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.
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Smoking debate comes to city Louisiana

When Kailen Fenerty, 23, took a job as a manager at the Jefferson Street’s Green Room, she didn’t think twice about working in a teensmokingsmoke-filled atmosphere.

Fenerty, who does not smoke, said she doesn’t often consider the possible health hazards she faces from secondhand smoke in the workplace.

“It’s a choice you make when you take the job,” she said. “The majority of our patrons would probably rather smoking than nonsmoking.”

Employees like Fenerty who work in bars and casinos, from bus boys to blackjack dealers, are the center of a statewide campaign advocating equal air for all by banning smoking in the last establishments allowing tobacco users to drag and puff indoors.

“It isn’t an issue of asking someone not to smoke,” said Kelley Anderson, a spokeswoman for The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living, which sponsors the “Let’s Be Totally Clear” advertisements on TV, in radio spots and on billboards. “It’s asking them to step outside instead.”

AWARENESS ABOVE POLICY

Carrie Griffin Broussard, who also works for Tobacco Free Living, said the “Let’s Be Totally Clear” campaign aims to spread awareness rather than push policy.

When the state Legislature passed the Louisiana Smoke Free Air Act in 2006, most public places, like restaurants, could no longer offer indoor smoking by the time the law went into effect in 2007.

Broussard said the measure was widely successful and gave local communities the ability to pass laws stricter than the state law forbidding indoor smoking.

“There has not been a local government to step forward yet to take the lead on the opportunity to do that,” Broussard said. “It’s not about going to the state and passing a law or going to a city council and pushing policy locally. We try to listen to the folks who are being impacted and make sure their voices are heard.”

One of those affected folks is Grammy-winning zydeco musician Chubby Carrier. He’s given his celebrity endorsement to the campaign and can be seen in commercials advocating for smokeless bars and casinos.

“In my workplace, there is always smoking,” Carrier said. “My dad died of lung cancer, and the last thing I want to do is die from secondhand cigarette smoke. All of my band members smoke, but they give me the respect and step away as far as they can.”

Carrier said he’s talked with politicians and bar owners across the state to promote the smoke-free environments. He said he’d support making Lafayette the first Louisiana city with no indoor smoking.

But such a ban in the Hub City seems unlikely, at least for now.

When The Daily Advertiser asked each of the nine City-Parish councilmen how they would vote on a hypothetical ordinance to ban smoking in bars and casinos here, only one — Mary Morrison, District 1 — said she would definitely support such a measure, citing her background in the health care industry as part of her reasoning.

Three of the nine councilmen — Jared Bellard, Distrct 5, Donald Bertrand, District 7 and William Theriot, District 9 — said they would certainly oppose such an ordinance because individual business owners, not the government, should decide if smoking should be allowed in those establishments.

The five undecided councilmen said they would need to see the ordinance’s specifics and hear public discourse before making a decision, though all said they could see legitimate arguments on both sides of the issue.

ECONOMIC IMPACTS

Back at the Green Room, Fenerty said she couldn’t support an ordinance banning smoking in bars. She said some bars, including the one for which she works, don’t have outdoor areas to accommodate smokers sitting outside, giving bars with patios an upper hand in business should such a law go into effect.

Proponents of a smoking ban argue the economic impact on such businesses would be a positive effect rather than a negative one.

The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living conducted an economic impact study and estimates the state’s smoke-free air act helped pump nearly $50 million of spending into restaurants during the first year the law went into effect.

The increased spending from residents and tourists alike at restaurants resulted in an overall $99.6 million economic impact that year, according to the study. The study also cites 1,650 restaurant jobs created that year, resulting in $26 million of additional earnings for workers.

At Artmosphere on Johnston Street, assistant manager Ashley Lambert, 30, said smoking isn’t allowed indoors there because the establishment is licensed as a restaurant rather than as a bar. But with plenty of patio space, smokers can easily find a seat during a break from concerts.

“As a smoker myself, I don’t like the smell of it and I don’t want to have to breathe it the entire time I work,” Lambert said.

AT THE CAPITOL

Politicians are also taking the anti-smoking crusade to Baton Rouge in hopes or curbing cigarette consumption in Louisiana. State legislators will consider several smoking related bills when the 2011 regular legislative session convenes April 25.

Conspicuously absent from the pre-filed bills, however, is one to ban smoking in bars and casinos, as the “Let’s Be Totally Clear” campaign would like.

The most notable of these efforts, House Bill 63, would make current cigarette taxes permanent rather than letting the four-twentieth-of-a-cent tax per cigarette expire in June 2012.

Rep. Harold Ritchie, the Democrat who represents the state’s 75th congressional district in St. Tammany and Washington parishes, proposed HB 63. That bill would also increase taxes on cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco.

The current law levies a tax of 36 cents per pack of cigarettes, but that amount would increase to $1.06 — still below the national average of $1.45 per pack — if HB 63 becomes law. The bill would also increase the tax on smoking tobacco from 33 percent of the invoice price to 49.5 percent of the invoice.

Additionally, four Senate bills — SB 52, 53, 92 and 151 — would require 100 percent of the annual Tobacco Settlement Proceeds to fund the TOPS scholarship program once the Millennium Trust balance reaches $1.38 billion.

House bill 268, however, would exempt cigars and smoking tobacco sampled during some meetings and trade shows from the state’s tobacco tax.

These bills have been assigned to various committees and must be approved by both houses before the session ends on June 23 in order for Jindal to even consider signing the bills into law. Jindal, however, has publically said he opposes any new taxes, including increasing the tax on tobacco.

‘HAZARDOUS’ AIR QUALITY

Daniel Harrington, a researcher who studied the effects of Louisiana’s tobacco regulations, used a team of volunteers outfitted with compact personal air quality monitors to test the air at restaurants across the state.

He found a substantial portion of restaurants had an air quality ranking from unhealthy to hazardous before the restaurant smoking ban went into effect. Once the ban was in place, none of the tested restaurants had hazardous air qualities.

Harrington, an Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the LSU Health Science Center in New Orleans, found Lafayette bars on average have “hazardous air quality according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.”

Harrington used data collected from Dec. 22 to Jan. 5 at 22 bars permitting smoking in the Lafayette area. He found 17 of those bars, or 77 percent, had “unhealthy,” “very unhealthy” or “hazardous” air quality levels.

Nine percent of the sampled smoking bars had “good” air quality, while 5 percent fell in the “moderate” range and 9 percent ranked “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Fenerty said the Green Room uses four “smoke eater” machines fixed to the bar’s ceiling to suck in air and purify it before pumping it back into the facility. She said the machines certainly help make the air more comfortable to breathe.

“I generally prefer smoking in places that have good ventilation,” said Matt Briggs, 23, of Crowley, who drank and smoked at the Green Room on Thursday evening.

Briggs and Grant Besse, 22, of Rayne, said they’d be less open to going to bars that don’t allow smoking and said they would oppose any efforts to ban smoking in Lafayette bars.

“But even as a smoker, I can be bothered by the secondhand smoke sometimes,” Briggs said.

Rudolph Hebert, of Lafayette, drank at the Green Room Thursday night and said he too would oppose a smoking ban in bars.

“I’ve got a right to smoke as much as they’ve got a right not to smoke,” Hebert said. “If he finds what I’m doing offensive, he can go outside as well as I can be forced to go outside. Who are you going to side with?”

By Nicholas Persac, [email protected]

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