Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It is most commonly smoked in the form of cigarettes or cigars. Tobacco has been growing on both American continents since about 6000 BC and was used by native cultures by around 3000 BC. It has been smoked, in one form or another, since about 3000 BC. Tobacco has a long history of use in Native American culture, and played an important role in the political, economic, and cultural history of the United States of America.

Dried, cured, and unprocessed tobacco is commercially available all over the world. Smoke from burning, or otherwise heated, tobacco can be inhaled in the forms of cigarettes, cigars, stem pipes, water pipes, and hookahs. Tobacco can also be chewed, dipped (placed between the cheek and gum), or sniffed into the nose as finely powdered snuff. Many countries set minimum legal smoking ages, regulating the purchase and use of tobacco products. Bhutan is the only country in the world where tobacco sales are illegal. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco smoke is the second biggest cause of death worldwide, and is reported to have been responsible for the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century.

All methods of tobacco consumption result in varying quantities of nicotine being absorbed into the user's bloodstream. Over time, tolerance and dependence develop. Absorption quantity, frequency, and speed of tobacco consumption are believed to be directly related to biological strength of nicotine dependence, addiction, and tolerance.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Malaysian city warns women over make-up, high heels

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - - A Malaysian city has urged Muslim women not to wear brightly coloured lipstick, tight clothes or high-heeled shoes while working, an official said Tuesday.

"Nowadays the way women dress attracts unwanted attention. It could lead to all sorts of vice," said Azman Mohd Daham, public relations director of the city council in Kota Bharu, capital of conservative northern Kelantan state.

"We do not advocate tight clothes, too much lipstick or thick make-up, and even the headscarf should not be too transparent," he told AFP. "Women should dress modestly, this is what Islam requires."

The guidelines were sent to local businesses and shops last month, he said, but denied reports that anyone flouting the code faced a fine.

"If they want to follow what we advocate in the campaign, it is entirely their choice but we hope they do because this is the best for them."

"We do not punish anyone for wearing thick make-up or high-heel shoes, there are no fines either," he said, but added that Muslim women did face a fine if they failed to cover their heads with a scarf.

Kelantan has been run by the Islamic party PAS since 1990 and is the most conservative state in Malaysia. Like the rest of the country, it is dominated by Muslim Malays, but also home to ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

The state's rulers have in the past made headlines with laws that require separate queues for men and women in shops, and for imposing fines on skimpy clothing.

However, in recent years the party has begun introducing reforms designed to tone down its hardline reputation and woo young voters.