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Report-back from Growing Your Own Tobacco Workshop

Me and a buddy rode our bikes down to Share-It Square today for this workshop. We were first of all damn impressed with the intersection project there that City Repair has done through the Village Building Convergence. The intersection is painted and there's all manner of benches, structures and street furniture around it, all whimsical and useful and constructed using sustainable building techniques like cob. If you want to see how groovy neighborhoods can be in the middle of the city, when the residents get together and work on something, go check out Share-It square, at the corner of SE 9th & Sharrit (just south of Tacoma in Sellwood).

The workshop itself was quite interesting. It was led by a community activist and anthropologist who spent time in the Dominican Republic, where much tobacco is grown. He has studied not just the plant and how to grow it, but also its history and place in societies. We learned a lot. And of course sampled some fine homegrown leaf from his own crop!

[ other stories by Johnny Tomatoseed ]

A tobacco plant in the workshop leader's backyard
A tobacco plant in the workshop leader's backyard
A bag of cured tobacco from his plants, ready to smoke
A bag of cured tobacco from his plants, ready to smoke
A chunk of tobacco leaves processed in a special way
A chunk of tobacco leaves processed in a special way
Shaving the chunk, to break up so it can be rolled or put in a pipe
Shaving the chunk, to break up so it can be rolled or put in a pipe
Two more plants in his garden, next to a tomato (will that be a problem?)
Two more plants in his garden, next to a tomato (will that be a problem?)
Starts that he sent attendees home with!
Starts that he sent attendees home with!
The workshop leader felt it was important to distinguish tobacco as a plant from the corporate cigarette industry. Clearly, the evils of that industry, which include purposefully misleading advertising, marketing to kids, destructive agricultural techniques, chemical adulteration, dangerous working conditions (especially outside the U.S.), are undeniable. The tobacco plant itself, however, has been used as a medicinal or sacred plant by many other cultures for thousands of years. Moderate use of organic, sustainably grown tobacco in a non-abusive manner is a totally different thing than going through a pack of Camel Lights a day. (How many people in our addiction-addled, irresponsible culture could use tobacco that way is a big question of course!) In any case, living a life as least dependent on corporations as possible is always a worthy goal, and growing your own tobacco can be part of that.

Tobacco normally grows in hot, or even tropical climates. The summer here in Cascadia can be good tobacco-growing weather, though, and our workshop leader has successfully been raising it here for five seasons. The plants want rich soil and lots of sun. Like corn and some other vegetables, tobacco takes a lot of nitrogen from the soil, so growing it in the same place every year is not advised unless you seed nitrogen-fixing cover crops like beans or clover in those areas in between. Curing the leaves so they can be smoked is more of a challenge, it sounds like. They should be hung out of sunlight in a place that is humid enough that they don't dry too fast, but not so wet that they mold. My buddy, who has lived in Virginian, told me that in the U.S. South they have special curing barns with vertically slatted walls that open and shut for the purpose of creating the right conditions. The trickiness of this step leads corporate tobacco processors to use chemicals and preservatives. Some of these articifical substances (and those that are sprayed on the fields while they're growing or mixed into the leaves afterwards) are doubtless responsible for some of the ill health effects of smoking corporate tobacco.

After the main part of the presentation was done, we sampled some of the workshop leader's homegrown leaf. As someone who smokes, i found this quite enjoyable. The flavor, smell, and effects were much different than the organic American Spirit i usually spark up. Kind of like having a food fresh for the first time after only having eaten it canned or frozen. He also had this chunk of processed tobacco (the name of which i can't remember right now, darn it!!) that we sampled. This chunk was created by wrapping tobacco leaves in palm fronds, tying the fronds closed, and twisting them tight. After some time, the result is a hard block of chocolatey-smelling substance that you shave into tiny pieces in order to smoke. This stuff was more like pipe or cigar smoke and you didn't want to inhale it. It was too thick. You can also chew it. i tried a little of it that way, but it was too intense (giving me an almost instant light-headed buzz) and i spit it out. A bit of the juice went down into my stomach, too, which made my insides pretty unhappy. So i won't be doing that again, though experiencing the buzz made me see why people might enjoy it.

He also sent us home with tobacco plant starts and seeds if we wanted them! The seed he has is called Cuban Seed (though he got them in the Dominican Republic) and he has grown them for five seasons now. i'll be trying to grow the starts in a couple different locations to see how they do, some in containers and some in the ground. Ultimately, i love the idea of cutting down smoking enough that i only smoke what i grow, but that means facing two challenges: raising the plants and smoking less. Wish me luck with both!

Smoking is a contentious issue, as the announcement of this event revealed (see here). This workshop attempted to clear the air a bit (no pun intended) and free the tobacco plant from its currently derided position, and point out that (once more) it's not nature that's at fault, but the way that humans abuse it (and by so doing, abuse themselves).

Er........nope......not this one. 12.Jul.2004 09:51

Sir Walter

I wonder how Native Americans or whoever, figured out that one could smoke tobacco, went about the process of actually knowing they could smoke this plant?
Looking at those pictures above, the tobacco plant looks similiar to other plants. I wonder how many different plants were smoked and deemed non-smokable? How many human lives were lost in the attempt to find something to smoke?
Anyway, just a thought before I have my morning coffee...................

I hate smoking and by extention smokers but... 12.Jul.2004 11:28


I would be willing to reconsider my feelings towards smoking and smokers who did as you wish to. good luck and report back

Smoking stinks 12.Jul.2004 12:12

But Johnny tomato seed Rocks

Hey Johnny, it's so great that you're promoting a connection with the environment while smoking. I mean, if people have to smoke anyway, it might as well be something they grew themselves, something not contributing to the corporate coffers of a company that built itself on addicting people to a harmful drug. Tobacco probably wouldn't be all that harmful to us if we had more respect for the whole process -- if we grew it ourselves from seed, dried it, and didn't breed super nicotine into it.

But if I could just ask you to consider one other thing. Tobacco stinks. Yuck. The smoke carries a really long way, and it stinks up other people's hair and clothes, and makes people sick. If you smoke, you probably don't realize this. Maybe you don't know just how far that smoke travels, or just how bothersome it is for people who don't smoke.

