This post is to share hard factual evidence connecting hidden and unregulated pesticide contaminants in Swisher Sweets like DDT, Carbendazim, and Cypermethrin, and the multiple terrible birth defects like holoprosencephaly these so-called “Tobacco products” are inflicting on the children and even grandchildren of smokers. I’ll provide more links below to published journal research that connects Black, Brown and Native American birth defects with these hidden and unregulated pesticides in tobacco products. First a brief look at why these pesticides are doing such damage.
One all too-common, pesticide-caused birth defect (1 in 250 embryos) occurs when a developing embryo’s “Sonic Hedgehog Gene” is attacked and damaged by specific pesticides. In spite of its weird name. this gene is a true Mother Gene – it controls the creation of the human body from the time the embryo is only a few dividing cells. It does this by secreting a complex protein called “Sonic Hedgehog” that guides the developing embryo through all the incredibly complex cell divisions it takes for the embryo to become a human being instead of a fish or a cat or a firefly. This Mother Gene secretes just right version of the Sonic Hedgehog protein at the right moment to biochemically message the right cells in the developing embryo – “hey – become two eyes right there”, “OK – make five fingers here and here”, and “Listen up – become a brain stem!” – important little details like that. When it all goes right, a wonderful healthy human baby is born.
When pesticides attack this gene, the crucial Sonic Hedgehog protein is damaged, and some of the cellular pathways to becoming fully human are now destroyed for that baby, who will never be whole even if they are born at all.
When a young girl or woman smokes a commercial cigarette or little cigar, specific pesticides known to attack and destroy the Sonic Hedgehog gene in human embryos flood her system and circulate in her blood. That’s the simple reality. What happens to that developing baby then is pretty straight science, which I’ll show you. First, to set the stage, here are the pesticides in Swisher Sweets and other tobacco product brands known to attack, damage and destroy the Sonic Hedgehog gene.
The Sonic Hedgehog” gene controls human “morphogenesis” – literally the creation, or genesis of the human body. This gene is responsible for creating the body of the baby from the first instant out of those first few cells that start dividing and becoming. We know for sure that the Sonic Hedgehog can be damaged and destroyed by very low levels of the pesticides that we also know for sure are hidden contaminants of Swisher Sweets. Every pesticide listed above attacks and damages the human embryo’s Sonic Hedgehog gene; imagine the impact when they all attack at once, like a frenzied pack of wild dogs, with every puff.
Now The Really Damaging Connection
BUT – its not enough that the pesticides in Swishers attack the Sonic Hedgehog to directly cause this terrible birth defect. Holoprosencephaly also is caused by maternal diabetes – in fact a Mom with diabetes is 200X more likely to have a damaged baby.
And guess what – pesticide exposure is very strongly linked to Diabetes, and smokers have a very high rate of Diabetes. (more links below) So the DDT and Carbendazim and the other hidden, unregulated fungicides and insecticides attack the baby’s Mother Gene directly, and also cause Mom to have Diabetes, which also attacks the Mother Gene. That baby and mother are at totally preventable terminal risk.
“We now know that smoking causes type 2 diabetes.” (CDC)
Notice that CDC says ‘smoking’ not ‘smoking tobacco’ – that’s just a small example of the duplicity of these agencies. Here’s why:
If “smoking” includes inhaling pesticides, then duh. We already know for sure that exposure to pesticides causes Type 2 Diabetes. But CDC never mentions pesticides in ‘tobacco’ products. Never. At all. CDC wants everyone to connect ‘smoking’ and ‘diabetes” without knowing anything about ‘pesticides’ in tobacco products. If smokers did know, then pesticide exposure causing Type 2 Diabetes could easily avoided by switching to organic tobacco products until/if quitting became an option. But CDC evidently wants people to either quit or die.
So here’s what that Diabetic pregnant Mom who loves her Swishers is carefully conditioned by Swisher’s expensive, heavy advertising and their planted street memes to think is coming ….
