From AP via Antiwar.com:
Something unusual is cropping up alongside the tomatoes, eggplant and okra in Scott Byars' vegetable garden - the elephantine leaves of 30 tobacco plants.
Driven largely by ever-rising tobacco prices, he's among a growing number of smokers who have turned 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.
"I want to get to where I don't have to go to the store and buy tobacco, but I'll just be able to supply my own from one year to the next," Byars said.
In urban lots and on rural acres, smokers and smokeless tobacco users are planting Virginia Gold, Goose Creek Red, Yellow Twist Bud and dozens of other tobacco varieties.
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.
Home schooling, home gardening, barter, local issuance of alternative currencies, the Internet's end run around the Establishment's information gate keepers. This keeps getting better. Any day now, we'll be seeing articles on unlicensed businesses employing large numbers of Americans who cannot find jobs in the official, taxed-and-regulated economy.