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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Panel defers bill on smoking in casinos

On a close 8-6 vote, the House committee that handles health issues sidetracked legislation Thursday that would limit smoking in tobacco in Casinocasinos.

House Bill 1323, which would have required some casinos to set aside a nonsmoking section, fell after warnings from lobbyists for the companies that own gambling operations that the change would result in the loss of about $80 million in tax dollars to the state general fund and about 3,300 jobs.

A much stricter measure —Senate Bill 334 — that would totally forbid smoking in Louisiana casinos is awaiting a vote by the full Senate. If approved, SB334 would have to be passed by the House Health and Welfare Committee.

“In an ideal world, I would be OK with banning smoking in the casinos,” said Rickey Nowlin, R-Natchitoches.

But the world isn’t ideal, so his legislation tries to strike a balance, he said.

The bill failed on a near party-line vote.

Nowlin said his legislation was more selective, involving some but not all of the state’s 13 riverboat and one land-based casinos.

HB1323 described the “smoke-free gaming facility” to be physically separated by walls and doors and to contain a separate air-handling system to prevent air from any smoking area to be supplied to the smoke-free area or contains mechanical or electrical equipment in the building air-handling system whose function is to eliminate smoking by-products from the air supplied to the smoke-free area.

Nowlin said his measure would not require casinos to be totally smoke free.

Wade Duty, the executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association, a Baton Rouge-based trade group, testified that a June 2009 study tracked immediate reductions in revenues, employment and tax receipts after a smoking ban was enacted in Illinois. The study also found about 6 percent of Illinois’ business went to Indiana where smoking was allowed, he said.

Nowlin rebutted the methodology used in the study Duty quoted.

Duty predicted Louisiana state government could see an $80 million drop in tax collections for the state’s general fund. The loss of business would cost up to 3,300 jobs, about 1,500 of which are directly employed by the casino industry, he said.

Duty said 24 percent of Louisiana residents smoke but more than 65 percent of the casino patrons smoke.

Riverboat casinos are particularly concerned about the legislation because structural changes must be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, Duty said. Because of emergency systems, the ventilation systems on riverboats are built in such a way that it would be impractical to segregate a single nonsmoking room, he said.

Voting to defer HB1323 (8): state Reps. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans; Jean Doerge, D-Minden; Dorothy Sue Hill, D-Dry Creek; Robert A. Johnson, D-Marksville; John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie; Fred Mills Jr., D-St. Francisville; Scott Simon, R-Abita Springs.

Voting against deferring the bill (6): Chairman Kay Katz, R-Monroe; Reps. Richie Burford, R-Stonewall; Walker Hines, D-New Orleans; Rickey Nowlin, R-Natchitoches; J. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs; and Thomas Willmott, R-Kenner.

By MARK BALLARD
Advocate Capitol News Bureau, May 7, 2010

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