But here is what may actually be coming. With apologies for the shocking images – do you see any cute little Swisher babies here?
In a Swisher Smokin’ Mommy, DDT and all those other insecticides and fungicides you see in the Swishers data will be circulating in her blood at exactly the right moment to damage her baby’s Sonic Hedgehog. That DDT is bioaccumulative too, so it builds up in her tissues. It will eventually likely cause breast cancer. It is also an obesogen, so it will definitely make her fatter because DDT needs fat cells for storage.
How familiar is this hypothetical profile – a young obese, diabetic Black, Latina or Native American little cigar smoker whose baby has severe health problems including diabetes and multiple birth defects? She probably smokes Swishers because she’s heard on the street that they’re safer than cigarettes. She lives in almost every poor community in America. She probably lives in your community. Is she so invisible?
Waiting For That Little Sonic Hedgehog To Appear
So every young Swisher smoker’s blood is always full of DDT and a dozen other neurotoxic pesticides, all ready to target any new embryo’s Sonic Hedgehog gene. There are @ 2 million young girls and women just in the US who smoke Swishers regularly. Every one is at severe risk. It doesn’t matter if she’s pregnant right now – as long as she keeps smoking, that little Sonic Hedgehog is toast any time it pops up its little head.
Because Swisher Sweets are intentionally marketed to young Black, Latinx and Native American communities, this kind of harm falls disproportionately on the babies of these communities.
Not surprisingly, birth defects associated with exposure of fetal life to neurotoxic pesticides are extremely high in marginalized communities, where high proportions of young women smoke tobacco products like Swisher Sweets, that are highly contaminated with many of exactly the same pesticides known to cause these terribly damaged babies.
Because nobody since roughly 1975 has published research on pesticides in tobacco products, and since my 2018 “Smoke No Evil” data is still unknown, at least one highly probable cause of holoprosencephaly in the children of smokers in these marginalized and exploited communities isn’t realized by anyone and therefore can’t begin to be be addressed. Here’s some pretty simple hard evidence – don’t you think this might be worth some Public Health attention?
- The CDC says “Smoking causes Diabetes”. ‘Causes‘ means just that. Other authorities say the same.
- Strong research says that Diabetic Mothers are 200X more likely to give birth to babies with Sonic Hedgehog damage like holoprosencephaly
- Strong bodies of research show strong association between pesticide exposure and Diabetes
- Strong bodies of research show varying levels of relationship between molecular-level exposure to specific pesticides and damage at specific stages of human gestational development.
The “Sonic Hedgehog” was named by the quirky scientists who discovered it in the early 80s. This gene basically regulates key processes in the developing embryo all the way from when it’s deciding whether to become a frog or a human and then when it’s deciding how many fingers and eyes to grow and where to put them, and so on. The Sonic HedgeHog gene does all this by sending coded biochemical messages to all the millions of cells whose growth has to be coordinated so they become that first cute little baby you see above – the mythical “Swisher Baby”.
Not all Sonic Hedgehog damage is terminally tragic – since 1 in 250 human embryos experience some level of damage there are many babies born who go on to lead their lives while carrying the burden laid upon them before they were born. Like these young people. Do any of them or their brothers and sisters in victimhood live in your community? Would you like to see this tragedy end? There is a simple solution. Force tobacco product manufacturers to remove pesticide residues from their products. That’s it. Forget any issues with tobacco, nicotine, or smoking. Deal with the pesticides first, then see what happens to young people who smoke pesticide-free tobacco. I have a pretty good hunch what we’ll find.
And as you and I cringe at the images and try to deal with the idea that this is being done to children every day in order to extract money from them, we have to remember that this massive lifelong suffering is the consequence of the reckless act of profit-hungry manufacturers acting with certain knowledge that their product is contaminated with these pesticides. By virtue of their industry position, and their membership in CORESTA, they either know or ought to know the consequences of inhalation of the pesticides that contaminate their tobacco products. They ought also to be aware that the genetics of Black, Latinx and Native American people are particularly vulnerable – and of course, they are. The Tobacco industry calls young Black and Brown kids “replacement smokers” and that’s exactly what they are – replacements.
