We all know that exposure to particular kinds of chemicals can have a negative impact on our thinking, behavior, and emotions. We know from studies of farmers, for example, that chronic low-level pesticide exposure is closely linked to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. So let’s consider what well-established science combined with some new hard evidence reveals about the relationship between smoking, pesticides, and suicide and how that may be contributing to the current epidemic among Veterans and so many other at-risk groups of people young and old.
Here are a few simple established scientific facts alongside some new hard evidence that connects the dots between the facts in a new way.
Fact 1. We know that young veterans commit suicide at higher rates than any other age group.
Fact 2. We know that young veterans smoke cigarettes at higher rates than any other age group.
Fact 3. We know that chronic pesticide exposure increases depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide rates.
Fact 4. Cigarettes are contaminated with biologically significant levels of multiple classes of pesticides that are known to impact mental health.
Every one of the pesticides you see in the cigarette and little cigar data below is specifically designed to attack and destroy living neurological and hormonal networks. Those are the precise processes that underlie the mental, physical and behavioral degeneration that occurs in pesticide-exposed people. Setting aside the other implications of that information for a moment, it actually points to a simple self-management solution for Veterans who are hard-core smokers and who are experiencing suicidal thinking, perhaps along with other substance abuse. A significant advantage of this approach is that it does not require the smoker to stop smoking as part of their initiative to free themselves from pesticide exposure and the accompanying mental health issues.
There are plenty of veterans who are already seeking treatment for depression and suicidal ideation and perhaps drug addiction. A simple demonstration project could select one or more groups who would volunteer to receive a short awareness raising session and then switch to smoking only pesticide-free cigarettes, which might even be provided at no charge for three months if this were a funded demo. The demonstration could use commercially-available USDA-Certified organic tobacco cigarettes, which as you can see in the data above, independent testing for my 2019 book “Smoke No Evil” confirmed were free of pesticides.
I believe that it’s a slam dunk prediction that in a matter of weeks the pesticide-free smokers will show a clinically significant reduction in suicidal ideation and associated depressive symptoms. If they are also in treatment for drug use, especially stimulants, I’m betting that removing this one totally unrecognized source of neurotoxins will make a noticeable difference.
If any of this turns out to be the case, then the association between inhaling pesticides and suicidal thoughts and behavior, as well as depression, addiction, and aggression would suggest a simple intervention that many Veterans could self-manage once given the awareness. The intervention – switch to smoking only pesticide-free cigarettes – and cannabis as well, by the way. The same concerns around inhaled pesticides from tobacco products apply equally to contaminated cannabis.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of this approach would be that participants will not have to quit smoking or change their smoking behavior in any way except to switch to a 100% tobacco cigarette, or to seek out pesticide-free cannabis. A corollary advantage is that smoking without pesticides removes the bulk of addictive compounds and smokers of organic tobacco universally report smoking much less and feeling more in control, including quitting more easily if they choose to.
That’s it. That’s the whole proposal. If it works as I believe it will, then it will be a matter of sharing the news through Veterans networks, which are generally reliable community voices.
Now if you care to, for a deeper look at how pesticides in tobacco products may be affecting population-wide mental health please check this updated blog post from a few years ago
To round out this discussion:
Pesticides are not only impacting Veteran suicides – by my reckoning they are very likely implicated in Gulf War Syndrome. The Tobacco Cartel and the US government have had all these facts for years and have acted together to conceal them from Veterans fighting this savage enemy within – Gulf War Syndrome.
We know that many linkages between multiple pesticide exposures, the use of pyridostigmine bromide, and development of Gulf War Syndrome were established long ago.
What none of those trying to help GWS victims, nor the Veterans nor their families know, because there has not been a single published study on the topic since the 1970s, is that all cigarette smokers are inhaling multiple classes of pesticides, with heavy smokers inhaling many hundreds of times a day.
I believe that multiple US government agencies have conspired with the Tobacco Cartel to suppress research on pesticide contaminants in tobacco products and to mislead and misdirect vast amounts of smoking and health research with their “Kentucky Reference Cigarette” con game.
Those who forced military personnel to use pyridostigmine and who knew of the risks of interaction with pesticides also either knew or by virtue of their command authority ought to have known of the chronic exposure to pesticides representing exceptional risks for smokers – a high percentage of the troops given PB.