In order to make the case for why organic tobacco is not only safer than pesticide-contaminated tobacco, but is very likely perfectly safe to smoke or vape especially in moderation, I want to share both hard data and published science with you, as well as some ideas for dealing with this hoax, actually a massive criminal conspiracy, that the Tobacco Cartel and government agencies have created and sustained for 70 years.
The data on pesticide contaminants in tobacco products from cigarettes to little cigars that you’ll see in this post are unique – nobody has tested cigarettes for fungicides and insecticides since research like this published in the early 1970s when all such research worldwide literally disappeared. Here’s a quick example of what was being found in cigarettes back then.
I hope you’ll allow me to set the stage as you read on, but if you clicked that link above and looked at the 1970s data, now check out this new hard data on what smokers are inhaling today. Not one published research study, out of the tens of thousands of “studies” funded with hundreds of millions of dollars, has compared organic tobacco cigarettes with commercial tobacco cigarettes, yet this 2018 data from research for my book “Smoke No Evil” shows clearly that smokers have been inhaling pesticides along with their tobacco smoke continuously for over 60 years since at least 1959 with complete US government knowledge and consent.
In other posts I have tracked this remarkable disappearance of research on cigarette pesticide contaminants to a global effort by the Cartel to erase the topic of pesticide residues in tobacco products from public awareness. From the early 1950s through the early 1970s there was extensive research on the topic of pesticides in tobacco products in multiple scientific/agricultural/chemical journals, every study revealing concentrations of organochlorine and then organophosphorous pesticides in every tobacco product studied, but as medical science on these xenobiotic chemicals advanced the industry understood that their most heavily contaminated products would very likely attract horrified attention and be banned if brought under proposed environmental and agricultural pesticide regulations unless they took control of any research that could lead to such regulation, and so they did. They managed to shut it all down, worldwide.
During these same years the Tobacco Cartel successfully maneuvered and manipulated Congress and the agencies to get tobacco products exempted from pesticide inspection, regulation or even tracking by any government agency. To this day in 2021 no agency inspects or regulates tobacco products for pesticides, and in the regulations of every agency dealing in any way with hazardous or toxic substances, from EPA to CPSC to FDA tobacco products are specifically exempted. It took a lot of satanic lawyering and political corruption to get every single piece of regulatory exemption in place but that’s how the Cartel rolls.
Please use your own research skills to confirm this absolutely remarkable absence of attention to what in any other product consumed by millions of people would be completely horrifying. I would love to hear of anything you find on pesticide residues in tobacco products – cigarettes, cigars, bidis – anything, anywhere. Of course, there’s plenty of pesticide residue research on Cannabis, and plenty of careful regulations, strictly enforced. Can’t have pesticide residues on Cannabis, and we have to study their potential health impact pretty carefully in order to protect Cannabis users. But on what you would think would be a natural hot research topic, toxic pesticide residues on those nasty old tobacco products that we all hate, there’s nothing since the mid-70s. You’ll find some limited published research on pesticides on field tobacco, but zero on pesticides on manufactured tobacco products. Pretty strange, you’ll have to admit. If you do find something please let me know.
You can browse a few more examples of the surviving tobacco/cigarette pesticide research on DDT and other organochlorine pesticides in cigarettes that virtually ended in the 1970s here and here and here and here and here. You can see from the reference sections of these journal articles that from 1950-1975 there were entire journals devoted to researching pesticide residues in cigarettes and tobacco products. Then it stopped.
It seems to me that a coordinated policy decision must have made at a level of world government that we never see, at the level of power and influence wielded out of public view by generational and corporate wealth shielded by the best legal minds, ensuring that there would be no more of this kind of information readily available to the public. If there is any industry research it is kept tight in the Tobacco Cartel’s so-called scientific organization CORESTA.
The research funding for research on pesticides in tobacco products was simply cut off by government agencies, and all those scientists lucratively re-purposed so they didn’t complain, and this must have been operating under coordinated control. I haven’t been able to find a single study, funded by anyone, including the so-called non-profits that raise hundreds of millions for so-called tobacco research, and their own salaries of course, that has looked at the health impact of inhaling the supertoxic cocktail of pesticide residues in tobacco products that every Federal agency, every ‘anti-tobacco’ organization, and the entire Tobacco Cartel all know are concealed in these products.
