The sheer scale of grotesque materials added to nicotine products like cigarettes and and vaping is astonishing. It’s even more astonishing when you realize these things add nothing at all to the product. It’s also absurd, and dangerous. Chemicals include arsenic, lead, and a particularly nasty, and useless, compound called Butadiene.
Why are these things tolerated in any product containing nicotine? In any other class of product, they’d be considered absurd – and illegal.
- The active ingredient in tobacco and vaping is nicotine.
- The tobacco plant produces the nicotine.
- Tobacco plants can be cured with sugar and water, and processed without the need for any other materials.
- Other materials are in effect totally unnecessary added costs.
The theory of adding chemicals to nicotine has never had a leg to stand on. The original theory/excuse for additives, adding petroleum compounds to make smokes burn better, doesn’t stack up at all.
Tobacco has been a global commodity for hundreds of years. At no time in the history of tobacco did anyone feel the need to add a vast library of chemicals to the raw product, until the 20th century.
In fairness – All consumer commodities, like illegal drugs, are usually cut or diluted with something. There are very few pure products around unless you eat them straight out of the ground.
The up to 4000 chemicals found in cigarettes are a lesson in total incompetence. The 4000 chemicals link contains some useful information from the Quit side. (With one caveat – Carbon monoxide is produced by burning anything containing carbon including wood, paper and just about any type of food; it’s a primary oxide created by burning. Plant tissues contain carbon, hence the presence of carbon monoxide in tobacco.)
The point here is that NONE of those chemicals need to be there. NONE of these chemicals are in the raw product, or shouldn’t be, notably pesticides, which should be eliminated at the curing stage or by better agricultural practices, like hydroponics.
Why the hell would cyanide be a requirement? Naphthalene is used in moth balls. What’s it doing in cigarettes? Do tobacco companies have some raging need to add costs to their own production? Or is it just plain sloppy manufacturing?
Call me cynical, but I’d say that given that the original plant shouldn’t contain anything BUT plant materials, the smoking gun, excuse the pun, is squarely in the hands of the manufacturing process.
Vaping, nicotine and risks
Vaping is a game-changer. You can use pure nicotine, with no additives at all, in a safe solution like say peanut oil or something 100% harmless. This is no-brainer chemistry. It’s also no-brainer business, reducing costs and risks.
A vaping company called Discount Vapers.com makes a point about the risks and safety of vaping, at its own expense. This company even goes to the extent of questioning silica in vaping wicks, a valid point.
The big argument about vaping worldwide currently based on the issue of “not knowing” what’s in vaping fluids. It’s a stupid situation; there should be no doubt at all what’s in ANY consumer product at all, nor whether it’s safe. An epidemiological no-brainer, in fact.
It’s a pity that the pro and anti lobbies have been so maniacally effective in obscuring real research. Research designed to produce a pro or anti finding is highly suspect, and certainly no help to the credibility of the pro and anti arguments.
Nicotine delivery, explained
This is the case with all drugs: A delivery system should be measured, straightforward, and there should be minimal risks of contamination. Nicotine is a fast acting drug, analogous to vitamin B3, aka oxidized nicotinic acid, according to my Penguin Dictionary of Chemistry.
Hence the addictive properties of tobacco. You simply can’t get addicted to anything unless there’s a body chemistry analogue. Morphine, for example, is a close analogue to endorphins, etc. That’s why any addictive drug which also acts as a carrier for hanger-on unnecessary chemicals needs to be closely quality controlled.
The contaminated products also deliver any old thing in those 4000 sloppily manufactured chemicals, fast. It’s hardly surprising that toxicity is so high.
Therefore – It is nothing less than chronically, certifiably, insane for tobacco products NOT to have all contaminants excluded. Smokers won’t mind if their smokes or vapes aren’t full of garbage. There’s no sales resistance to a better product, after all.
(Before non-smokers get too smug – Those same 4000 chemicals are also at saturation levels in the highly polluted air. You’re smoking the equivalent of a few packs a day yourselves just by breathing. Your car puts out a fair percentile whack of the same chemicals, every X miles or so, by the kilogram, not the micrograms in cigarettes. Thanks to our irresponsible, anti-everything governments and their slack, lazy enforcement of pollution laws, you’re all now global heavy passive smokers.)
A suggestion or two about nicotine
Nicotine is historically used to relieve stress. It was actually prescribed by doctors in the mid-20th century to reduce stress. In a stress-addled world, it has a role, provided it’s safe to use. A deficiency of B3, in fact, is a medical condition called pellagra, and the symptoms of pellagra include delusions and death. So a fast delivery system for a close B3 relative might not be all bad, particularly if you don’t like delusions and death as part of your life’s itinerary.
Another issue – B3 is a water-soluble vitamin, and B3 levels are negatively affected by, believe it or not, sugar. Given the sheer toxicity of high fructose syrups, super-sugars in water-based products, (for which there are no dietary precedents in human history), maybe a B3 analogue isn’t such a bad idea, if fructose reduces B3 levels? Don’t worry, epidemiologists, I’ll charge you for this information later.
- Decontaminate all nicotine products to reduce obvious risks.
- Stop being coy about why nicotine is addictive.
- Don’t ignore the de-stressing capabilities of nicotine; it may just be a way of doing something about this hideously stressed-out world of ours. As a medication, it may be very valuable, and more importantly, very effective, for chronic stress.
- Just make it compulsory for any nicotine product to be ONLY nicotine, with no additives at all.
I’ve now been saying this for 20 years, so it’s probably due to become a public issue sometime. Moralize all you want, but chemistry is chemistry, business is business, and health is health. Just get all three right, and there should be no problems.