Monday, August 24, 2009

Economic Rebellion: Tobacco Gardens

Something unusual is cropping up alongside the tomatoes, eggplant and okra in Scott Byars' vegetable garden – the elephantine leaves of 30 tobacco plants, reports AP's Steve Szkotak.

Driven largely by ever-rising tobacco prices [as a result of taxation], he's among a growing number of smokers who have turned to their green thumbs to cultivate tobacco plants to blend their own cigarettes, cigars and chew. Byars normally pays $5 for a five-pack of cigars and $3 for a tin of snuff; the seed cost him $9.

Although most people still buy from big tobacco, the movement took off in April when the tax on cigarettes went up 62 cents to $1.01 a pack. Large tax increases were also imposed on other tobacco products, and tobacco companies upped prices even more to compensate for lost sales.

Some seed suppliers have reported a tenfold increase in sales as some of the country's 43.3 million smokers look for a cheaper way to get their nicotine fix in a down economy. Cigarettes cost an average of $4.35 a pack, home growers can make that amount for about 30 cents.

The full story is here.


  1. I wonder if I can grow tobacco in Texas.

    I don't smoke, but the economic rebellion appeals to me. Tobacco is the new bootlegging!

  2. Next up, moonshine tobacco and a new era of prohibition as an attempt to stop the little guy grower!

  3. It's true, Taylor. The county where I grew up was known for tobacco and watermelons.
    No longer.

    I actually ran into a childhood friend recently, she told me how her granddad sold the farm after the Feds paid $6million for his stock of seeds. Mr. H used to be one of the biggest producers in that part of the State.

    Deon, all you need is decent soil, which you can make or buy, water, and sunshine. Go for it!

    Interesting that Gerald Celente sees farmer rebellions in the nearer future.

    At some point the economics will show that growing marijuana will be more profitable, once tobacco is criminalized. And really, moving a pound ofmarijuana gets you in the same trouble as moving a pound of coke. Profits are much higher on the coke, so I assume you'll see people start to do things they thought impossible in years past.

    Smoke em if you got em.