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 Cigarettes are smoking products consumed by people and made out of cut tobacco leaves. Cigars are typically composed completely of whole-leaf tobacco. A cigarette has smaller size, composed of processed leaf, and white paper wrapping. The term cigarette refers to a tobacco cigarette too but it can apply to similar devices containing other herbs, such as cannabis.

Reflections on Illinois’ public smoking ban

It has been nearly three years since Illinois banned smoking in most public places.

To little surprise, the law has been embraced by many, including families who in the past had avoided smoke-filled establishments.

And even some smokers have managed to discover a positive aspect to the ban as well.

“We’ve become a subgroup of people that have formed a social club in a way,” said Aurora resident and smoker Sam Herron, 49. “You tend to socialize more smoking outside than smoking at a bar. I’ve met a lot of new people since the ban was put in place.”

Sugar Grove resident Julie Engelhardt is happy to let the subgroup exist — as long as it stays outside.

The smoking ban means Engelhardt can take her four kids to places like Ballydoyle Irish Pub & Restaurant in Aurora. Engelhardt sees Ballydoyle as a family establishment where her children can be exposed to music, the arts and Irish cuisine.

“We stayed clear of the pub atmosphere in the past,” said Engelhardt. “We didn’t want our kids breathing in smoky air.”

Engelhardt’s four children belong to the McNulty Irish Dancers and often perform at Irish pubs such as Ballydoyle.

“We used to dance (at the pubs) and leave right away,” said Engelhardt. “We would come home and immediately air out our clothes. I couldn’t believe what they smelled like. Now things are different. We dance and then linger around the pub for a while longer now.”

Phil Cullen, owner of the Ballydoyle pubs in Aurora, Downers Grove and Bloomingdale, said he has seen a shift in clientele as well as social habits among smokers.

“There used to be a group of 50 guys who would come every day at 5 p.m. and smoke cigarettes at the bar,” said Cullen. “Most of them have left but have been quickly replaced by those who don’t like smoke.”

He said the smokers who have stuck around tend to socialize more now.

“They all got smoking buddies,” said Cullen. “Smoking has become a social event for them. When the band takes a break, they all go outside to smoke.”

The Smoke-Free Illinois Act took effect Jan. 1, 2008, at nearly all public gathering places and workplaces. Its aim was to combat the effects of secondhand smoke.

Smoking complaints reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) have plummeted since 2008, according to IDPH officials. There were 5,501 complaints in 2008, 2,710 in 2009 and 1,455 from January through September 2010.

Tom Schafer, deputy director with the IDPH’s Office of Health Promotion, said the most common complaints are for smoking within 15 feet of building entrances, exits and windows. Other complaints involve business owners who still allow smoking in establishments, smoking in common areas of multi-unit housing, lack of “No Smoking” signs posted at building entrances, and ashtrays and smoking receptacles placed in prohibited areas.

Rohit Sahajpal, part owner and general manager of Tommy Nevin’s Pub in Evanston, said that he doesn’t mind the ban now but that he was frustrated in 2006 when Evanston, acting before the state did, passed a smoking ban of its own.

“Many of our customers went to pubs and bars in (Chicago) and nearby suburbs,” said Sahajpal. “Customers started coming back after the state passed their ban. They had no other place to go and smoke.”

Sahajpal, however, doesn’t like policing the ban.

“If the city and state wants to enact laws, they should be the ones to enforce it, not the bars and restaurants,” he said. “Why should my staff have to tell people to stop smoking near the door and put up signage everywhere?”

Dave Jemilo, owner of the Green Mill Jazz Club in Chicago, said his daytime business took a hit when the ban took effect but is back to normal. Sending his customers outside to smoke was sometimes hard no matter how much socializing they did.

“We had these World War II veterans who would come in and I hated telling them to go outside to smoke in 10-below-zero weather,” Jemilo said.

Jemilo said the smoking ban has also affected his employees.

“They all smoke,” he said. “Someone always has to watch the bar so they can step outside. It’s an annoyance, but I’m not going to tell them to stop smoking.”

On Michigan Avenue, the ban helped forge a friendship for two people taking a break from work. Barb Minarik, 63, of Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, and Joseph Sennello, 37, of Oak Park, first bonded over cigarettes a month ago. Since then, they’ve been sharing coffee and smokes daily.

“That’s how we became friends,” Sennello said. “People like to share rituals.

“The common bond is cigarettes,” he added.

“I think if people have something in common to talk about, they’ll become friends,” Minarik said.

Along Ohio Street in Chicago’s Streeterville area on a recent Friday, Calvin Wilson also noted the “social smokers network” that forms outside his workplace.

“There’s always a group of us that meet up at a certain time, it seems,” said Wilson, 47. “We don’t synchronize our watches, but it just happens.”

But Wilson at times will share the break outside with nonsmoking co-workers looking to escape the day’s stress.

He’ll light up, he said, then offer them a piece of gum.

By Joseph Ruzich

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2 comments to Reflections on Illinois’ public smoking ban

  • Tom Villson


  • harleyrider1978

    ’They have created a fear that is based on nothing’’
    World-renowned pulmonologist, president of the prestigious Research Institute Necker for the last decade, Professor Philippe Even, now retired, tells us that he’s convinced of the absence of harm from passive smoking. A shocking interview.

    What do the studies on passive smoking tell us?

    PHILIPPE EVEN. There are about a hundred studies on the issue. First surprise: 40% of them claim a total absence of harmful effects of passive smoking on health. The remaining 60% estimate that the cancer risk is multiplied by 0.02 for the most optimistic and by 0.15 for the more pessimistic … compared to a risk multiplied by 10 or 20 for active smoking! It is therefore negligible. Clearly, the harm is either nonexistent, or it is extremely low.

    It is an indisputable scientific fact. Anti-tobacco associations report 3 000-6 000 deaths per year in France …

    I am curious to know their sources. No study has ever produced such a result.

    Many experts argue that passive smoking is also responsible for cardiovascular disease and other asthma attacks. Not you?

    They don’t base it on any solid scientific evidence. Take the case of cardiovascular diseases: the four main causes are obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. To determine whether passive smoking is an aggravating factor, there should be a study on people who have none of these four symptoms. But this was never done. Regarding chronic bronchitis, although the role of active smoking is undeniable, that of passive smoking is yet to be proven. For asthma, it is indeed a contributing factor … but not greater than pollen!

    The purpose of the ban on smoking in public places, however, was to protect non-smokers. It was thus based on nothing?

    Absolutely nothing! The psychosis began with the publication of a report by the IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, which depends on the WHO (Editor’s note: World Health Organization). The report released in 2002 says it is now proven that passive smoking carries serious health risks, but without showing the evidence. Where are the data? What was the methodology? It’s everything but a scientific approach. It was creating fear that is not based on anything.

    Why would anti-tobacco organizations wave a threat that does not exist?

    The anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette prices having failed, they had to find a new way to lower the number of smokers. By waving the threat of passive smoking, they found a tool that really works: social pressure. In good faith, non-smokers felt in danger and started to stand up against smokers. As a result, passive smoking has become a public health problem, paving the way for the Evin Law and the decree banning smoking in public places. The cause may be good, but I do not think it is good to legislate on a lie. And the worst part is that it does not work: since the entry into force of the decree, cigarette sales are rising again.

    Why not speak up earlier?

    As a civil servant, dean of the largest medical faculty in France, I was held to confidentiality. If I had deviated from official positions, I would have had to pay the consequences. Today, I am a free man.

    Le Parisien

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