Some people are really zealots about their "right to smoke," too. They probably got that from the PR campaigns sent out by cigarette companies. In any event, they make a big political thing about puffing their smoke into other people's faces, because they think it's their "right." Well it isn't. I bet you're not like that, but many people are. Even some of the most radical people, who think for themselves on almost every other issue, allow their common sense and social consciousness to be over-ridden by their addictions. These are often people who would be totally oppopsed to some grubby factory belching out soot, or any other source of air polution. But when it comes to their own pentient for belching out air pollution into other people's faces, they won't even listen.

I became extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke during my pregnancy, and have been really bothered by it ever since. I know many other people have experienced the same thing. It literally makes me sick. Even if someone is standing at the other end of the block from me smoking, it makes my throat hurt, my eyes hurt, and my stomach ache. I'm often embarrassed to admit this, or I'm afraid of the nasty reactions people usually give me when I ask them not to smoke around me. So I often don't say anything, and people just keep puffing away and I just keep feeling sick. They don't pick up on subtle clues, like me trying to move away from them, or starting to cough, or ducking the coiling strands of smoke circling around them. But sometimes, they won't even listen when I do ask them not to smoke around me. Or if they do, they get all bent out of shape and nasty with me, for infringing on their "right" to smoke.

So please, Johnny. Remember to think about other people when smoking, even if you grew it yourself. Children are especially sensitive to the toxic effects of second hand smoke. Please don't smoke around children, ever.

Yes, smoking stinks, but 12.Jul.2004 13:08


Tobacco is to non-Native Americans as alcohol is to Native Americans. A potentially very harmful and addictive drug that people in cultures who have not evolved wide-scale behavior patterns of moderation and responsible use for it end up causing a lot of trouble for themselves with. I've heard it called Red Man's Revenge. Heh.

Not to mention the noxious Republican scum that the tobacco industry tends to favor with its campaign contributions. When he was still in the Senate, my personal term of derision for cigarette smokers (especially politically progressive ones) was "Jesse Helms' little helpers." That's one problem that growing one's own solves; it's always better to be an addict causing fewer social problems than an addict causing more of them.

Nicotine addiction seems to be dominant in Portland's DIY/punk community. Actually, in the punk/DIY community in general. At least here, people also seem to appreciate that others might not like to inhale their smoke. Really, it could be worse. Much worse.

Consider the situation in Seattle, where I found the activist community to be almost completely clueless to the idea that some of us are made sick by the second-hand smoke their habit generates; meetings in Seattle tended to be in smoky dive bars or coffeehouses (which exist there, there's no law banning smoking in restaurants in Washington state). The standard responses to my complaints were "why are you making such a fuss" and "oh, it's not that bad". I kid you not.

[Ob. Anti-Seattle Rant: In many ways, Seattle reminds me of the Deep South. Houston in particular. Totally clueless about nonsmokers, pathologically unable to build a rail transit system (and their bus system is underfunded too), consequently dependent on roads with awful traffic. But I digress.]

Can natural tobacco be a good substitute 12.Jul.2004 13:42

for the addictive brand name tobacco

I read a tobacco insiders expose on the industry's intentional manipulation of the tobacco product to ensure addicted clients and steady sales revenue. Is it possible that an organically grown verson of the natural tobacco would not be addictive? If so can one who is hooked on the manipulated tobacco product switch to an organic version and ease off the addiction gradually?

The idea intrigues me and am looking for this option for those who are addicted and want to quit.

other smokes? 12.Jul.2004 16:57

former puffer

A local shaman told me to smoke some mullein (grows here too) as it was supposed to be good for ailed me and for lungs and throat. No nicotine of course and it smelled good burning. I'm wondering if there are other herbals we can light up legally and safely. I quit tobacco more than a decade ago but sometimes want to stand around with the smokers and have a puff of something to be sociable.

Other herbal answers 12.Jul.2004 21:35

and rant

Yep. Smoking stinks. If you're gonna smoke, please don't do it around me. Seriously. My lungs need clean air, and that trumps any corporate-sponsored "right to smoke" you may think you have.

There. Having said that, thanks to Johnny for the update on homegrown tobacco. I agree that tobacco is only as dangerous as we make it, through our inability to use any good sense. Also, anything DIY is better than store bought any day.

As for other things to smoke, here's the thing. Anything you put into your lungs is not good for you. They're just not made for that. Hot, particulate substances just gum things up. That's your lungs, and the lungs of those around you. As lungs are pretty important, it's just not a good thing.

So yes, there are other things you can smoke (some really interesting things jump immediately to mind), but they're really bad on your lungs. (I didn't know about the mullein, though. You can also make tea out of it, or use it dried. Also, it makes good shoe liners. Nice and soft.)

A better suggestion is to ritualize herbs in other ways. Drinking or eating them, bathing in them, scenting rooms with them...these are just some examples. (Some of my favorite herbs to eat are those that others usually smoke...but that's a whole different story.)

Inhaling the essential oils from herbs is generally less troublesome on you than smoking them, and can be very pleasant. By that, I mean picking a spring of a favorite herb and breathing in its aroma. I don't mean opening a bottle of "herbal essence" from some trendy health food store -- that can be too powerful and just not such a good idea.

Anyway, as I said though, smoke if you will but please do not do it around me. It's not polite, it's disrespectful, and it stinks.

please don't smoke around anybody's lungs 12.Jul.2004 23:55

even if we're all too polite to ask you to stop

I'm not convinced that "children" are more fragile or sensitive to smoke or other environmental toxins than anybody else ...

It's easy for me to believe, however, that children are emphasized in pro-environmental propaganda (keep in mind that I heartily support environmentalism and pro-environmental propaganda) because the average schlub, the target of said propaganda, doesn't give a fuck about other grown-ups and barely gives a damn about his own kids.

Sad to say.

yeah 13.Jul.2004 02:50

so go to the good ol grow your own fest!!!

while all the so called big wig leaders and "anarchists" in town sit on there ass - "burnt out" (whatever that means),

slurpen down cammels.

