I have always been quite interested in tobacco-from its spiritual role in American Indian culture, to its role as a European luxury, to its role as a widely demonized yet utterly ubiquitous substance. Its role as a commodity, as well as its traditional place as an item of high culture, has always intrigued me. I read some interesting facts about tobacco today, and plan on writing a research essay around the plant.
I learned, for instance, that not only are legislators attacking tobacco consumers, but the products themselves and their unintended repercussions, as is evidenced in the so-called 'fire safe cigarette.' These cigarettes contain a special form of self-extinguishing paper at multiple points, and are intended to force unattended cigarettes to extinguish before they can start fire. This paper is in effect in 43 states, and will be required nationwide by 2012. There are concerns, many of them backed by fact, that the chemicals used in this special paper adds even more carcinogens to cigarettes, as well as impacting their flavor negatively.
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I also discovered that amidst recent smoking bans, smokeless tobacco is making a marked comeback. Among products that fall into this category are chewing tobacco, moist snuff, snus, and snuff. Although these products are less harmful to others, they are by no means safe. It will be interesting to see whether anti-tobacco legislation and heavy sin taxing will eventually come to apply to these products as it has to smoking tobacco.