Tobacco, Sensors, Music – What Goes Around, Comes Around

Sometimes one aspect of a political issue overshadows the economic component of the same issue and colors one’s assessment of the “big issue”.  A good example of that viable, yet poorly constructed sentence is tobacco.

Without question, tobacco and the smoking thereof has one of the biggest bulleyes on it when it comes to health agendas. Allegedly, it has been medically proven that smoking tobacco is dangerous to one’s health and equally, if not more dangerous to anyone being exposed to the exhaled fumes of tobacco smokers. A plethora of illnesses are associated with the dreaded plant including cancer, emphysema, accelerated aging, discolored teeth and fingers, bad breath, stinky clothing, birth defects, blurred vision, false feelings of euphoria, antisocial behavior, and looking quite chic in certain social situations. Demon weed be damned!

Then some information comes along that shows the other side of the story. For example, a recent news release explores the socioeconomic importance of tobacco in Italy. Apparently, Italy, despite the dark cloud surrounding smoking, has a thriving tobacco industry that requires a continuous update of technical improvements to produce a product of higher quality while respecting the environment.

Essentially what this means is tobacco is an important part of social life in Italy and it significantly contributes to the country’s economy. In turn, the challenge in Italy is to increase tobacco crop yield and quality. Ironically, high quality depends on cultivation techniques that involve chemical substances that could be toxic for smokers. An alternative factor that could minimize the use of chemicals is controlling climatic conditions.

Italy’s tobacco growing regions: Veneto, Umbria, and Campania

On the climate side, Italian software company TeamDev has deployed Libelium’s Waspmote Plug & Sense! Sensor Platform to collect information on local weather conditions to support farming management. Collecting climate data could help tobacco growers migrate their farms to other Mediterranean areas more conducive to growing the tobacco plant

Sensors provide accurate information about ambient temperature and humidity, levels of rainfall, wind direction and speed, atmospheric pressure, and leaf wetness. These parameters help the growers evaluate climate peculiarity in each area and to control growth environment. Solar panels are also in the field to evaluate light levels.

Essentially, using sensors for monitoring tobacco crops is just another example of adopting new technologies in agriculture. The crops could equally be of the more edible variety (not chewing tobacco).

How does this all relate to music and what goes around comes around? Back in the days of high school, I played in a band and the drummer’s father used to drive us to gigs in his work truck. Said drummer’s father was distributor rep for Di Nobili cigars, so our electronic equipment and instruments and us three shared a ride with never less than 30 cases of what are, politely put, some of the most aromatic cigars in the industry. Therefore, reporting the use of sensors in the Italian tobacco market, and Di Nobili cigars being an Italian tobacco product (now hailing from Pennsylvania), brought back some fond, if not stinky, memories. ~MD


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