"jokeing smokers dont you know the joker laughs at you"

kids n smoke 13.Jul.2004 09:10

and other people's lungs

I agree, I too would prefer you to choose not to smoke around anyone's lungs, especially mine. But as for children's sensitivity to smoke and other toxins, here's the deal. Children are smaller, breathe faster, have smaller lungs, and are still growing and hence still assimilating materials that they breathe and eat into important tissues in a more immediate manner than adults. So yes, they're far more sensitive to the effects of such things than are adults. Second hand smoke isn't good for anyone. But it is, indeed, particularly bad for children. If you choose to smoke around mine, I will make problems for you.

Smoking is different from Product Manufacturing 13.Jul.2004 09:44


To condemn smoking without describing or analyzing the smoke is a big mistake for us. This tactic is NOT a mistake by the Corporatocracy though.
The idea is to blame the ones doing the smoking for almost incomprehensible crimes by the manufacturing cartel. Typical cigarettes are so far removed from plain tobacco as to make it preposterous, even a lie, to call a typical product "tobacco". Indeed, according to many U.S. patents, a cig may not even contain a shred of tobacco...though they do get the measured dose of nicotine.

Whatever inherent risks even organic may present, to blame "smoking" for the health harms caused by contaminated cigarettes is a cruel scam that attacks the uninformed, unprotected, insufficiently-warned and uncompensated victims. To blame tobacco, instead of Industrially Contaminated Tobacco, for the harms is another error...or a lie if done by one who knows.

This is a long complex subject. Won't get into it all here and now.
Basically, the whole "anti-smoking" deal is a massive evasion of corporate liability by not just cig makers but all their ingredients suppliers (pesticide residues, chlorine, radiation (!), sugars, many agricultural products, plastics, adhesives, pharmaceutical products, etc etc), and all of their insurers and investors...not to mention the complicit public officials who let it all happen.
This is about secret mass poisoning of people who think and are still told they are just using tobacco.
This is about dioxin, in HIGH levels in typical chlorine contaminated products.
And it's about diseases that cannot possibly be caused by any natural plant, even burned, even the devil's own tobacco.

And it's also about the frightening prospect of ANOTHER Prohibition of another plant product...for the benefit of the same corporate interests that got the war on pot going for all these years.

See www.ktc.com/~bdrake for a good overview...AND for info on growing your own tobacco.

Boycott Them! 13.Jul.2004 11:47

cigarettes = hospital

If there was a group of multinational corporations which were deliberately selling an air polluting product which kills millions of people (often in particularly painful ways) here and around the world (including your own family members) and has lied about it and corrupted governments for it -- wouldn't you BOYCOTT those companies?

Thanks for the Healthy Dialogue 13.Jul.2004 13:18

Workshop Leader

Corporate tobacco sucks on so many levels. From the earth to the farmer to the community to the manufacture to the trade to the distribution to the smoking! Knowing tobacco is another story completely.

Besides growing your own tobacco, other smoking herbs include mullein, lavendar, and uva ursi (knicknick). There are more I am sure. And they don't gum up the lungs necessarily. There are smoking herbs like mullein that are used as medicine for bronchial conditions. Learn more before you start smoking whatever herb is out there.

The name of the big chunk of processed tobacco in the fotos is "andullo" it is usually smoked in a pipe or rolled into a cigarette.

Peace out, peoples!

for boycotting purposes 13.Jul.2004 23:37

refuse - resist

Not that most of you probably buy their stuff, but make sure your family/friends know that RJ Reynolds owns Kraft Foods, which makes bazillions of brands found at Safeway, Albertsons, Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, and other corporate megamarts.

Cigarette companies mass marketing processed food. Yum. Not.

this is ridiculous 14.Jul.2004 02:53

tobacco is bad for you -- deal with it

I look forward to future articles on indymedia on growing coke in our organic backyard gardens and cooking meth and crack in our own cozy kitchens.

stuff that people smoke 14.Jul.2004 16:44


it is NOT good to smoke anything, as others have stated, but if you're gonna...i have known people who have successfully quit smoking by mixing some of these hergs (usually sage and catnip-which is calming) into their rolling tobacco, and gradually increasing the ratio of herbs to tobacco until eventually they were smoking NO tobacco at all and then they quit. but i have also known people who have quit awhile ago pick up smoking again as a result of smoking anything (the tobacco addiction is ritualistic like that).

anway...some stuff that can be smoked that is not tobacco:
lavender (flowers and leaves)
hops (warning..will get you high for a few minutes)
mullien (do NOT mix with tobacco)
and of course, the illegal grass.

do NOT smoke cloves, they are harsher on your lungs than tobacco and cause cancer QUICKLY. although of course, if you're goth like that, death is the point...right?

How far from criminalization of tobacco use??? 14.Jul.2004 20:24

Tobacco user

Wow, how far are we from criminalization of smoking within city limits???

Looks like the "public health" propaganda demonizing smoke has been swallowed whole by some people. Ready for a whole 'nother drug war?

drug war smug war 14.Jul.2004 22:37


The US plutocracy fighting a drug war on corprate tobbaco? (IE itself?)
i doubt it

Your denial is showing 15.Jul.2004 09:44

to "tobacco user"

Hey dude. It's not "propaganda," it's the fact that your smoke makes us sick. That's just how it is. I'm really tired of tobacco addicts blaming me, or the government, or whatever, for their inability to use good sense and show some respect for those of us who care what we breathe in.

I applaud the original article for pointing out a more ecologically sound way to do something lots of people are doing anyway. And I applaud many of the posts here, for opening up an interesting dialogue. But the reactionary mindlessness of a few addicts here is annoying. Face it: You're addicted and you're reacting from that. I understand. But don't be blaming me. Blame nicotice. Blame tobacco companies. Blame yourself. Whatever. And just keep your damn smoke OUT of my face. I'm not gonna be nice about it anymore.

Sounds like we're not far from prohibition 15.Jul.2004 12:53

Tobacco user

My question was:
"How far from criminalization of tobacco use???
Wow, how far are we from criminalization of smoking within city limits???"