This is an industry so ready for accountability – once there is even a little crack in their dam of silence it will explode with worldwide genocide trials and global confiscation of assets that will reach into some of the wealthiest families and institutions in the world. After all, Tobacco wealth built America and much of the rest of the “modern” world. Those massively wealthy families are still there, invisible, protected – they think. I may not see it, but their time of accountability will come. The evidence is just too strong and too vast, although still too hidden with vast cleverness in plain sight. When the world can see the extent of the Tobacco wealth built on a hundreds of years of the exploitation, suffering and death of smokers then literally trillions in hoarded Tobacco treasure will be surfaced and can be reclaimed for the public good. It is wasted, unproductive privately held and stoutly protected wealth, supporting the indulgent worthless lives of largely incompetent unproductive people with love only for themselves. This ill-gotten gain, going back decades, has left a trail of evidence in spite of its very very best efforts. It’s the 50 year total gap in research that gives away the Tobacco industry’s screaming nightmare concern. It was around 1975 when the lid was clamped on hard and universally on cigarette pesticide research, around the world and not just in the US. And boy are those early studies out of NCSU an eye-opener on what pesticides smokers were inhaling in the 1950s and 60s. These are the same folks who, if they haven’t yet died of “smoking related disease”, are dying now from all those years of inhaling what you see in these long buried old reports. You can browse a few examples of the surviving tobacco/cigarette pesticide research that virtually ended in the 1970s here and here and here and here and here.
Every organochlorine in the book was present in cigarettes of the period, and the organophosphates were coming on heavy then too. (Remember that in 1960s detection technology was not well-developed.) The level of contamination has only gotten worse in the years since the industry clamped down on research, and my “Smoke No Evil” tests in 2018 strongly suggest.
Here are just two tables from the 1968 comprehensive report: “The Nature and Significance of Pesticide Residues on Tobacco and in Tobacco Smoke”, one of the last studies that the Tobacco industry allowed.
Then after the mid-1970s – nothing. It all stopped – the data, not the pesticides. There had been dozens of studies from the early 1950s through the 60s at NCSU and elsewhere documenting high concentrations of these incredible supertoxins – and suddenly oops – that all stopped. That’s the smoking gun – no research on pesticides in cigarettes anywhere on earth since the industry realized what the data actually showed. It showed neurotoxic, carcinogenic, genotoxic levels of multiple pesticides, dozens of them in fact, that smokers were inhaling every puff. Not one more study, when the tobacco industry continued to be the largest user of pesticides per acre of any crop on earth. Nada. That says pure, coordinated, global conspiracy to me – how about you? In case you missed this earlier, you can browse a few examples of the surviving tobacco/cigarette pesticide research that virtually ended in the 1970s here and here and here and here and here.
I hope that I’ve been able to help bring a reckoning to those at the top of this cold, inhuman conspiracy. I have only a few treasured illusions, like for instance that you, dear reader, may be in a position to pick up the phone and make something begin to happen. Maybe a nice little class action lawsuit on behalf of any one of the very identifiable classes of people whose lives have been irreparably damaged by the conspirators. And by the way, responsibility and accountability for this slow-rolling, trans-generational atrocity includes all the Federal agencies who have known the cold, hard facts since the research was shut down – they’ve chosen to lie, dissimulate and keep silent for decades, either out of fear or greed – hard to say. Their only “Report” on tobacco pesticides in the early 2000s was a puke on American smokers and their families, designed to shield the tobacco industry, period. I’m just an old guy sitting at a little desk early on a cold morning in Portland Oregon writing these words that I hope will be heard like the prayer they are meant to be. So thank you dear reader for picking this up and reading it all the way to the end of the line. May God welcome Roy Orbison who gave voice to so many souls.