The province of Yunnan, stretching over 394,000 square kilometers in the far southwest of the Republic of China, is rich in color, tradition and history. More than 30% of its population of 45 million is made up of over 25 ethnic minorities like the Yi, Bai, Hani, Zhuang, Miao, Mozuo and Dai people. Most of the ethnic minorities live in compact communities with rich customs and traditions that live on despite the recent economic change that takes over the Chinese mainland.
Much of the research into nicotinic compounds comes from Big Tobacco, the makers and marketers of one of the most addictive substances on the planet and the single most preventable cause of death. Researchers even believe that understanding nicotine may lead one day to an effective "cure" for smoking.