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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Heated debate: flavored tobacco

llegalization of fruit, clove cigarettes necessary legislation, measureflavored tobacco

Think back to when you first tried smoking. Statistically, about two thirds of you have. If you were like me, you may have puffed on a flavored cigarette. Fortunately I escaped my teenage rebellion without becoming hooked on cigarettes; however, many of my peers weren’t so lucky.

The recent FDA ban on flavored cigarettes will no doubt lessen the number of teens who try smoking. Although the impact won’t be overwhelming, legitimate reasoning is behind this measure.

“Flavored cigarettes attract and allure kids into lifetime addiction,” said Howard K. Koh of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services assistant secretary for health. “The FDA’s ban on these cigarettes will break that cycle for the more than 3,600 young people who start smoking daily.”

According to FDA statistics, 90 percent of adults begin smoking as a teen at an average age of 13. The same studies show 17-year-old smokers are three times more likely to use flavored cigarettes than smokers over 25.

If teens can no longer get their hands on flavored cigarettes, their only option will be to try regular ones, which typically involves one of the foulest flavors to ever tingle your taste buds, accompanied by light-headedness, nausea, coughing, throat irritation and (hopefully) no desire to experience it again.

Many teens think flavored cigarettes are safer than their regular counterparts. Quite the contrary — they both contain more than 4,000 chemicals, 43 known cancer-causing compounds and 400 other toxins. Even smoking an innocent, sweet-smelling clove cigarette provides a means to introduce tar, carbon monoxide, ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, DDT, nicotine (which gives tobacco its 90 percent addiction rate) and many other damaging chemicals.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death, claiming 438,000, or nearly one of every five deaths each year in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined.

Consider this, non-smokers: If a universal health care plan does, in fact, take effect, smokers will be creating an extra burden on the system with your tax dollars helping to pay for their treatment.

Measures like this ban must be taken to lower the number of tobacco users. It’s sad, but the general population has proven that it can’t do what’s right for itself on its own so this is why the government has to step in and regulate the tobacco industry.

Teenagers in particular don’t have the maturity or judgment necessary to deal with tobacco.

My intent is not to lecture you on why you shouldn’t smoke. It’s the 21st century, and everyone knows by now that smoking is bad for your health. I have several friends who smoke, and being in the food service industry, I am surrounded by smokers. It seems fun, rebellious and cool when you’re a teenager. But now, at age 23, I see so many of my peers struggling to quit with no success, continuing to live life from one pack of smokes to the next.

Undoubtedly the FDA ban on flavored cigarettes won’t demonstrate a substantial drop in tobacco use, but consider this — If only 1 percent of the population is deterred from smoking, that’s roughly 470,000 people who won’t become smokers. That’s a pretty solid start.

Government’s newest law biased, violation of basic rights (by Devin Heilman)

Smokers and freedom-loving citizens are now feeling a squeeze on their precious civil liberties. The ability to make our own choices is being drawn away from the tips of our nicotine-stained fingers.

Sept. 22, 2009, brought the ban on flavored cigarettes. The bill (HR 1256) said, “…a cigarette or any of its component parts (including the tobacco, filter, or paper) shall not contain, as a constituent (including a smoke constituent) or additive, an artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco or menthol) or an herb or spice…”

It’s an infringement of rights.

I first smoked a cigarette at the age of 13. It wasn’t flavored. It was a Marlboro. I didn’t know about flavored cigarettes until I was old enough to purchase a pack myself. What got me hooked was the misconception that smoking is “cool”.

Reasoning behind the FDA’s action is to protect America’s youth from of smoking. The candy and fruit flavors are supposedly most appealing to adolescent audiences.

The ban was possible only after President Obama signed legislation earlier this year giving FDA the power to control the manufacturing, sale and marketing of tobacco.

These restrictions are a part of The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Under this act, tobacco companies have to eliminate the terms “low tar,” “light” and “mild.” Levels of nicotine in cigarettes will be reduced. The product quality will decrease as the prices will soar.

I find it ironic that menthols made it through the ban. Big-money companies like Phillip Morris USA (the nation’s largest cigarette producer) don’t make flavored cigarettes. They make regular and menthol. This ban doesn’t even affect them except to eradicate the specialty and exotic smoke companies from the competition.

“The reason is simple: Menthol cigarettes are nearly 30 percent of the $87 billion U.S. cigarette market,” Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson wrote in an article published Sept. 26. “Menthol masks the harshness of smoking with its cooling effect and minty taste. The tobacco lobby and political allies bemoaned the impact of a menthol ban on jobs and government coffers. In 2007, tobacco sales generated $26 billion in state and federal tax revenues.”

In comparison, if flavored tobacco is such a problem, what about flavored alcohol, or alcohol in general? Strawberry-kiwi wine coolers could practically be on the children’s beverage menu in restaurants.

With more of a “crush” placed on something that is already legal, what can we expect in the future?

I don’t advocate smoking at all. I have come to terms with my addiction and I know if I don’t quit, it could end badly. This is my choice as a fully cognizant human being. It is my right to enjoy what vices I may as a tax-paying adult.

However, I see something potentially big happening here. Today it’s this ban. Tomorrow…who knows?

By Mike McCall

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