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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Seneca Nation leaders call for defeat of PACT Act

IRVING, N.Y. – An electronic billboard on a busy interstate highway near the Seneca Nation’s territory warns that the passage of the PACT Act will destroy the local economy, and urges citizens to tell New York’s Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to vote against it.

The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act would prohibit the U.S. Postal Service from delivering cigarettes and certain other tobacco products, effectively putting Indian-owned mail order tobacco businesses – an industry developed by the Seneca Nation over the past two decades – out of operation.

The proposed legislation is co-sponsored by Schumer and Gillibrand, among others.

The two senators – and virtually every other New York senator and congressman – have accepted donations from the giant mainstream tobacco companies, such as Philip Morris, according to, which tracks political contributions.

According to the Web site, Schumer and Gillibrand have accepted $53,090 and $31,300, respectively, from the tobacco companies.

The PACT Act has been approved by both House and Senate committees.

Efforts to hotline the bill – push it through a vote without discussion – failed before the legislators adjourned for the Christmas holiday, but efforts to pursue another hotline attempt are expected when it reconvenes Jan. 19.

Tobacco trade is a key component of the Seneca Nation economy. The nation estimates the PACT Act could result in up to a 65 percent loss in import/export revenue, which it uses to fund health and education programs.

That’s why Seneca Nation leaders are working urgently to defeat the bill. They say passage of the PACT Act will kill 1,000 local tobacco-industry jobs and have a devastating ripple effect on the western New York state economy.

“The PACT Act is being portrayed as a tool to fight cigarette smuggling. In reality, it will kill legitimate, treaty-sanctioned Native American commerce, causing significant economic harm,” Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder said.

“We applaud the goal of halting rogue tobacco smuggling, but it’s wrong to wipe out legitimate jobs in the process.”

The National Congress of American Indians and the United South and Eastern Tribes support Seneca’s opposition to the PACT Act.

The Seneca tobacco industry is highly regulated. The nation has a state-of-the-art stamping and enforcement mechanism that ensures compliance with a rigorous set of internal regulations, including retailer authorization, minimum pricing and a ban on sale to minors. Seneca also works in close partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to battle illegal tobacco trafficking.

Tobacco trade also benefits the state economy. A recent study by Harvard economist Jonathan Taylor detailed how every $1 of gross profits accrued to the nation’s tobacco businesses provides the state economy with $1.67. In 2007 alone, the nation’s combined tobacco and gas businesses generated an estimated $313 million and spun off nearly $200 million into the economy. Over the past decade, the nation’s economic activities have contributed more than $1.1 billion to the statewide economy.

A few years ago, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer successfully persuaded FedEx, UPS, and DHL to “volunteer” to stop delivering cigarettes. The PACT Act would be the final blow to Seneca retailers’ mail order tobacco sales.

Tobacco company Philip Morris enthusiastically supports the PACT Act for its potential to undercut – or eliminate – Indian tobacco sales. Last year, Philip Morris spokesman Dave Sutton said the company is “proud to support” the PACT Act.

“The sale of untaxed and under-taxed cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products remotely – via the Internet, mail or phone – harms legitimate wholesale and retail businesses, consumers and government budgets.” Sutton said.

The nation’s Council Chairman Richard E. Nephew and Councilor J.C. Seneca, who co-chair the Seneca Foreign Relations Committee, say its clear why Philip Morris backs the PACT Act.

“This is an overt attempt by big cigarette corporations to simply stomp out any market competition and in this case, it’s big tobacco targeting a single Indian tribe: the Seneca Nation,” Nephew said.

The Seneca billboard on I-190 specifically targets Schumer and Gillibrand, urging them to vote ‘No’ and calling on area residents to join in the opposition.

“Western New Yorkers should be asking senators supporting the PACT Act, especially senators right here in New York state, why are they letting Philip Morris take jobs and money from the Seneca Nation and the Western New York economy? What hurts the Seneca hurts Western New York,” Seneca said.

Senators from other states are supporting the nation’s efforts against the PACT Act, Seneca said, “and yet the New York senators have continued to look the other way. And it’s a shame. I think they need to do something.”

At the very least, the senators could call hearings on the PACT Act – a part of the legislative process that has been simply ignored in this case, Seneca said.

“This issue needs to be looked at, hearings need to be held, questions need to be answered. They need to know how this will impact Indian people’s lives and the lives of the communities around Indian nations. Certainly, if you come to Seneca Nation and talk to people around our territories, they will speak highly and defend us and say we bring a lot of good to the non-Indian community too. All of those things need to be considered,” Seneca said.
By Gale Courey Toensing, Indiancountrytoday
Jan 12, 2010

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1 comment to Seneca Nation leaders call for defeat of PACT Act

  • phoebe bendana

    What can I do to help repeal the Pact act that infringes on my persone rights as gaaranteed by the constitution.Thanks,Phoebe

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