Kicking the tobacco habit
March 24, 2015
To the Editor, We live in a very legalistic era, so much so that people spend time sorting out what they can do and what they can’t do, leaving very little time to do what they should do. Lately much time has been devoted on should marijuana be legalized or not? I am not a supporter of marijuana, nor am I a supporter of the use of tobacco. Speaking from experience, in my mid 20s I worked in the tobacco fields in Delhi. I not only worked there, but I lived with the family I worked for. This gave me a tremendous advantage as I was able to gain first-hand knowledge of the industry. Work started early in the morning. The first operation is called suckering. The plants had reached their height so the top was snapped off. Down the stock of tobacco grows what are called suckers. These leaves would not mature into viable leave so were removed by a downward motion of both hands. About every 30 feet, it was necessary to scoop a handful of sand and treat it as a hand wash to remove the sticky tar substance from your hands so you could drop the leaves on the ground. Our crew handled 30 acres plus another 15 acres on a joint ownership. The actual tobacco cropping started at bottom of the plant removing the sand leaves which were very low in tobacco quality. As the tobacco leaves matured, they were picked accordingly. I won’t continue in detail concerning the process of drying and storage. In my observation, the tobacco plant is a producer of nicotine that is grown for profit but can be a killer. Of note, not one of the longtime workers in our crew smoked. When you assess the contrast between marijuana and tobacco as to a product injurious to health, how do they rate? How much tax profit-wise is made from every carton of cigarettes that are covered with warnings to the smokers? Was tobacco made legal? I am not criticizing those that smoke but would do all I can that is possible to have them kick the habit and have better health. It would put less financial burden on our health system.