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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Big tobacco bankrolls anti-Labor ad campaign

The big tobacco companies are fighting back against the Government’s plans to introduce plain cigarette packaging by funding small retailers in a massive advertising campaign timed to coincide with the final weeks of the election campaign.

The Alliance of Australian Retailers (AAR) has taken out full-page advertisements in tomorrow’s papers criticising the plan, which they argue will hurt small business and lead to job losses.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the $5 million campaign has been devised by former Liberal Party strategists and Howard government advisers.

But this morning Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said the Liberal Party had “absolutely nothing to do with any sort of pro-smoking campaign.”

“As far as I am concerned, if we are returned on August 21 we will certainly consider going ahead with the Government’s plain packages for cigarettes,” he said.

And the firm Crosby Textor has issued a statement saying reports that it is connected to the campaign are wrong.

The newly-formed AAR has 19,000 members representing corner stores, petrol stations, and newsagents.

It opposes the Labor Government’s policy to force retailers to sell all cigarettes in plain packets, devoid of colour, special fonts and branding, by 2012.

AAR spokeswoman Sheryle Moon says small businesses depend on cigarette sales.

“Plain packaging is not a proven policy,” she said. “There’s no credible evidence that this policy will stop people smoking, that it will stop kids, young people, taking up cigarette smoking.

“It will just make it more difficult for retailers to do their business.”

Ms Moon says the retailers are taking out full-page advertisements in the daily newspapers to express their discontent.

“I’ve got to put [the cigarette packets] away on a shelf,” she said. “[Plain packaging makes] it difficult to do that - I can’t identify necessarily which product is which product because it is harder to see them, they’re not identified, they all look very similar.

“If I’m serving customers it’s difficult for me to find the right product for the customer. All those increase my transaction times and make it more difficult for me to run my business efficiently.”

The ABC’s Lateline program last night revealed that the big tobacco companies are helping fund the campaign.

“We’re quite open about our funding arrangements so the three cigarette manufacturers are providing financial support to the alliance,” Ms Moon said.

“That’s not what the issue is; the issue is not about the funding.

“The issue is about making sure we have policy that is evidence based.”

Health Minister Nicola Roxon says Opposition Leader Tony Abbott must explain any Liberal Party involvement in the campaign.

“This is an unprecedented intervention by big tobacco into an election campaign and I think Mr Abbott needs to come clean on whether he’s made any commitments to his friends in big tobacco to convince them to take this unprecedented step,” she said.

Mike Daube from the Australian Council on Smoking and Health says the advertising campaign is an outrageous effort by the global tobacco industry to influence the Australian election.

“This is a lethal industry using its financial muscle to keep people smoking,” he said.

“What this really tells us is just how effective they fear plain packaging will be.

“The real reason they’re running this big campaign is they’re worried that if it happens in Australia it’s going to happen elsewhere.”

Professor Simon Chapman, from the school of public health at the University of Sydney, says Australia would be the first country to introduce plain packaging.

“The international tobacco industries are scared stiff about this,” he said.

“The international industry have been pre-occupied about this since it was announced.

“They’ve had international conferences about it, they’ve had cover stories on their trade magazines, they’ve bunkered down they’ve worked out that they really have to try and get on top of this issue in Australia.

“Because it will domino all around the world.”

Professor Chapman says it is an absurd argument that small retailers will lose money because someone gives up smoking.

“Ex-smokers don’t stop spending their money, they don’t take their money that they would have otherwise spent on cigarettes home and put it in a jam jar under their bed, they go to the shop and they buy other things with it,” he said.

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