Native Cigarettes

As the nation grapples with a surge in native cigarettes  -related illnesses among its people, tribal leaders are trying to turn things around by promoting traditional use of tobacco and teaching kids how to grow it at school. They hope that if kids develop a relationship with it early, they may be less likely to start smoking as adults.

Tucked away at the end of an anonymous blue metal box ringed by a towering green fence, a handful of workers produce the controversial new lifeblood of Kahnawake Mohawk territory and, some say, a dire threat to Canadian public health: native cigarettes. Inside, a worker feeds pungent, raw tobacco into a noisy machine that churns out thousands of cigarettes every hour.

At the other end of the factory, a worker checks the quality of the finished product, ensuring each one meets a strict set of standards. The tobacco used is Nicotianarustica, a spindly, wild-looking indigenous species with a long history of ritual use by Native American tribes. It contains more nicotine than its lush-leafed commercial cousin, N. tabacum, but it also produces more smoke that’s easier to inhale.

Understanding Native Cigarette Varieties

The plant has become a symbol of indigenous rights, and the factory, which is owned by the White Earth Nation in Minnesota, is considered a keystone business venture. It provides jobs, money for a casino, college scholarships and a health clinic, and profits from cigarette sales help support tribal programs. It also provides a counter to soaring smoking rates among American Indians, which some experts believe are driven by economic factors like poverty and alcohol misuse on the Northern Plains that do not exist in the Southwest.

Native Cigarettes Canada
Phone: +15198579349

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