We know that the agencies involved have played major CYA on this subject over the years, because they’ve left a clear trail of both deliberate omissions and deceptions. They’ve even occasionally had to dodge legislators like they did with Congressman Henry Waxman in 2003 with the massively deceptive GAO Report to Congress “Pesticides On Tobacco: Federal Activities To Assess Risks & Monitor Residues“. That piece of work deserves its own blog post, but the bottom line is that pesticides are no problem and the government is totally on the case – no need to worry. But interestingly enough, when it comes right down to it, here’s how EPA deals with the reality of pesticide residues in tobacco products:
“EPA does not assess intermediate or long-term risks of pesticide residues to smokers because of the severity of health effects linked to use of tobacco products themselves.” EPA 2018
There’s a lot of that kind of deliberately misleading bullshit in the Federal records, but the clarity of this statement is what makes it such a great example. Hey there EPA, couldn’t the “severity of health effects linked to use of tobacco products themselves” maybe be because of the pesticides you don’t care about? This is a truly classic “we don’t give a shit” and says everything that needs to be said about how carefully the Tobacco Cartel’s crimes are being shielded by EPA.
Everywhere you look in the Federal regulatory establishment it officially it all comes down to saying “It’s the Tobacco, bitches, and just the tobacco, and we’re not going to look any further”. This from a government and anti-tobacco elite that knows perfectly well that there has never been a single study of the health impact of smoking organic tobacco cigarettes compared with smoking any of the commercial cigarettes that it knows are universally and often heavily contaminated. Not one study, not ever. They really do not want to hear about organic tobacco, or that tobacco may not be anywhere near the problem they have staked their entire careers on “fighting”. Maybe there’s nothing to fight, and maybe these folks know it and are terribly afraid people are going to find out. Why else would here be absolutely zero research on something this obviously important in 50 years?
If you press them you’ll also hear that the government actually does test tobacco and it regulates the pesticides that can be used on tobacco too. Well, those statements are both kind of true and also very misleading in a carefully crafted lawyerly kind of way. There are so many deliberately-crafted, subtle misdirections in government agency claims around pesticides and tobacco that it is, also deliberately, hard to decipher them, but the bottom line is that there is zero regulation of pesticides in tobacco products and there is zero interest in what these xenobiotic substances are doing to smokers and their children, no matter what kind of language these agencies use to try to seem like they are on the case. Read carefully and you’ll see the weasel language everywhere, trying to obscure the single fact that nobody inspects, tests or regulates pesticides in tobacco products. Period. They are quite simply complicit with the Cartel in concealing this public health atrocity.
So that’s probably why finding all that published journal research from the 50’s-70s isn’t easy. Even in Land Grant University libraries where these old ag science journals are supposed to reside, and many actually do, it’s very difficult to get access to the print copies of these old agricultural journals and the digital archives appear to have been scrubbed – although digging around pays off.
Oddly enough, considering the suppression of public tobacco product research, the Tobacco Cartel itself kept very detailed internal review and research processes going throughout the 20th Century aimed at determining the impact of each of the pesticides they were using on consumer taste. They were nominally concerned that these biologically hyperactive chemicals might make smokers think the cigarettes tasted funny, and they spent hundreds of millions on this research – in plain sight of government agencies. But because all of this research was private, and because they were able to totally suppress any publicly-funded research on pesticides, what the Cartel scientists knew by the 1980s about what these chemicals were doing to smokers was totally concealed behind corporate walls.
There was an explosion of science and medicine in the 1980s and 90s around environmental exposure to pesticides, which everybody agreed was terrible and dangerous and had to be controlled, and which ‘nobody knew’ smokers were being exposed to daily, but there is zero published evidence that the Cartel ever tested their own products for pesticide residues – although I’ll bet that subpoenas of Cartel manufacturing records would turn up decades of detailed batch testing. There looks to be a conspiracy of silence around this whole domain of science and public health and criminality that can only be due to impeccably concealed political and economic influence and the deepest possible public agency corruption by private, concealed power and wealth.
The tests that yielded the data I showed you above were the first of their kind since the 1970’s, and were run by a uniquely qualified pesticide testing lab, a US subsidiary of a major EU company that has been doing testing on tobacco product substrate for years. Some EU governments do regulate pesticides in tobacco products but they have a deal with the Cartel to keep it quiet and so nobody even realizes that it takes place. For example, German cigarettes are simply somehow very, very light on pesticide contamination, because you never hear about it, or why the German government inspects and regulates tobacco products for pesticides. It simply happens quietly, behind the scenes. That’s undoubtedly the agreement. But any American smoker who has ever gone to Germany and bought their same brand there, or any German smoker who has ever done the same in the US, will know exactly what I’m talking about even though nobody has the true facts that would so easily explain the differences.
