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Tobacco

— Biology

"Magic" native Australian tobacco plant could be key to space-based food production

Scientists at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia have discovered a gene in an ancient Australian native tobacco plant that they say is the key to growing crops in space. The plant, Nicotiana benthamiana, has long been used in labs around the world to test viruses and vaccines due to the fact it has no immune system. Surprisingly, this trait has also led to the plant being extremely resilient, which is where space-based food production comes in.

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— Around The Home

Imperiali Genève's Emperador puts cardboard cigar boxes to shame

Most cigar boxes are cheap cardboard affairs that are useful for keeping bits and pieces in or turning into an inexpensive guitar. Definitely not in the homespun musical category is the Emperador cigar chest from Imperiali Genève. This is a high-tech container that holds two dozen bespoke cigars and clocks in at a cool one million Swiss francs (US$1,048,000) – making this both one of the most expensive and technologically advanced cigar boxes in history.

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— Health & Wellbeing

Nicotine-gobbling enzyme could help smokers quit

Nicotine replacement therapy, such as pills, gum and patches, can make the road to quitting smoking a little less rocky, but these aren't always effective and a tremendous amount of discipline still plays the major role. A team of US-based researchers has now uncovered an enzyme found in nature they say could greatly improve on the effectiveness of smoking cessation aids, by devouring nicotine in smokers before it can deliver its "reward" to the brain.

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— Health & Wellbeing

New study finds e-cig vapor contains same free radicals found in cigarette smoke

Many people assume e-cigarettes are a healthier – or less unhealthy, at least – option than regular cigarettes, resulting in a rapid uptake in recent years. While the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are still unknown, research out of Johns Hopkins University has found that e-cigs may deliver a false sense of security along with their nicotine hit. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

New nicotine vaccine may succeed at treating smoking addiction, where others have failed

If you're a smoker who's trying to quit, you may recall hearing about vaccines designed to cause the body's immune system to treat nicotine like a foreign invader, producing antibodies that trap and remove it before it's able to reach receptors in the brain. It's a fascinating idea, but according to scientists at California's Scripps Research Institute, a recent high-profile attempt had a major flaw. They claim to have overcome that problem, and are now developing a vaccine of their own that they believe should be more effective. Read More
— Electronics

AirGuard raises the alarm on cheeky tobacco and marijuana smokers

While it's not against the law to smoke cigarettes in most parts of the world, there are still a lot of places where smoking is prohibited – workplaces, hotels, public housing, college dorms, jails – and a whole lot of smokers who still like to sneak in a cheeky one on the sly. That could become a lot more difficult with the release of the AirGuard, a sophisticated smoke detection unit that can either be hand held or fixed to a wall, and that can send out a Wi-Fi alert when tobacco or marijuana smoke is detected. Read More
— Aircraft

Boeing begins program to produce aviation biofuel from hybrid tobacco plants

As part of the aviation industry’s efforts to use biofuels to drive down its carbon footprint, Boeing has announced a collaboration with South African Airways and SkyNRG to produce aviation fuel from a new, virtually nicotine-free tobacco plant. Test farms are already up and running, with Boeing hoping to use local tobacco growing lands and expertise to produce sustainable biofuel without impacting food-bearing crops or encouraging smoking. Read More
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