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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Tobacco farmers cry for attention

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Philippines—Much has been written about presumptive president-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s smoking habit and the efforts of the Department of Health to squash that cigarette.

But now, those who made those cigarettes want a say in the situation.

Tobacco farmers from the Ilocos attending a tripartite congress here on Monday issued a petition calling for the removal of Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral and other DOH officials and appealed for a halt to measures aimed, they said, at killing the tobacco industry.

Another petition voices their opposition to Articles 9 and 10 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which calls for the regulation of contents of tobacco products and public disclosure of their toxic ingredients.

The petitions were addressed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and will also be sent to Aquino.

The FCTC, according to the WHO website (, was adopted by the World Health Assembly on May 21, 2003 and implemented on Feb. 27, 2005.

The convention, the WHO said, was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic. “It represents a paradigm shift in developing a regulatory strategy to address addictive substances,” it said.

“We know that smoking can kill but this is a war about those killing themselves slowly and those farmers who are instantly killed,” said Asuncion Miniano, a tobacco farmer from Sudipen, La Union.

There are about two million farmers, manufacturers and vendors in the country dependent on tobacco and cigarettes for their livelihood.

According to industry estimates, there are 65,000 registered tobacco farmers, mostly in the Ilocos.

About 42 million kilograms were produced in the country in 2008 and 55 million kilos in 2009, the National Tobacco Administration said.

“We are making thrice in tobacco farming what we could have had when we planted rice or corn. We are asking for the government’s help. They should also think of us,” said Eldred Arnel Salagubang, a farmer from Balungao, Pangasinan.

The more than 50 farmer-leaders gathered here said the FCTC, which had 168 signatories-parties all over the world, was ratified without the knowledge of local tobacco farmers.

They said the Philippine representatives to the FCTC came from the DOH, which had its own agenda apart from theirs.

The farmers said that the FCTC policies were extreme and bent on killing instantly the tobacco industry.

“Noon pong isang linggo, araw-araw ay laman ng pahayagan ang utos ng DOH na lagyan ng litrato ng mga sakit na dulot ng sigarilyo ang mga pakete nito (Since last week, the newspapers carried the DOH’s order asking manufacturers to put the photographs of different ailments related to smoking on cigarette packs),” the petition said.

“Ang amin pong tanong, hindi po ba dapat gawin ay ipatupad ang batas na huwag pabayaan makabili ng sigarilyo ang mga batang may edad na 17 pababa (Our question is, ‘Could they not instead implement the law banning children below 17 from buying cigarettes)?’”

The farmers cited the case in the United States where graphic photographs are no longer needed on cigarette packs because of the strict prohibition on children buying cigarettes.

“Ang paninigarilyo po ay adult choice. Ang trabaho po ng DOH ay mag-inform, hindi magdikta (Smoking is an adult choice. The DOH’s job is to inform, not dictate),” they added.

Mayor Edgardo Zaragoza of Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, said production of tobacco would likely go higher this year but said the industry is indeed in dire straits.

He said tobacco farmers and officials in his town were unaware of the policies of the FCTC and they were not given immediate alternatives. Narvacan gets half of its income from tobacco production, he said.

Zaragoza also said FCTC’s Articles 9 and 10 would end the tobacco industry.

He said there were enough laws, like the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003, to regulate the industry in the country.

By Frank Cimatu
June 02, 2010, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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