Now that many are believing that tobacco smoke is **magically** dangerous and toxic, it seems that we're getting close.

Comments on some comments... 16.Jul.2004 15:08


This is sometimes a difficult point to get across. No matter what one says about gov't and corporate corruption and even homicidal, fraudulent activities in those areas, the responses often spring right back to "smoking is bad". You can tell some people that some businesses have secretly poisoned MILLIONS of people and are getting away with it...and they will fog out, yawn, and revert to the "anti smoking" rap...as seen on corporate TV. "Smoking" is NOT the large issue here.
So...a few points re/ some of the above comments.
* "Your Denial" said something about "your smoke". Well, it's not really a smoker's fault, is it, if the person was not told about or protected from the VERY deadly industrial stuff in cigs, all nicely disguised by heaps of flavors, scents, aromas and etc. THis is about INDUSTRY's Smoke. But...it's so much easier and fun to beat up on a "rude", swindled, relatively powerless smoker. Who wants to mess with Big Pesticides and Chlorine and the rest? Let them kill as they please.

* "Drug War Smug..." thought that it was silly to imagine that corporate interests would be fighting other corprorate interests...like big cig. Au Contraire. NO ONE is really fighting Big Cig. The establishment is PRETENDING to do so. This is like the fake battle between two parts of the Business Party. Like Pro Wrestling. Big Cig isn't questioned about or outed for ANY of the deadly cig additives and adulterants, it isn't outed for the fake tobacco, it isn't outed for dioxin and radiation in the smoke, it isn't outed for using sugars etc etc to lure the kids, it isn't asked to pay a PENNY to tricked/poisoned consumers...and it's allowed to CONTINUE adulterating the products with whatever they wany...WITHOUT telling anyone. Big Cig has saved not billions but TRILLIONS of dollars precisely from the fake "anti smoking" scam. Did you know that "settlement" money in EVERY state is permitted to go BACK to the cig industry?...paid not by big cig in the first place but by victims.

* "...Ridiculous" said that "tobacco smoke is bad". It's ridiculous to believe the corporate media on this. What's "bad"? HOW bad? NOTHING on earth is 100% safe. Where anywhere is a STUDY of tobacco smoke? We got bargeloads of "studies" of "cigarette" smoke etc...but NOTHING about plain tobacco smoke. Such a study would devestate the adulterated cig biz. How on earth then to compare effects of tobacco to the KNOWN deadly effects of typical multi-ingredient cigs?? To blame tobacco is to blame Mother Nature and to let the corporate perps off the hook. Why do you think the entire corporatocracy uses cig industry language about "tobacco industry" and "tobacco smoke" and etc?

* "Boycotting" ---it's not RJR and Kraft...it's Philip Morris...maker of Marlboros which, as Wall Street Journal once reported, contain a whopping 12.3% SUGAR! No wonder the kids love em. Sugar still there despite concerns about kids smoking. No testing done on safety of smoking burned sugar. Sugar industry still not invited to "smoking" hearings to explain. This can be cane, corn and/or beet sugars so...we're now talking about major Agricultural Conglomerates...who also haven't been seen at any smoking hearings. They ARE seen, however, giving public officials lots of money.
By the way...this sugar doesn't include Artificial Sweeteners from our healtful Pharmaceutical Industry.

* re/ Boycotts....if you boycott a racist transit system, as was done in Montgomery, you can walk or drive. If you boycott industrially adulterated cigarettes, you have the "choice" of growing your own or paying through the teeth for the rare few Organic Tobacco products, if available near you.
Boycotting isn't the way to go here. Better route would be to challenge EVERY "smoking" story or fake rap from officials etc that fails to describe the damn products. If they say "tobacco does this or that", ask for the studies. If they give you a "study" of "cigarettes"...that's not what you wanted. Ask about DIOXIN in cig smoke. That makes them nervous. Ask about burn accelerants added, and addiction enhancers and pesticide residues. Boycott any entity that purports to be "anti smoking" but which refuses to be anti industrial manufacturing processes.
Ask your public officials to boycott the industries that are PART of the cig cartel. You may also wish to boycott your HEALTH insurer if it is one of many that invest in cig manufacturing. Here's links to that sadly unopened scandal.
If that site is a problem...see same material at:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IllinoisGreensTalk/message/1221?source=1

Now...where's that ol' Peace Pipe....?

Title? Industrial vs. Nature's Product: Tobacco 01.May.2005 21:22

mkcrbl mkcrbl@yahoo.ca

There are interesting comments for this "Report-back from Growing Your Own Tobacco Workshop" article by Johnny Tomatoseed.

NON-SMOKERS: I somewhat disagree with those telling others not to smoke, or at least not nearby. The very latter is certainly fine and to be [respected], but whether people smoke, or not, is a personal choice; therefore, all smokers should and rather need to do is to simply and respectfully honour the requests of non-smokers. I definitely have no problems with that, and it's been my way, preference from very early on, when I started smoking around 35 years ago.

HOW TO STOP SMOKING: Indeed, this can be done and without going on special diets, or doing anything complicated. This smoker stopped for around a decade and it was tough getting to stop; having then been a smoker of strong Canadian Players cigs, high in nicotene, rendering the ability to simply stop basically impossible. I stopped once, but after around seven days was so grumpy that my mother couldn't stand me and said to get back to smoking. And that's what I immediately did. Another try was attempted some months later, and this time it took only five days, before being told to get back to smoking. Again, it's what I did. However, the desire to quit returned, and remembering those first two attempts caused me to instead switch to the lower nicotene brand available. That got me accustomed to consuming much less nicotene, and after maybe two months, when I would have otherwise stopping at a store to purchase cigs, well, the need was no longer felt and so I kept driving. And, that time, I had no real plan in mind to stop; the idea having come to mind as I was approaching the store, and likely because my addiction had seriously dropped.

That was the sole trick that this very nicotene addict needed in order to be able to stop smoking, and very easy is this path.

