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 rates remain steady in LA County

Even as more cities and counties join the fight against tobacco, the number of smokers in Los Angeles County has remained steadycigarettes smokers since 2002, according to a new study. Read the report.

A first-of-its-kind report by the county Department of Public Health found about 14 percent of county residents smoke, but researchers are still trying determine why rates remain higher in selected communities and demographic groups.

The data were collected in 2007, just when some of the strictest bans in the nation began to take effect. While overall smoking rates in the county had been studied previously, this was the first to break down along geographic and demographic lines.

Roughly 20 percent of residents in Quartz Hill, Lancaster and West Hollywood are smokers, compared to 5 percent in San Marino, Malibu and La Canada-Flintridge.

But researchers admit they don’t completely understand why there are geographical disparities, although differences in race and ethnicity, income, and education levels may play a role. They also noted higher smoking rates among African Americans, women, young adults, and lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and the transgender.

Still, those factors don’t answer the main question: Why do people take up smoking, even with all the health warnings?

“We don’t know all the factors that lead to smoking,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the Los Angeles County public health director, who calls smoking the leading cause of preventable death in the nation.

More than 1 million adults in Los Angeles County continue to smoke, he said.

“There’s a lot of research done, but certainly education, ethnic and racial factors, for example, are considerations. We also know that the highest rates of smoking go with other substance abuse problems.”

Next week, the American Lung Association is expected to hold a national conference on why smoking rates among lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgender remain so high.

Nearly 20 percent of those who live in West Hollywood, a gay-friendly city, smoke.

“There are those in the LGBT community that say there’s a particular marketing campaign that targets them and now has taken its toll,” said Paul Knepprath, vice president for the Advocacy & Health Initiative for the American Lung Association in California.

Smoking among gay men is 50 percent higher than among heterosexual men, he said.

“There’s something going on, maybe stress-related fear of homophobia or a strong bar-centric culture,” he said. “We don’t really have conclusive evidence.”

Young adults from 18 to 29 continue to pick up cigarette smoking because they are specifically targeted by tobacco companies, Knepprath said.

“One of those marketing campaigns is free products, which have had tremendous impacts,” Knepprath said. Ads in alternative magazines, characters who smoke in movies, and the popularity of hookah pipes all have contributed to youth and tobacco, he said.

“Unlike other diseases that we (the American Lung Association) fight, whether it’s asthma or tuberculosis, when we’re fighting diseases such as smoking, we’re also fighting the creators of the disease,” Knepprath said.

He estimates at least $1.5 billion is spent by the tobacco companies on marketing in California.

Calabasas had pioneered some of the toughest smoking regulations in the country in 2006 by being the first city to ban lighting up in all public places, apartment common areas, restaurants and bars. Two years later, city officials ruled that 80 percent of all apartments must be permanently designated nonsmoking units by 2012.

At least 15 percent of Glendale residents smoke. The city has received an A grade by the American Lung Association for the last two years for its efforts in decreasing secondhand smoke.

But Sam Engle, Glendale’s Neighborhood Services Administrator, emphasized that the data collected in the county report was done in 2007, a year before his city imposed a strict ordinance that limited exposure to unwanted secondhand smoke across the city, including parks, parking lots, enclosed public areas and common areas in apartment buildings, all current recommendations by the county.

“Glendale’s a little bit ahead of the trend,” Engle said, adding the next county report may reflect a decline in the number of smokers.

“Researchers need to dig dipper, and slice the data to see what else is going on,” he said.

Meanwhile, county officials have proposed several solutions to help residents quit smoking, including ordinances already enacted by cities such as Glendale and Calabasas.

And Fielding and others say physicians and dentists also can help their patients quit smoking by steering them to California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS.

The report is intended to inform cities and communities and facilitate their efforts to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

To date, 47 cities and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which governs the unincorporated areas of the county, have enacted one or more tobacco control policies.

Meanwhile, groups such as the American Lung Association of California, along with the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association are supporting SB 220, authored by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco. It would make all health plans and health insurance policies include coverage of smoking cessation treatments.

Knepprath said the bill could help the state’s 2.3 million smokers covered under private health plans to quit.

“In addition to the need for policy-based initiatives to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, support and resources must also be given to residents who want to quit smoking,” said Linda Aragon, director for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Tobacco Control Program. “This comprehensive approach will help ensure long-term success.”

By Susan Abram
Dailynews, 22 Juli, 2010

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