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God bless the Internet and God bless Chris Gurney. Chris is a smoker, an unrepentant smoker, but one that finds it a little annoying that 20 cigarettes cost nearly £5 - the vast majority of which goes to the government in tax.

Being a 40-a-day man, Chris tried to find a way out of this madness. He went back to basics. And started growing his own tobacco, which he then harvests, dries, cures, rolls, smokes and enjoys - at a fraction of the price (and, it should be added, without coating it in hundreds of different chemicals).

He realised he was on to a good thing and so set up Smoke4Free.com, where he sells quantities of tobacco seeds, with instructions on how to grow the weed. Chris assures us that growing tobacco is not that hard - but then he would say that. According to him, Britain has an ideal climate for growing tobacco.

So what's the deal? Buy 500 seeds of Virginia cigarette tobacco or 500 of Havana cigar tobacco from Chris for £15. Plant them. If you have space of one metre by eight metres, you can grow 50 plants and these will be enough for 5000 cigarettes.

Of course you'll need a propagator in the early stages to get the 70 to 80 Fahrenheit you need (£2.50 from a nursery) and the seedling stage is a little fragile, but from there you can grow them outside apparently. The plants will also not go off - they mellow with age, Chris tells us. A greenhouse would be very handy for curing the plants.

Chris has also put a handy little movie on his site to show just how easy it is to go from the plants themselves to a cigarette what you pop in your mouth and smoke.

However, it is not all good news. Customs & Excise (in the UK anyway) has just brought in a new law that will put a tax on tobacco that people grow themselves. Chris is not happy about this. Apparently it became law in June. And so he's been on a whirlwind media tour in which Customs appears to have said, yes it's the law but we won't bother enforcing it.

Anyway, check out Chris' site for more details and smoke your way to wealth. ®

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Smoke4Free.com

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