Returned to smoking after that long break: Indeed, I did. Looking for work, lack of employment stability and related anxiety, and spending hours traveling -- alone -- for job interviews, well, one day the thought came to mind to have a smoke, and so I stopped to pick up a pack of cigs. Within a year, or less, I came across purely natural cigs and the "Indian Spirit" brand. Those were interesting to me for I had already learned of all of the industrial corruption, poisoning of tobacco products, so I explored this brand, and eventually came across their not only purely natural but also their organically grown brand or alternative.

SOME INTERESTING ATTRIBUTES DISCOVERED with that brand of cigs, including with their non-filter variety. Firstly, I was not having the nicotene addiction problem that I had had with Players; being able to go without smoking for long periods of time and without any addiction kicking in, personality-wise anyway. The industrial brands used a hybrid tobacco plant, one with much more nicotene than natural tobacco has. Secondly, natural tobacco does not burn by itself; as opposed to industrial, turpentined brands, which burn regardless of whether they're smoked, or not, just left laying in an ashtray after being lit. Indian Spirits went out by themselves, and burned much more slowly; lasting several times, if not more, longer than industrial brands did.

The organic was great, but sometimes expensive; however, I came to learn, by asking various merchants carrying this brand, that the organic was often-enough very affordable.

Well, actually, the organic was not prepackaged cigs; it was obtained in either pouches or cans of loose tobacco that needed to be rolled. I had previously switched from the prepackaged to the purely natural but roll-your-own, and this is what led to eventually learning about the organic alternative. A 50g pouch lasted me around five days, at a cost of around $3; and the organic, when it was more expensive, nevertheless was obtaining for $5 per pouch, sometimes $6. With that kind of price and a pouch lasting me five days, the cost just could not be important; being [much] less than smoking prepackaged cigs, which cost between $3 and $3.50 per pack of twenty cigs. I don't know how much the cans contained but figure likely 200g, and these were obtained at first for $9 and then $10.

That was inexpensive, as well as a far healthier way to smoke tobacco. And I definitely no longer had nicotene addiction problems with that brand. The same also applies to other Native American brands that I smoked for a shorter period but nevertheless a year or so; getting these on a reservation in upstate NY, next to the Saint Lawrence seaway; forgetting the name, given it's been roughly six years since I was last able to go, albeit perhaps Akwasasne. I believe the latter did not grow the tobacco and were reselling brands from an Indian reservation in the southern part of the Adirondacks, not far from Syracuse I believe.

Those were all purely natural, sometimes organic, and I have absolutely no problem recommending natural tobacco to anyone who wishes to or does consume.

NIC. BAD? As someone else mentioned, here, too much of anything healthy is also bad. Over the past year, I learned that it is seriously believed that some nicotene is deemed healthy, that it can help to prevent alzheimer's disease.

Nicotene cancerous? Yes and no. Heck, most if not all things we eat for food contains natural carcinogens. Again over the last year, or maybe a little before, I learned that scientists have discovered that there is a carcinogenic element in tomatoes; however, the amount is little and thought to be insufficient in terms of actually causing cancer to develop.

WHAT ABOUT TAR BEING CARCINOGENIC? I did not see any mention of the tar element of tobacco, in any of the comments posted with regards to this article of Johnny Tomatoseed. Tar at least used to be said to be carcinogenic, and yet I've known people who smoked for sixty years and never developed health problems due to smoking. And all of those I knew and did develop cancer, well, they were very heavy smokers, going through three and four packs of cigs a day, every day, and for a very considerable number of years. I don't know if it was the tar, the nicotene, or the industrial chemical additives that was really responsible for those cancers, but the industrial additives definitely were to be very carefully and honestly analysed in these terms; and that was not done. If those additives were the most real cause, then the manufacturers have gotten away with murdering many people; and that would also apply if the cancers were caused by the much higher nicotene content of those hybrid tobacco plants. I don't think that they also increased the tar content by any means, but they did for the addictive nicotene, in addition to not growing without extremely toxic, poisonous chemicals for pesticides and possibly herbicides.

NOT DIRECTLY BUT NEVERTHELESS RELATED-ENOUGH: Want to get a real idea of how extremely bad, dangerous and deadly pesticides are? Read the following:

"Support the banana workers affected by the Nemagon pesticide!",
 http://www.nicanet.org/labor/banana_workers.php ,
and if you prefer to go to the article via the home page, then the link is near the top of the page, under "Action Alerts", centered, horizontally,  http://www.nicanet.org .

That apocalyptic scale nightmare of a human plight is again due to U.S. corporations and government foreign policies. And there are too many other damning examples in the world for the above story to be justly believed to be incredible, as opposed to truthful. And it's banana workers in Nicaragua as well as in other countries producing this fruit.

That is [genocidal] murder, and the U.S. government is [protecting] the guilty corporations; although the government is criminal for that, as well as for not seeing to Human Rights. I don't believe that the Book of Revelations, Apocalypse of John -- purportedly but credibly not Apostle John -- is to be interpreted in ways other than as warnings about human nature and potential, however what those Nicaraguan banana workers are going through, and have been for a long time, under extreme censorship, well, now that is APOCALYPTIC in scale for them; undeniably so.

We can also apply that with respect to the cigarette industry.

TOBACCO'S ANTI-VIRAL QUALITY: Tobacco smoke is -- purportedly anyway -- anti-viral, against air-borne virii or viruses. This was told to me by an individual I came to know over the past several years, and who has many tidbits of knowledge that is not of common awareness. However, I also recall a period of months back in 1998, maybe 1999, during which there was a serious and contagious fever affecting people of Connecticut, some area thereof anyway; and MDs reported that of all of the people they saw and treated for this fever, none were smokers. I don't know if fever is caused by germ or virus, but none of the patients were smokers.

Could that be an impertinent coincidence? I guess maybe, but the above fever case strikes me as worthy of careful investigation, to determine whether consuming tobacco indeed protected smokers from catching that "bug", or at least developing fever because of the "bug". If that indeed was the case, then it's a plus to be aware of. If it's not the case, then the coincidence could nevertheless be pertinent; maybe MDs were saying that only on -- secret -- behalf of tobacco industry interests. And, yet, because of what this indivdual I've come to know over the past several years said makes plausible sense, well, maybe those MDs were not lying in any way whatsoever.

