Chemical Additives In Tobacco
Contrary to statements by tobacco company spokesmen, tobacco products are extremely addictive and deadly. It’s become a science for marketing purposes.
Most smokers wish that they had never started their ugly habit. The nicotine and the additives such as ammonia make cigarettes extremely addictive and deadly. In fact, nicotine is more addictive than alcohol, cocaine and heroin.
In 1992, Barbara Reuter, a director of portfolio management for Philip Morris, wrote a memo that said, “Different people smoke for different reasons. But, the primary reason is to deliver nicotine into their bodies. Similar organic chemicals include nicotine, quinine, cocaine, atropine and morphine.”
One of the reasons tobacco is so addictive is that about 4,000 chemicals have been found in cigarettes including 200 known poisons and several known carcinogens. Chemicals such as ammonia, are added because they release more nicotine from the tobacco leaf when burned. This gives the cigarette a greater “kick” and makes it more addictive. It’s the same concept as free-basing cocaine. In the United Kingdom, more than 600 additives are allowed in cigarettes and other countries are equally liberal with Big Tobacco.
“Some additives such as ammonia may make cigarettes more addictive, while sweeteners make them more palatable for children,” said Amanda Sanford, research manager with the UK’s Action on Smoking and Health. “Unless tobacco companies can prove that these additives don’t have these properties, they should be banned.”
Because of these chemicals and the natural dangers of tobacco smoke, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) as a Group A carcinogen—the most deadly category of cancer-causing agents.
In addition to additives, tobacco companies have tried other tactics to boost nicotine levels to make cigarettes more addictive and more profitable. Liggett boosted its nicotine yields by 70 percent between 1955 and 1957, despite adding new filters to many brands. Furthermore, tobacco companies conducted research projects in Brazil in attempts to engineer plants that produced more nicotine. More nicotine would lead to more addicted smokers and more profit. As a result, “crazy tobacco” and Y-1 were developed by Brown & Williamson, which admitted using these powerful tobacco blends in Viceroy, Richland, Raleigh and other tobacco brands.
The experiments and the additives have paid big dividends to the tobacco companies. As a result, most who experiment with tobacco become addicted almost immediately. Furthermore, approximately seven of 10 current American smokers have tried to quit at least once. About 23 million American smokers (half of all smokers) try to quit smoking each year, but fewer than 10 percent succeed. Meanwhile, about 70 percent of adolescent smokers would not start if they could choose again. Theses statistics confirm what a viscous circle smokers face and how effective the chemical conspiracy has been. In fact, smokers now are paying up to $20 for individual cigarettes that have been soaked in embalming fluid (a combination of formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol and other solvents) and then dried. The formula induces hallucinations, euphoria, invincibility, increased pain tolerance and other effects that can last up to three days.
It only takes nicotine seven seconds to stimulate the brain. It takes heroin 15 seconds to stimulate the brain. This instant gratification makes nicotine even more addictive. In lab tests, rats will administer nicotine into their veins when given the opportunity.
Another reason the grip of nicotine is so powerful is because it works as a stimulant and a sedative, depending on the amount of nicotine in the body and the mindset of the person consuming it. As smokers know, the first cigarette of the day often works as a stimulant. As the day progresses, cigarettes usually have more of a soothing affect. As a result, smokers have a variety of motivations to smoke their next cigarette, ranging from, “I need a cigarette,” to “I have earned one.”
“The tobacco industry is like a specialized, highly ritualized, and stylized segment of the pharmaceutical industry,” wrote Claude Teague in a 1972 RJR research-planning document. “Tobacco products uniquely contain and deliver nicotine, a potent drug with a variety of physiological effects.”
Nicotine is in a class of compounds called alkaloids, which includes cocaine, morphine, quinine, and strychnine. Plants typically produce these compounds as a toxic defense mechanism against natural predators.
Nicotine can increase alertness, improve mood, and sharpen short-term memory—making it very addictive. Nicotine speeds up the flow of glutamate, a neurotransmitter chemical in the brain. This increases the firing rate of the synaptic signals through the brain. The human body quickly can become addicted to these temporary, mind-altering changes. Dopamine also is produced when nicotine reaches the brain, which stimulates nerve activity.
“The rush of nicotine into the blood stream and nervous system is short-lived,” claims a 1976 memo at British American Tobacco. “Therefore, reducing consumption would cause withdrawal and all of its unpleasant side effects. Nicotine vacates the system in 30 minutes or so and at that time, withdrawal starts.”
Tobacco companies studied these pharmacological effects to improve their understanding and control of the smoker’s mind and wallet. Philip Morris invented a machine to monitor human brain waves and their response to nicotine. For instance, Ian Uydess, a former Philip Morris senior scientist summarized one of his studies by concluding, “At certain levels, nicotine appeared to mimic addictive substances such as cocaine.”
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