Tobacco

Photo of Mamie Neugent
David Spear

​In the late 1980s and early 90s, North Carolina photographer David Spear spent several years documenting the lives of his neighbors, the Neugents.

The family owned a tobacco farm in Rockingham County, and his photos depicted their attempts to keep their tobacco farm alive at a time when many others were dying. He described the Neugents as "fabulous people" who "raise hell, and they don't try to hide it."

There are signs that transgender people could serve openly in the United States military within the next year.
The U.S. Army / Flickr Creative Commons

A report from the Department of Defense says more service members are being diagnosed with eating disorders.

The stresses of combat and the military's physical requirements have driven some troops to anorexic and bulimic behaviors. Some of them say the military offers little help, and many do not report their conditions. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with KUOW military reporter Patricia Murphy about her reporting as part of the American Homefront Project.

The Army's first ever "Health of the Force" report found that about a third of all soldiers use tobacco, and many have other health issues that affect their performance.

A picture of a man using an e-cigarette.
www.vaping360.com / Vaping3650/Flickr

The number of underage teens who smoke cigarettes has dropped since regulators began imposing stiff advertising restrictions in the 1970s. But a new report from the Centers for Disease Control says the number of young people who say they're exposed to ads for electronic cigarettes has skyrocketed.

A cigarette in an ashtray.
Tomasz Sienicki / Wikipedia

Nicotine is about as addictive as heroin. It is also about as hard to kick, according to Dr. James Davis of the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation.

His organization is participating in the Race To Quit, NC campaign this week to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking, and to point smokers to resources.

A picture of a flooded New Jersey pumpkin patch.
Jackie / Wikipedia

The worst of the stormy weather has passed. But Brian Long of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the trouble is still ahead for farmers.

"Unfortunately, the impacts are on some of the crops that are major for North Carolina: Peanuts, sweet potatoes, cotton, tobacco, soybeans, in particular. And then you think about farmers, such as pumpkin farmers, that this is the time of year when their crop is in demand, and we're hearing some reports of pumpkins, you know, actually just floating in water in fields."

A picture of a pack of Newport cigarettes.
Officer / Wikipedia

Reynolds American and the Lorillard Tobacco Company are expected to approve a $27.4 billion buyout at shareholders' meetings later this month. The move is part of a new generation of smoking where rolled cigarettes are giving way to e-cigarettes, raising the question of whether tobacco will actually be a part of Tobacco Road in the future. Host Frank Stasio talks with Richard Craver, reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal, and Andrew Brod, economics professor at UNC-Greensboro, about the evolution of the tobacco industry in North Carolina.

Frank Stasio talked live with Congressman Howard Coble 12/16/2014.
Ivan Saul Cutler / Governor Morehead Forum for Economic Development

  At 83, Congressman Howard Coble is retiring and leaving Capitol Hill after 30 years. 

Stanley Hughes
Leoneda Inge

The federal tobacco buyout program has officially ended.  The last of the tobacco buyout checks are being distributed this month.

The program, officially known as the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP),  was started to help farmers transition from the Depression-era quota system to the free market. 

North Carolina has fared pretty well during the transition:

A package of Zonnic gum
cigarettesreporter.com

It might seem counterintuitive: a tobacco giant jumping into the pharmaceutical market. But with the national launch of Zonnic, Reynolds American thinks it can redefine an area typically controlled by drug companies.

Zonnic is Reynolds's nicotine gum. It sells for cheaper than other nicotine gums, and comes with the marketing muscle of the company responsible for Camel and Pall Mall. Reynolds has been testing Zonnic for two years in Iowa and Nebraska, and has determined its time to go national.

For decades, ten of thousands of workers walked in to the American Tobacco Company in Durham each day.  This is the story of one of those who stayed the longest.  Annie Lou Andrews is 92 years old. She is the second woman to work in a supervisory role at American Tobacco. She says her first day in leadership, you could feel the tension; the office was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. "I thought, 'uh-oh,'" she says. She spoke with Phoebe Judge.

Jim Dollar/Flickr

Note: This is a rebroadcast of a show that aired June 25, 2014.

Federal law permits children to work in agriculture from younger ages and for longer hours than any other industry.

Robin Koval is making a career of her changed tobacco habit.