On the other hand, tobacco contains a natural insect/pest-icide, so this lends all the more credibility to tobacco smoke being anti-viral, too; not for all viruses, for some do attack tobacco -- I believe anyway. And if this natural insect/pest-icide gets transformed into something with a different effect, from burning tobacco, then maybe it's the tar or nicotene, or some other element of natural tobacco, which serves as anti-viral when tobacco is burned.

Tobacco does have medicinal qualities, albeit without requiring that it be smoked or burned, whereas I don't know about when smoking tobacco. However, I know enough about smoking it to be aware that natural tobacco was not a problem, before being poisonously contaminated by Big Tobacco corporations and fascist lunatics.

ALTERNATIVES TO TOBACCO; BESIDES STOPPING SMOKING? The Bidis sold in many-enough tobacco shops are a sweet alternative, although finding that with the small ones; the larger ones being too strong for my tastes. And these are made with eucalyptus leaf, which I learned contains neither tar nor nicotene. The small ones were sweet and I only stopped smoking them due to them being a little too short for my tastes, and the larger, longer ones being too strong.

There's also an alternative Indian Spirit brand named "Pow Wow", and which contains absolutely no tobacco, or virtually none anyway. It's made up of different herbs, and it tasted fine to me; however, being a cigarette smoker, rather than pipe, this alternative became a faut pas for me; it's not rollable, certainly not easily anyway.

ROLLING PAPER SELECTION FOR IDEALLY ALL CIGS BUT AT LEAST PEOPLE WHO ROLL THEIR OWN: Many manufacturers employ toxic chemicals in the producation of rolling papers, and some use wood-derived paper, while others use rice-derived. I believe that both Zig-Zag and Rizzla use the latter kind of paper, and believe that at least Rizzla uses no toxic chemicals. Rizzla also came out -- recently I believe -- with a super thin choice in silver/grey coloured covering, and appearing -- to my naked eye -- to be maybe half as thick as the prior -- and continuing -- and blue coloured option.

Absolutely no toxic chemicals should be found in any part of tobacco products, whether they're industrially manufactured or home-made.

PEOPLE INTERESTED IN BRANDS LIKE INDIAN SPIRIT BUT WANTING LESS EXPENSIVE can simply do a Web search and seek the website of the Indian tribe in the aforementioned southern or south-western part or area of Algonquin Park. I checked out their website two or three years ago and online ordering was available. I haven't ordered, for having been driving into rather literally being more bankrupt than only bankrupt, into total, complete bankruptcy and beyond repair -- so far anyway --, well, I have no credit cards and they're rather required for online ordering. However, the prices I paid on the Indian reservation in upstate NY were very acceptable, around $14 per carton of prepackaged cigs. And I at least seem to recall that they were also entirely natural; having no chemical additives.

That, however, does not mean that the paper used for making those cigs are chemical-free, while we can choose the paper we want to use when we roll our own. People who want filters but don't want to be tubes for making cigs can simply get a package of filters and insert them into a hand-rolled cig.

TOBACCO INDUSTRY & DRUG WAR, RELATED? I doubt that, and very much; after all, there really is no competition. Big Pharma, though, surely; although also more than just them being at fault. After all, the government is the most at fault with this extremely deceitful, corrupt, criminal, imperialistic drug war, and I doubt that it's only in the sense of protecting Big Pharma interests. That clearly is a factor, as clearly as it is in the case of the U.S. government ensuring that dirt poor Africans, among people of other countries, cannot legally have access to generic HIV/AIDS pharmaceuticals that both exist and are far less expensive than Big Pharma products. I read very recent article over the past few days and in it was stated that while the U.S. government has allowed various countries to develop and domestically sell such crucial generic medication, they are not allowed to sell internationally.

That renders the government the most at fault, for Big Pharma is only at fault for being Big Temptor, while the government greedily, and corporatistically fascistically accepts the morally criminal temptations; and then enforces, including brutally and genocidally, as per already some of the above points, and the nicanet.org article, among [many] other real examples.

Tobacco being a major killer, more than ..., ..., ..., all combined, as someone noted in this page? Try industrial and thereby toxically contaminated tobacco products, which are [extremely] far from comparable to natural tobacco; while all the more so if we, either, roll our own with non-chemically treated rolling paper, or smoke with a pipe, or as per cigar, which has no paper wrapper but leaf.

WHY NOT MAKE CIGS AS CIGARS & BIDIS ARE? I don't know why none have made cigarettes as cigars are, with leaf wrapper instead of paper; and the same applying with Indian -- India -- Bidis, which also have no paper content or part, only leaf. If I was to grow my own tobacco, then I'd give it a try, to make paper-less cigs. And if that failed for any reason I am not thinking of, then an attempt could be made to grow eucalyptus and blend it with tobacco, while using leaf from the former to wrap the blend in. The latter might alternatively lead to ceasing tobacco and smoking only eucalyptus leaf, but I'd give the blend a try.

ALTERNATIVES, MORE: Mint, I seem to recall, can also be used in such blends, and there are numerous other herbs. To get an idea of smokeable herbs, numerous enough, check out the ingredients of the Indian Spirit "Pow Wow", non-tobacco, blend. When I purchased a pouch of that, likely all of the different herbs in the blend must have been listed on the package, for I recall that they were quite numerous. Those provide absence of tar and nicotene, both; however, maybe the anti-viral nature of smoking tobacco would make using some in such blending worthwhile. I really don't mind not getting flues due to air-borne viruses, and appreciate the anti-viral nature of tobacco. Some air-borne viruses can be seriously unhealthy, some potentially deadly, and if smoking tobacco stops those from acting on us, then "Power to tobacco".

I'm not sure which variety of mint, but believe to recall it was spearming, yet while seeming to also recall that other varieties can also be smoked, or at least included in blends to be smoked.

The Pow Wow blend may have also contained catnip and some or all of the other alternatives already mentioned in this page, but I didn't recognise these names, the latter ones; except for having previously read that catnip can be smoked.

