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 ban lawsuit goes up in smoke

Farmington Hills — Oakland County’s sudden reversal Thursday of its threat to sue the state over enforcement of the state’s smoking ban added fuel to the battle over who would make sure smokers don’t light up indoors after May 1.

County Executive L. Brooks PattersonPatterson, uncharacteristically contrite, apologetic and a tad sheepish, said he would withdraw the suit just hours after he announced that Oakland would take Michigan to court for not providing funding to counties to monitor the ban.

Earlier in the day, the state Department of Community Health said it had offered $75,000 to some counties — including Oakland — for enforcement, but Patterson said it was public reaction, not the offer, that prompted him to change his mind.

“I’ve never reversed a lawsuit in my life,” said the 71-year-old Patterson, who has worked 37 years as an attorney, prosecuting attorney and county executive. But he said that after the flood of responses he received from the public opposing the suit, “I believe it is the right thing to do.”

Just two weeks before the law goes into effect, many questions remain.

The Community Health and Agriculture departments announced Thursday that they will share enforcement authority. Community Health will oversee compliance in barber shops, laundromats and other non-food service establishments. However, the department won’t do inspections unless it gets a complaint.

Agriculture, which is in charge of licensing restaurants, will handle inspections at eateries, bars and other places food or drink are served. Food Section Manager Kevin Besey said enforcing the ban will be done as part of routine license inspections by his department.

“When we’re in the restaurant we’ll do the smoking inspection while we’re there,” Besey said. “It should not add to the cost of the food service inspection because we’re already doing those inspections.”

Royal Oak Police Chief Chris Jahnke said his department has decided enforcement is a job for the county health department — not law enforcement.

“We are not going to enforce it. It’s a health department issue,” Jahnke said.

In Troy, police officials say they are researching the law with the city’s law department to determine exactly what law enforcement’s role should be.

“We believe people will naturally make the assumption that the police department would be the entity they would call to enforce violations of the law … However as of this date, we are not quite sure how it is to be enforced and who is to enforce it,” police Lt. Michael Lyczkowski said.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm in December signed the ban into law to make most workplaces, restaurants and bars smoke-free. The only exceptions are the Detroit casinos, cigar bars, tobacco stores, home offices and motor vehicles. Michigan will be the 38th state to limit smoking in public.

No support for lawsuit

Patterson said at his late-afternoon news conference that he didn’t receive one response in support of the lawsuit.

“I have received more than 70 phone calls and 30 e-mails condemning what I was about to do,” he said. “I’m a public servant and these are the people I work for.”

Patterson, who has never smoked a cigarette in his life, said he and Dr. George Miller, head of the county health department, have estimated that to enforce the law, it would require twice the number of county employees who would perform the inspections at a cost of about $1.8 million. Patterson disclosed Thursday that the state offered several months ago to pay $75,000 — over two years — to help enforce the law in the county, which was rejected.

“If we had accepted that, it would have greatly compromised us in any future lawsuit.”

James McCurtis, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, said Thursday the agency will enforce the ban in non-restaurant settings in Oakland, Kent and Macomb counties since they had decided not to accept the funding.

“Brooks came out and said he wasn’t going to enforce the smoking ban, so we wanted to clarify that we offered money for the non-food service inspections — we wanted the public to know that,” McCurtis said. “If they are not funded, and Oakland County refused the funding, then the (state) Department of Community Health will take on the enforcement.”

Oakland, Kent and Macomb counties each had been offered a piece of $233,000 in federal stimulus funding to enforce the ban in establishments that don’t have food service.

Other counties are wrestling with how to handle the new law.

Stephanie R. Baron, press secretary for Wayne County Executive Robert A. Ficano said: “Robert Ficano and his team will do the best job possible to enforce the smoking ban, but without funding, it will be sporadic at best. … These mandates have to stop.”

Resources limited

Patterson and Miller said the smoking ban is the right thing to do as a public health policy, but there are not enough resources readily available. Both said since the decision to withdraw the lawsuit had been made just minutes before the press conference that it was unclear what the health department’s role will be.

“We will do what we can but if you get 10,000 complaints, we know many of them are going to go unanswered,” he said. “We know it’s the right thing to do but we just can’t handle it.”

“I think that 95 to 98 percent of no-smoking will be self-enforced by patrons and business owners,” Patterson said. “But the law itself, I think it’s going to be a disaster.”

Patterson described smoking as another example of something lawmakers want regulated — like tattoo parlors — yet have not provided the money to do the job.

Matt Phelan of the American Cancer Society, applauded Patterson’s decision to not sue the state over the smoking ban.

“We look at May 1 as a real day of celebration — a holiday — when non-smokers and smokers alike can look forward to enjoying breathing smoke-free air in Michigan for the first time,” Phelan said.
By Mike Martindale and Karen Bouffard / The Detroit News

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