"I'm a child of a smoker — my father was a heavy smoker," Koval says. "Really typical to the way the story goes, I started smoking when I was 15."

Now she is president and CEO of Legacy, a foundation devoted to preventing tobacco use.

    

Reynolds American and Lorillard, two of the country’s biggest tobacco producers, announced a merger yesterday that is expected to reshape the tobacco industry. 

A picture of a pack of Newport cigarettes.
Officer / Wikipedia

Reynolds American plans to acquire Lorillard as part of a $27 billion merger. The deal would bring together the second- and third-largest tobacco companies in America.

Reynolds owns the popular Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes, but now they stand to acquire Lorillard's iconic Newport brand.

Reynolds President Susan Cameron said she's had her eye on it for some time.

Lorillard's major brands
Lorillard

America's second and third-largest tobacco companies have announced the terms of a potential merger. Reynolds American Inc. will buy Lorillard for $27.4 billion. The Newport cigarette brand will follow Lorillard to Reynolds, where it will join Camel and Pall Mall, and VUSE (Reynold's e-cigarette brand).

Reynolds is based in Winston Salem, NC. Lorillard is located in Greensboro.

Jim Dollar/Flickr

Federal law permits children to work in agriculture from younger ages and for longer hours than any other industry.

electronic cigarettes
dikiy via Flickr, Creative Commons

Shortly after the F.D.A. announced newly proposed regulations of the exploding E-Cigarette market, Greensboro-based Lorillard released  a statement on the matter:

A Duke University study found a link between poverty and smoking in adolescents.
Valentin Ottone via Flickr, Creative Commons

North Carolina doesn't spend enough to keep people from smoking or help them quit. That's according to a report from a coalition of health organizations.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids report ranked North Carolina 45th in the country for spending on smoking and chewing prevention or cessation programs. The report says the state spent none of its tobacco tax revenue on those programs in fiscal year 2013.

Ricky Diaz of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says the state wants to serve its residents.

Photo: A tobacco farm in Eastern North Carolina
Flickr user perrykm5

Members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to not lower payments to tobacco farmers next year as part of the expected federal budget cuts known as sequestration.

Strickland Farms tobacco and house
Leoneda Inge

U.S. tobacco growers are watching new regulations being considered across the Atlantic.  The European Parliament is set to vote on guidelines that would curtail the use of additives in tobacco that provide flavorings to the plant. 

Burley tobacco -- produced mainly in Kentucky -- contains a number of additives that change the taste.  North Carolina has some burley growers, but mostly exports flue-cured tobacco.  N.C. State extension economist Blake Brown says any new regulations could hurt tobacco farmers.

A Steinway piano along with about 500 other items from Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans' estate will be up for auction this weekend
Brunk Auctions

This weekend, bidders will have the opportunity to take home a piece of North Carolina history when hundreds of items from Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans' estate go up for auction.

Semans was a longtime Durham philanthropist and the great-granddaughter of Washington Duke, who helped to create Duke University and founded the American Tobacco Company. She passed away in early 2012, and left a lifetime's collection of art, jewelry, furniture and household items behind.

electronic cigarettes
dikiy via Flickr, Creative Commons

Tobacco shop retailers are following a new law that keeps them from selling electronic cigarettes to minors. Many smokers use e-cigarettes as a replacement for tobacco cigarettes. The battery-operated devices heat small amounts of a nicotine solution. Smokers then inhale the vapors. 

Donnie Angelini runs a tobacco shop in Raleigh.  He says his policy has always been to market his store's products to adults only.

A tobacco farmer in Rockingham County, NC.
Jim Dollar via Flickr, Creative Commons

A Chinese tobacco company has announced plans to open its North America headquarters in North Carolina.  The state Agriculture Department has worked hard to bolster trade relations with China.  And it’s paid off.

Smoke Damage

Jul 21, 2011

North Carolina State University sociologist Michael Schwalbe’s new book, “Smoke Damage: Voices from the Front Lines of America’s Tobacco Wars,” (University of Wisconsin Press/2011) is a collection of portraits of people whose lives have been changed by tobacco. The images and the stories that accompany them span a wide range of ages, social classes and professional disciplines, from lawyers and farmers to disease survivors. The intimate photos tell a story not captured by statistics, but the book is not merely sentimental.

Pages