And what about HEMP for an alternative? They say that the THC level is too low to be effective, but while leaving it rather inherently implied that it can nevertheless be smoked. On the other hand, the hemp crops that I have seen in this part of Quebec did not have much for leaf; however, maybe there'd be more leaf if the plants were spaced out more. I believe that it's at www.tobaccoseed.co.uk/howtogrow.htm that I read earlier today about tobacco plants needing to be adequately spaced apart, for the leaves to grow larger, and maybe the same applies with hemp. I don't know what the hemp farmer is growing for, but if it's only for hemp seeds, say, then perhaps the dense cropping, almost so close together that the field begins to resemble a hay or grains field, is only for the seeds, in which case the leaves would not be needed.

HEMP, if like marijuana anyway, contains tar but no nicotene. And the leaves can surely be included at least in a blend.

SMOKE BAD FOR LUNGS? Likely, I assume; however, smoking in moderation and only natural tobacco is not problematic, unless people are allergic of course. Continues below, immediately; only that I wanted to also render the following under a more precise heading.

TOBACCO SMOKE & ASTHMATICS, A REAL SOLUTION FOR THE INTERESTED: They, if they not averse to the idea anyway, can smoke marijuana, if they're not also allergic to this. I knew a friend long ago and his sister was asthmatic; being able to be around neither tobacco smoke nor cats, because of the cat fur; and one day she got a legal prescription from her personal physician, for marijuana, and the way I learned of that was when she told us to go ahead and light up, meaning cigarettes. We all carefully respect that condition of hers and were very surprised when she to light up cigarettes, and while we were several jammed in a car, with all windows closed, and most of the occupants being tobacco smokers. I asked her if she was nuts and that's when she told me about this medical prescription; no longer did tobacco smoke and cats bother her. Before, those two elements, or either one of them, being present around her automatically sent her into asthmatic attacks, but no longer, with her smoking marijuana, and very moderately too.

Around four years ago, I met another individual who had a similar -- rather identical -- condition as the above woman, and smoking marijuana provided the same effect for him; therefore, not only do I concretely know about her case being entirely true, I also have concrete confirmation that she was not an exception. That fellow told me that the reason smoking marijuana has the effect for asthmatics is because the smoke of this plant of "Mother Nature" and God's Creational Works, He having necessarily Created her and defined all of her laws too, well, it's due to the smoke opening up the lungs considerably more and/or the pores of the lungs; one or both of those reasons, and being unable to verify with him, not having seen him for at least a couple of years.

A CURRENT REALITY ANECDOTE, ILLEGAL TOBACCO TRAFFICKING: Presently, in Quebec, Canada, and possibly other provinces but while having only learned of the Quebec story, so far, well, there's quite major illegal trafficking of tobacco, pouch and other bulk loose forms, as well as cigarettes. This is major in Montreal, and the tobacco is so inexpensive that it's not worth bothering with growing our own, unless, fe, it's to grow a different variety, such as Turkish, say, or to ensure that absolutely no chemicals whatsoever are used. A carton of prepackaged cigs is going for around $22, and loose, roll-your-own tobacco considerably less expensive.

What's with this anecdote? It's all of the hypocrisy that's involved, and store merchants, sellers of Big Tobacco cigs, understandably, business-wise, but wrongly complaining about this illegal trafficking.

The governments of Canada, and certainly that of Quebec, have been strongly moving towards greatly reducing the places where smokers can consume, and the Canadian government has set major taxation, making packages now priced at around $7. Given that the government has stated that the high taxation is much for getting consumers to stop, well, the government thus has inherently stated that it does not care about the taxation being lost, once most or all consumers would stop; therefore, it has not honest business in complaining about the loss of taxation due to this welcome trafficking.

The store merchants are more understandable, for they of course need to sell their merchandise in order to earn income. However, it's kind of nonsensical of them to complain about this trafficking; given the above about the government(s), them wanting to try to force, coerce smokers into stopping. That action on the part of the governments has caused some -- maybe many -- consumers to stop, being unable to afford the high prices, and if this trafficking was not going on, then ever more people would come to stop. After all, the store bought cigs are simply too expensive for most people. [Many] consumers smoke a pack a day, and at $7 or anything close, consumers will ever more come to stop. One way or the other, these merchants would lose business and thus revenu; therefore, "why not instead and simply replace cig. sales with something else?".

AGAIN, THE REAL PROBLEM HAS NOT BEEN TOBACCO: The whole problem all along has not been tobacco, but the extremely criminal poisoning of industrial tobacco products, and their use of the high-nicotene hybrid variety; the latter to ensure that consumers would become certainly addicted, nicotene being the addictive element but very little present in natural tobacco. And they added turpentine as a burn-aid additive, to ensure that cigs would burn once lit, regardless of whether they're smoke or not. Those are only two criminal matters, among many more, in the products of Big Tobacco, for cigs anyway. They also added amonia, I believe to recall anyway; however, I have no idea why.

SMOKERS vs NON-SMOKERS, AGAIN: Stop the feuding and simply [respect] each other, sanely, soundly. NON-SMOKERS, do not approach smokers if you don't want to be bothered by smoke. SMOKERS, do not approach or remain smoking next to non-smokers, particularly when they make it justly clear that they don't want to be smoked. And NONE, no one, should dare support the Big Tobacco gangsters who run corporations extremely guilty of rather genocidal commercialism. That means no support via stock ownership, and no purchasing of their products.

I have [never] had any problems in the latter respect, having early-on learned to carefully respect non-smokers; and I'd never want to be any other way, as well as also have tolerance limits with smoke. I worked at a bank in which there was a smokers' lounge in the basement, and that room filled up, opaquely with smoke during winter, so bad that this smoker took his smoking outdoors. A little smoke is one thing, to be smothered in it is another.

And NON-SMOKERS might benefit from hanging around smokers during flu seasons, when the flu is due to air-borneness anyway.