But back to the lab tests I ran that opened all this up for me. I’m lucky to be living in Oregon, where because of Cannabis there are a number of highly qualified pesticide testing labs. I found one with impeccable credentials in testing both Cannabis in the US and Tobacco products in – guess where – Germany, their home base. Testing cigarette tobacco for pesticide residues is far more complicated than testing Cannabis, which is this lab’s main business in the US, so being able to have this lab’s scientists collect and test random samples of tobacco products against their massive tobacco substrate database with their experience in doing so was real plus.
Here’s that data again. You tell me – is smoking organic tobacco not safer than inhaling any of the factory smokes you see here? The FDA wants you to think that organic tobacco is not safer. But FDA will never show you actual data to support their claim, which they nevertheless enforce with the full power of their Federal authority. What do you think? No safer?
So I hope this data on even a few brands shows the hypocrisy of the too-clever bullshit from self-serving agencies like FDA and from anti-smoking hustlers like Truth Initiative claiming that organic cigarettes aren’t safer than regular commercial cigarettes because all tobacco is equally hazardous. Besides being obvious bullshit that’s either a deliberate lie or gross ignorance. They either actually know nothing about the tobacco industry, although they claim to be unimpeachable experts, or else they do know about the true nature of the health consequences of even the lowest levels of exposure to these bioactive xenobiotic chemicals and they are true co-conspirators in this atrocity. I am all about documenting and showing readers the evidence that the latter is tragically true. US regulatory agencies have been corrupted to the core by the Tobacco Cartel.
The impact of pesticides in tobacco products can seem like an abstraction but here are a few links to several recent articles where I use journal-based research to detail some of the most severe impacts of these pesticides on human health. These posts are filled with links to the peer-reviewed science behind the raw data I’m sharing here in this post.
Here’s another way to look at the range of contamination smokers are exposed to with non-organic tobacco products. It’s pretty obvious when you see the data displayed this way that as you go lower in price you go up in exposure to a huge range of bioactive chemicals any one of which has potential health & life-threatening properties if inhaled often enough regardless of how tiny the amount.
But please reflect a moment longer on this data and ask yourself – who are the markets for American Spirit Blues, Marlboro Reds, and Swisher Sweets? Who are the people smoking these brands? What are the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the smokers in these different markets? What are the poor folks inhaling vs the better-off smokers? And why are there such big differences in the amounts and kinds of pesticides and insecticides affecting these different groups of people? Those questions all have hard evidence answers, which I try to cover in my blog posts and books, but you can probably answer them yourself just by looking at these three brands. Let this slightly different display of the same data you’ve seen above speak to you. It reveals the dynamics of a hard truth behind millions of deaths. Not just these three brands – the landscape of chemical madness they reveal. Who is smoking the premium brand and who is smoking the cheap brand? What does that tell you?
After all, government at all levels and “non-profit” parasites like Truth Initiative are full partners in the revenues generated by tobacco products, and they have every reason to conceal the fact that they know that pesticides are a major, even primary and 100% preventable cause of smoking-related disease and death. The only reason pesticide residues are in tobacco products at all is because it is much more profitable and far more convenient for Tobacco Cartel companies to produce them that way than to make them cleaner and safer and organic, and the only reason that nobody has called them on this atrocity is because they have spread so much money around in so many places for so many years. If you want to identify tobacco industry co-conspirators, or maybe just pathetic dupes, just look for the ones claiming that all tobacco products are equally hazardous, organic American Spirit and Swisher Sweets alike.
If around now you’re thinking “Well, some of those pesticides look pretty bad but those concentrations look awfully low to do any damage to smokers” please understand that science now knows that many of these designer chemicals are highly bioactive in human nerves, tissues and organs even at molecular levels.
“Toxic effects of pesticide mixtures at a molecular level: their relevance to human health”
The damage even goes well beyond the smoker. If your mother smoked a brand contaminated with DDT, which as you saw earlier was almost a certainty any time from 1950 – 1972, and you are a woman, then your odds of developing breast cancer are much, much higher as a result of what DDT in those cigarettes did to your mother’s DNA. That genetic damage is passed on to both female and male children across generations.
