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.

tocacco
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E-cigarettes worry anti-tobacco groups

BENNINGTON — E-mail, e-Bay, Esurance, E-Trade, and now e-cigarettes.

The typical electronic cigarette looks no different than a traditional smoke at a distance, only it weighs about as much as a heavy pen.

The devices have been available for years, but haven’t been noticed much until the beginning of this year, said Rebecca Ryan, director of health promotion for the American Lung Association in Vermont. Currently few, if any, regulations govern the devices, she said.

Megan Surdam, 21, of Woodford, who works at the Beverage Den & Smoke Shop on North Street said the den has sold about 100 PureSmoke starter kits. The kits sell for a little over $50 and come with an “atomizing cartridge,” an “atomizing device” and battery components. The cartridge looks like a filter and screws into the battery pack, which is painted white to look like the paper wrapping on a traditional cigarette.

The cartridges deliver a dose of nicotine, the addictive chemical found in tobacco smoke, when the user inhales off it, said Surdam. With the PureSmoke variety, the tip lights up to simulate a lit cigarette. The cartridges sell for $30 and are roughly equal to a carton of normal cigarettes.

Most people who buy them have heard about them someplace else, she said, and are trying to use them as a quitting device.

“They work really good if you are committed to it,” she said.

The e-cigarette’s role as a quitting tool and its status as a tobacco product are the root of the questions. “Our position is we are with the Food and Dug Administration’s (FDA) position that the product is a drug delivery device, not a tobacco product,” said Ryan.

In April, the lung association, the American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network sent a letter to the FDA urging it to ban the sale of e-cigarettes until regulations could be imposed on their safety and restriction their availability to children. The letter accused e-cigarette manufacturers of making false claims as to the product’s safety.

Sheri Lynn, Tobacco Control Program Chief for the Vermont Department of Health, said there are no FDA regulations of e-cigarettes, which raises concerns about consumer safety. She said carcinogenic substances have been found in some of the e-cigarettes, especially the ones manufactured overseas, and while the risk to others from second hand smoke may be negated, there is still concern over the person using the product.

The PureSmokes at the Smoker’s Den don’t contain tobacco, and legally could be sold to those under 18.

“Store policy for us is we wouldn’t sell it to anyone under 18, just like we wouldn’t sell a non-alcoholic beverage to anyone under 21,” said Jim Brown, manager of the Smoker’s Den.

Brown said the e-cigarettes are not designed to be smoking cessation devices, but are cheaper than traditional smoking and because they only produce a light vapor when the user exhales, can be used in places where smoking isn’t allowed.

“They are growing in popularity,” he said.

Brown first heard of them from customers who were interested, then read up them in trade magazines. He said his current supplier deals with PureSmoke, LLC, a California company, which was part of the reason he ordered that brand after doing some research. Brown said he heard of concerns about ones made overseas and wanted an American company that would back the product.

Tina Zuk, of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Vermont, said her organization has not approached any lawmakers about legislation regarding the e-cigarettes but is keeping a close eye on them. She said the fear is children will use them and move on to cigarettes.

How prevalent their use has become is difficult to determine, said Lynn. They are new enough not to have been added yet to surveys asking youths and adults about their tobacco usage.

Gwen Hannan, who runs the Quit-in-Person branch of the Vermont Quit Network at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, said a few of her clients have mentioned the product to her. “It’s wishful thinking that this is something that will give them all of the joy, but none of the pain,” she said.

She said there have been no studies on the effectiveness of the e-cigarette as a quitting tool, and added that there are multiple methods of getting free products such as patches, gum, and lozenges if a person wants to quit smoking. She said the e-cigarettes feed the addiction but appear to do nothing to treat it.

By KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

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