miss the broader point of the contract between the military and individual soldiers.”

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