For peer-reviewed journal research on maternal DDT and Breast Cancer see also here and here and here. Oh, and how about Obesity? If your mother was exposed to DDT while she was carrying you, your odds of uncontrollable obesity rise dramatically. Remember, smokers from 1950-1972 were probably universally exposed to DDT, and even if they quit during pregnancy there was more than enough DDT circulating in their bodies to damage you before you were even you. Every brand in those days was contaminated not just with DDT but with Endrin, Aldrin, Lindane, Dieldrin and literally dozens of other OC and OP pesticides. Remember those links to the 1950-72 research here and here and here and here and here?
So please tell me – are there any differences worth mentioning between those non-organic American Spirit, Marlboro and Swisher Sweets? Would tobacco cigarettes without these specific contaminants be safer than contaminated cigarettes. Prove it for yourself. Search for any one of these fungicides or insecticides listed above along with keywords like “neurological”, “fetal”, “diabetes”, “obesity”, “birth defect” or “cancer” and see what you get. As you’re looking at the results, ask yourself:
- Is the least contaminated tobacco product safer than the most contaminated one, or not?
- Even if you assume that the tobacco in all three brands is the same, which it isn’t, would you say there are differences in safety levels, or not?
- If someone you love is smoking and you can’t get them to stop, which of the three brands above would you want them to smoke, and why?
- If your kid is sneaking off and smoking, which of these brands would you least want them to be smoking, and why?
Looking at that hard data, only blind arrogance or a hidden agenda could continue to claim that the DDT, Carbendazim and Penconazole residues in the little cigars that kids are smoking right now, today, by the tens of thousands in every city in the US, doesn’t matter because tobacco itself is so bad anyway. Yet that is exactly what EPA, FDA, all the anti-smoking groups, and all the state health departments pretend to believe. That’s their excuse for doing nothing, and it’s pathetic. Here’s why.
First as I said before, there is simply zero research on the health effects of smoking uncontaminated tobacco products. No such study has ever been done. In addition, virtually all smoking and health research that used tobacco smoke obtained that smoke from “Research Standard” cigarettes supplied by the Tobacco Cartel itself, and with zero data on what pesticide residues were present in any of these “research” cigarettes. Please tell me any other area of research where the materials to be examined for their health impact are not completely characterized? No research study I have found, and I’ve looked pretty carefully, has ever acknowledged the presence of pesticide residues in the “tobacco” they were using to test the health effects of smoking tobacco.
So all statements about tobacco products begin with the unstated, unproven assumption, which is super-convenient for the Cartel, the government ‘regulators’, and the non-profit parasites, that tobacco is causing so much of the obvious harm that any damage being done by those insecticides and fungicides, that are absolutely necessary for the Tobacco Cartel to maximize profits, can safely be ignored. Not just ignored, but actively placed outside consideration or even public knowledge. In other words, concealed by conspiracy.
This level of self-serving deceitfulness while enormous numbers of people die from pesticide contaminated tobacco products every year, and while children around the world are sealing their future fates by being lured into smoking these cheap contaminated tobacco products, all of which is 100% preventable, is beyond disgusting.
The question that must be asked – if it were possible, wouldn’t the kids smoking this trash, idiots that they certainly are, be safer smoking these products if they were made from exactly the same crap as they are now, from trash and waste tobacco and cheap chemical flavorings but weren’t contaminated with those extremely hazardous pesticides we can all see in the hard data for the first time now?
We know that 1 in 13 of all the children under 17 alive today will die prematurely, painfully and expensively of “smoking-related” disease. That is a whole lot of children and future suffering. Do you think any of it could be prevented just by requiring tobacco manufacturers to remove pesticide residues from their tobacco?
They could do that, almost in a flash. Why don’t they? Because they don’t have to, and because it’s much more profitable to use chemicals than to use labor, even in the remote areas of the Third World where they grow their tobacco out of sight of regulators and inspectors.
Every tobacco product on the market could theoretically be made with responsibly grown and even organic tobacco – no problem. Give the industry 3-5 years and a drop-dead set of conditions and they will do whatever they have to do. It would take longer to actually become widely organic, but in 3-5 years the world tobacco supply could be 75% cleared of extreme and severely hazardous pesticide residues and the lives of millions of people conserved for a future with their families.
However as long as “players” like FDA and Truth Initiative and others like them play the “All Tobacco Is Equally Bad” game nothing will change. Of the total number of smokers dying each year, a significant number die because of the arrogant conceit of those who believe (or at least pretend to believe) they know all the truth there is to know about Tobacco when they have never once set foot in any tobacco field anywhere, much less a field that has just been sprayed with DDT in India, Nicaragua or Brazil. These countries supply hundreds of tons of contaminated tobacco waste to US manufacturers that they make into fruity little sweet smokes for our kids. US companies are also totally permitted to import tobacco products like fruity little cigars from these countries with zero inspection for DDT or any other pesticides. As long as they pay their import taxes they skate, and all that toxic load goes straight into the lungs of the young black and brown smokers in poor communities.