Also, NON-SMOKERS should carefully realise that the second-hand smoke health problem that has been a major story is really related to industrially corrupted, poisonous tobacco products, for they were by far the most commonly consumed. They were very dangerous for smokers, and surely would be for non-smokers breathing in the smoke. Meanwhile, natural tobacco was not dangerous for smokers and likely would not be for non-smokers.

TOXIC & AWFULLY PERVASIVE AIR POLLUTION: It is a far graver problem than tobacco smoke; particularly purely natural tobacco, which cannot even be remotely compared in a sound manner. There have been ever more reports about how the number of Americans developing asthma has been rather extremely on the rise, and only due to toxic air pollution. And the problem is not only air pollution in the general sense, but also industrial household chemical substances. However, even those are surely -- often anyway -- breathed in and thus via air-borneness.

And do you realise that much air pollution has been rather and extremely criminally imposed, by corporatistically fascistic government, and the petroleum and automobile industies? Did you realise that? Everyone should. Back in the latter part of the 1960s an individual came up with a little invention that provided extremely welcome fuel efficiency; instead of getting maybe 15 mpg, this additional device provided the effect of around 60 or 65 mpg. Ford had installed the device in one of its car models, maybe the Baracuda, but am not sure to recall exactly which; and within the span of less than a year recalled all of those cars, to remove that device.

Was that recall because the device presented a real and serious danger? I don't know, but suspsect not; and if it was the cause, then there was surely a way to make it work in a safe way.

Far more likely is that the recall was to work aligned with the petroleum industry. Selling four times less fuel certainly made a huge difference in terms of profits; and definitely made a huge difference in terms of air pollution, but which far less mattered, compared to profits.

Nope, in my opinion, that was just ever more corporatistic fascism at work, and humanity has plenty of documented history to learn from such that we should, today, be able to rather easily discern when this is the kind of activity that is either going on, or likely to be. After all, humans have not essentially changed; we've developed technologies, bla bla bla, but have not essentially changed, and certainly have not improved. During the past two centuries, we have done extremely far more damage than ever before and all of the latter combined; and that very obviously is [not] progress. We have absolutely not progressed, except in ways that rather are awfully too insignificant, overall. How have we progressed, and while this applies only to [some] of us? By learning from history, critically and soundly. However, while we have that case, it nevertheless is too insignificant; it's important and welcome but nonetheless too insignificant. After all, these sound members of humanity don't have the temporal order power to really effect sound changes.

And that is partly why David Suzuki has been very welcomely pushing, emphasising his "Sacred Balance" concept; it indeed is crucial to think and live in those terms, that sense. However, as sound as he is in that, and much else, he does not have the temporal power to effect change; only being able to try to influence people to adopt this line of outlook. After that, time is unfortunately required, for enough people to come to soundly understand that he [is] right and that we need to emphasise that our governments need to correct themselves. Yet, it seems likely to me that we are not going to meet this challenge, for far too many continue to rather completely and disgustingly reject Life-critical/crucial "Sacred Balance".

In that, he includes mention of primitives living with the religious belief system known as anemism, anemists. This western Christian once laughed at such belief, when taking a course in pre-Socrates philosophy; however, this individual has since come to perceive those people are far saner than by far most westerners, who claim to live in "civilised" world. Whereas those anemists have great respect for Nature and the spiritual, living strictly or at least strongly in conformity, we have been pillaging and destroying this world; ourselves and our environment. Those primitives are closer to Christian than most Christians think them/our-selves to be.

FOR CHRISTIANS & ANYONE INTERESTED: JESUS, CHRIST, OR OF NAZARETH, & HUMAN CONSUMPTION: I don't recall where I read this on the Web, but did over the past year or so, and it's His answer with regards to human consumption; a very general question and response, albeit the question may have been a little less general, and rather in reference to people consuming either liquor or "Mother Nature" medicinals, drugs. Jesus replied -- surely somewhat paraphrased -- that it does not matter what enters us, what we consume; instead, what does matter is what leaves, comes out of us, what we say and do; fine or excellent when what we say or do is of sane and just order; else not, for then we do wrong. He thus left it clear that He was not going to make a case out of self-infliction matters; while He'd surely recommend against, He would not bother with crusading. That, He did, with respect to temporal Empire'ing; having been strongly against that order of human conduct. He was "dead set" against Imperialism; and both of these aspects strike this human and Christian as at least very or extremely plausible, for this one has ample concrete experience with and knowledge of both.

This is a Christian human who could not act against illegal tobacco traffickers, marijuana cultivators, sellers and consumers, and so on; including for Natural cocaine and opiate derivatives. Opiates are very addictive, but Big Pharma provides some; see ""What is OxyContin?",
 http://health.howstuffworks.com/question706.htm . And if that page has since changed, then do a search of the website using 'Oxycontin', say. It's Rush Limbaugh's favourite, and he's thus rather equivalent to any heroin addict; while natural cocaine is not really addictive, not physically anyway.

Yet, opiates are Nature's product, somewhat refined, but heroin and opium being quite naturally-so. Morphine is a Big Pharma product and, based on what I was told, an opiate, one as addictive as heroin.

Pure, natural cocaine, if addictive at all, barely is, and marijuana, as well as derivatives like hash, a concentrated form, really are [not] addictive. I know, being a consumer for over thirty years, and having also stopped consuming these around the same time that I ceased tobacco and not entirely but much with respect to liquor. Even liquor has not been really addictive for me; the main problem is isolation, living more-or-less monastically, and this solitude being difficult to avoid but also difficult to bear when having little else that I can feasibly do; due to having been driving into beyond bankruptcy status. When I'm with other people, socialising, there are no addictive symptoms, loving to socialise and it providing ample high sort-of effect.

People have been pervasively mislead and too many stick with those false beliefs, likely out of not knowing enough from personal experience. When we don't have that, then it is easy to be misled.

But, and again, non-smokers and smokers need to respect each other; the former should not be aggressed with our smoke, and if we cannot refrain from smoking, then we should stay away from non-smokers who don't want the second-hand smoke. That is not much to ask, quite little really.

Mike Corbeil
-- not to be confounded with the many others with the same name, and certainly not the Canadian MP, whom I have plenty to disagree with about