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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Smoking costs economy $31 billion

A REPORT that reveals the $31 billion social cost of smoking to the Australian economy is a mandate for tobacco taxes to be hiked, health groups say.

The Cancer Council of Western Australia released what it says is the first independent analysis of economic arguments put forward by the tobacco industry.

The report, prepared by two health economists, assessed the economic impact of both the tobacco industry and public health measures aimed at reducing tobacco use.

It put the economic contribution of the tobacco industry at about $1 billion a year and the estimated social costs of smoking at $31 billion.

Cancer Council WA tobacco program director Denise Sullivan said the report debunked claims by the tobacco industry that higher tobacco taxes would be detrimental to the Australian economy.

“The tobacco industry frequently employs economic scare tactics when policy makers are considering measures for reducing demand for tobacco, such as increases in taxes on the sale of tobacco,” Ms Sullivan said.

“This report provides the evidence that there would be few, if any negative economic consequences in further measures to curb tobacco use in Australia,” she said.

Report author Professor Helen Lapsley said tobacco control measures did not cause economic harm.

“A fall in demand for tobacco, while significantly affecting the tobacco industry, will have very little, if any, negative economic impact,” Prof Lapsley said.

“Indeed, it is possible that the overall impact would be mildly positive.”

Co-author Professor David Collins said the tobacco industry’s arguments against increased taxes on the product were flawed.

“The industry fails to take into account healthcare costs imposed on the community for the treatment of illnesses caused by tobacco,” Prof Collins said.

Tobacco industry studies estimate cigarette and tobacco retailers provided 500,000 Australian jobs.

But Prof Lapsley said the number was overstated and the study found the industry was a minor and declining contributor to manufacturing output and employment, with profits largely remitted to parent companies overseas.

“The figures put forward by the tobacco producers include jobs of those who sell materials to the industry as well as those at the retail level for whom only a fraction of their business depends on tobacco,” she said.

“It also ignores the fact that money saved by quitting or reducing smoking will be spent on other goods and services, themselves generating employment and tax revenues.”

Public Health Association of Australia president Mike Daube said the tobacco industry’s arguments were misleading and based on self-interest.

“Big tobacco has opposed increased taxes on its products on the basis of the economic harm this would cause,” Prof Daube said.

“It’s time for taxes on tobacco to be increased.”

Prof Daube said Australia had not had a significant tax increase on tobacco for 10 years and was one of the lowest tobacco-taxing countries in the OECD.

“This report gives the federal government a strong mandate for a significant tobacco tax increase, which will also enable them to spend more money on public health, including further action to reduce smoking, which still kills one in two regular smokers,” he said.

“The only people with anything to lose with this strategy are the tobacco companies themselves.”

The report found poorer consumers were more susceptible to tax increases and more likely to reduce consumption.

October 21, 2009

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