And then in 2015 the moralists and parasites had the nerve to go after organic tobacco. The problem is that they apparently don’t know what Tobacco is, or really that much about it, because if they did they wouldn’t have gotten themselves into the really stupid trap of insisting for the record that there’s no difference between organic tobacco and severely contaminated tobacco. They may claim when finally confronted that they don’t know about all those pesticides, but they are on the record as fully informed.
Notice that in the data tables above even the regular American Spirit Blue non-organic brand is lower in pesticides than the Marlboro or another RJR brand, Camel. That’s a big difference in safety levels even among non-organic brands, much less between organic and non-organic. However, if RJR had defended American Spirit organic tobacco on that simple evidence-based premise then they would have had to admit how contaminated all their other products are, and why. Oops! That’s a non-starter. Think of the lawsuits!
So it was a much, much better deal for RJR to let FDA pretend they scored a big win, just like years before the Surgeon General’s warnings were a godsend to tobacco manufacturers. It let them say – hey, you were warned. The so-called “Tobacco Settlement” was an even bigger fraud – look at what is actually being done with all that money. Lots of “Tobacco is really really bad” advertising, lots of huge salaries and nice perks, everybody congratulating themselves on what a great job they’re doing, and no change in the numbers of people suffering and dying, or in the number of kids heading down that dead-end road.
Until my little non-profit finally got funding and was able to begin testing tobacco products in late 2018, not one dime has ever been spent by the “anti-tobacco” forces to test for these contaminants that by themselves make these products illegal, period. But then the “Tobacco is really really bad” game would be over, wouldn’t it. Imagine the public reaction if it became clear that people in positions of responsibility and authority had known about pesticide contamination of tobacco products for many smokers’ lifetimes and had never once spoken out.
FDA knows what it has to do in return for being allowed to look like a winner in the organic tobacco derby. Their part of the deal is not to make too much noise about all those “crop protection agents”. That’s what the industry calls pesticides. After all, crops need protection, right? so much better than a nasty word ending in “cide”.
FDA and the anti-tobacco PR and advertising shills are allowed to beat the drums and make up endless variations of the “Tobacco Is So Bad” meme because that doesn’t hurt the tobacco industry one bit, but it does allow thousands of people to keep doing extremely dubious work to justify their lucrative titles and careers “fighting tobacco”.
Ever wonder why FDA is being so helpful in the industry’s pivot away from tobacco and toward e-cigarettes? Are they are all hoping that their complicity in 75 years of slaughter for profit will just slide on out of sight? Yes, complicity. FDA has had institutional knowledge of the presence of heavy concentrations of hazardous pesticides in tobacco products for over 50 years and has not once, ever brought it up in any hearings or testimony or research. That’s complicity.
I call the tobacco industry’s reckless, negligent, criminal behavior “slaughter for profit” simply because the tobacco industry doesn’t have to use pesticides at all. Traditional tobacco growers used hand labor for hundreds of years and did just fine. The tobacco companies use chemicals in place of labor strictly for increased profits and they have rigged the regulatory systems of the world so that they are protected from the consequences of their greed-driven decisions.
Should people who smoke be protected from these contaminants, or do they deserve whatever happens to them?
If these chemicals were in wine or beer, would that be OK just because alcohol is known to be so hazardous to health anyway.
Does it not matter that the most hazardous of these brands, the one with 375 times the highest background level of DDT, is the one that most kids 11-16 love?
“Because use of tobacco products, with or without pesticide residues, is so hazardous to health, all of the Oregon Health Authority’s efforts around tobacco are aimed at discouraging use of tobacco products and encouraging cessation of tobacco use in people already using it.” Oregon Health Authority 2018
“EPA does not assess intermediate or long-term risks of pesticide residues to smokers because of the severity of health effects linked to use of tobacco products themselves.” EPA 2018
“Organic,” “natural” or “additive-free” product labels may imply a healthier or safer choice, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to tobacco products. A cigarette with organic tobacco or tobacco with no additives does not make it healthier or safer than other cigarettes.” Truth Initiative 2018
No differences at all? Really? Then no problem, right? Except, hold on a minute …..