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katatonic
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Registered: Apr 2009

posted August 22, 2009 07:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for katatonic     Edit/Delete Message
well this may not be what was intended, but it may create a much healthier smoking population, since it is agreed most of the deadliness in tobacco are the chemicals mandated for tobacco farmers...
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32482742/?GT1=43001
RICHMOND, Va. - Something unusual is cropping up alongside the tomatoes, eggplant and okra in Scott Byars' vegetable garden the elephantine leaves of 30 tobacco plants.

Driven largely by ever-rising tobacco prices, he's among a growing number of smokers who have turned to their green thumbs to cultivate tobacco plants to blend their own cigarettes, cigars and chew. Byars normally pays $5 for a five-pack of cigars and $3 for a tin of snuff; the seed cost him $9.

"I want to get to where I don't have to go to the store and buy tobacco, but I'll just be able to supply my own from one year to the next," Byars said.

In urban lots and on rural acres, smokers and smokeless tobacco users are planting Virginia Gold, Goose Creek Red, Yellow Twist Bud and dozens of other tobacco varieties.

Although most people still buy from big tobacco, the movement took off in April when the tax on cigarettes went up 62 cents to $1.01 a pack. Large tax increases were also imposed on other tobacco products, and tobacco companies upped prices even more to compensate for lost sales.

Some seed suppliers have reported a tenfold increase in sales as some of the country's 43.3 million smokers look for a cheaper way to get their nicotine fix in a down economy. Cigarettes cost an average of $4.35 a pack; home growers can make that amount for about 30 cents.

It's the latest do-it-yourself movement as others repair their own cars, swap used clothes and cancel yard work services to save money.

Satisfying a habit
"Cigarette smokers say, 'Yeah, we're going to die of cancer, but do we have to die of poverty as well?'" said Jack Basharan, who operates The Tobacco Seed Co. Ltd. in Essex, England. Virtually all of his increased tobacco seed sales have been in the U.S., he said.

Provided the tobacco isn't sold or traded, the Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate homegrown tobacco. Most people grow for cigarettes, but some blend their own cigars and chew.

The FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture don't keep statistics on home growers, though seed suppliers and Internet buzz suggest strong interest.

Seedman.com has sold more than 100,000 packets of tobacco seeds this year, compared with 22,000 in all of 2008, president Jim Johnson said. The Gautier, Miss.-based company offers 40 varieties of tobacco from around the globe and packages various flavor blends for first-time growers.

A grower who purchased one of Johnson's Oriental and Turkish blends for $24.50 could satisfy a pack-a-day habit for more than three years, according to Johnson's calculations.

However, growing and processing tobacco can challenge even the best gardeners. The nearly microscopic seeds must initially be grown inside and transplanted after the threat of frost has passed.

The plants are susceptible to an army of pests; must be topped, or pruned, to encourage leaf growth; require rotating every few years; and require the proper chemical soil balance. The leaves must be cut and hung to dry."


met a tobacco farmer once, she explained to me that when she was young the government came in and instructed her father that he was to grow his tobacco per regulations, which meant the plants did not have enough elbow room to grow WITHOUT CHEMICALS - supplied by the govt! the very same chemicals we are all warned about today...

this woman was in her seventies when i met her 12 years ago, so you see government and "big pharm" intervention and meddling to the detriment of our health is not a recent phenomenon...!

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