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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New York Reaches Deal to Raise Cigarette Tax

Cigarette taxes in New York would jump by $1.60 a pack under a tentative deal reached between Gov. David A. Paterson and cigarettes smokinglegislative leaders, which would give New York the nation’s highest state cigarette taxes.

The proposal, which officials said Mr. Paterson would include in an emergency budget bill due for a vote on Monday, would also raise wholesale taxes on other tobacco products like chewing tobacco, bringing the tax on those products closer in line with those of cigarettes.

In New York City, which levies steep taxes of its own on tobacco products, a pack of cigarettes would come with a tax of $5.85, making it the nation’s first city to break $5, antismoking advocates said. That would bring the overall cost of a pack of premium cigarettes above $10 in many stores in the city.

The legislation will also include a plan to begin collecting taxes on cigarettes sold off the reservation by Indian tribes in New York, an issue that has provoked confrontations between State Police officers and protesting tribe members in years past.

The proposal would generate $440 million in revenue this year, helping close a state budget gap estimated at over $9 billion. But it is unclear whether there are enough votes to approve the plan in the State Senate, where Republicans have threatened to vote against any emergency budget bill that includes tax increases and some Democrats oppose efforts to collect taxes on cigarettes sold by the tribes.

Should the measure fail, the government would face an unprecedented shutdown. Should it pass, lawmakers must still meet to find ways to close the entire budget gap.

“Our anticipation is that the budget extender will pass, that people will not want to shut down government,” said Robert L. Megna, the state budget director, who briefed reporters on the plan at the Capitol on Friday evening.

Mr. Megna said there had been extension discussions with the Legislature about the tobacco package but could not say whether it would pass. “We’ve been talking to them about it,” he said. “None of this is going to be a surprise.”

Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Senate Democrats, said, “We’re making substantial progress, and our members are going to review the details of the extender on Monday prior to the vote.”

New York’s state cigarette tax is currently $2.75 a pack. In his executive budget proposal in January, Mr. Paterson proposed an increase of $1 a pack — a proposal previously opposed by the Senate but supported by the Assembly.

That legislative leaders are now willing to consider the higher tax rate increase of $1.60 suggests how intent Mr. Paterson and the Legislature are to find new revenue to help lubricate the budget negotiations. The Assembly wants to restore some of Mr. Paterson’s school aid cuts, while the Senate is insisting on some form of property tax relief.

But neither chamber supports Mr. Paterson’s proposal for a tax on sugared beverages, worth $465 million. Mr. Paterson has ruled out borrowing money, which the Legislature would prefer.

Advocates for higher cigarette taxes cheered the proposal, saying it would cut down on smoking, provide the state with badly needed revenue and discourage cigarette smokers from switching one tobacco product for another.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Peter Slocum, an official with the American Cancer Society. “Increased cigarette taxes have been one of the major successful public health interventions in the last decade in driving smoking rates to record lows in New York City and a lot of other parts of the country, too.”

A cigarette tax increase has been opposed by tobacco retailers, however, who say it merely drives consumers to black market cigarettes. “That large of an increase will further devastate legitimate retail sales of cigarettes and only serve to create more widespread black market cigarette sales and crime in New York,” said Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets.

Representatives from the Seneca Nation were in Albany this week to express their concerns about any taxation proposal.

“Certainly we are going to stand up and fight and do everything possible for that not to happen,” J. C. Seneca, a tribal councilor for the Seneca Nation and co-chairman of their foreign relations committee, said Friday. “We have to protect and honor the treaties that were made by our ancestors, and that’s what we’re going to do.

“If the state wants to move in that direction, then really we have no choice but to defend our territory and our people’s rights.”

Mr. Megna said the state, in an effort to avoid a confrontation, would tax wholesalers who sold cigarettes to Native American tribes. Tribes would be allotted a certain amount tax-free for their residents.

“We would hope that there would not be any violence,” Mr. Megna said. “We’re trying to minimize any violent activity and make it clear that their product for their consumption is tax-free. The only thing we’re trying to tax is New York State residents’ consumption of taxable products.”

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and DANNY HAKIM
Nytimes, June 18, 2010

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