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Thoughts On Coca, Cannabis, Opium & Tobacco – Gifts Of The Great Spirit


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They Can’t Claim They Didn’t Know

As of 2011 Federal law (cited below) specifically forbids tobacco manufacturers from using pesticide contaminated tobacco that exceeds US pesticide residue standards for domestic tobacco whether that tobacco is domestic or imported. Every tobacco company, US and international, is in gross, reckless and conspiratorial violation of this law.

The law has been on the books since 2011 but apparently nobody at FDA is testing, reporting, or investigating anything. I looked hard and saw zero evidence of concern but who knows, maybe I missed something.

Since I couldn’t find any evidence that FDA was doing its job, or get any response from them when I asked, I just paid for the lab tests that FDA should be doing and am publishing data below showing that every brand we tested violates 907(a)(1)(B) of Section 907 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. These products we tested and reported to FDA in January 2019 (Potential Tobacco Violation Report ID 19C00160“) should be re-tested on a national scale and if they are in violation they should be withdrawn and the manufacturers subjected at least to fines. I am of course holding my breath.

Here’s the core language of the Federal statute which along with the accompanying language gives any health authority at any level powers to act immediately in protection of public health and safety.  

907(a)(1)(B) of Section 907 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act: 
(B) ADDITIONAL SPECIAL RULE. “Beginning 2 years after the date of enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a tobacco product manufacturer shall not use tobacco, including foreign grown tobacco, that contains a pesticide chemical residue that is at a level greater than is specified by any tolerance applicable under Federal law to domestically grown tobacco.”

Here is violation of the law. 

Community Tobacco Control Partners Test Results 12/18

The law means no DDT (zero tolerance under US law), no Carbendazim (zero tolerance under US law), and none of about 13 others just in the little sample of tobacco products we sampled in December 2018. The tobacco material in at least one of the products – Swisher Sweets – violates this law multiple times with contaminants that are a clear and present danger to public health.

The Feds know what the industry is doing, because they wrote this law forbidding it. But they have never published one single test or as far as I can ell conducted one inspection, which means that since 2011 they haven’t prevented one single child from inhaling DDT from a Swisher Sweet their older friends bought at the bodega.

By imposing reasonable pesticide regulations based on existing, effective Cannabis pesticide limits in Oregon and other states, millions of smokers could be protected from exposure to pesticide residues in tobacco products (shown below) that are strongly associated with or in some cases proven to cause breast cancer, testicular cancer, obesity, diabetes, prostate cancer, liver cancer, childhood leukemia (ALL)atrophied testicles, compromised immunity and ruined HIV/AIDS treatments. And there’s more, but I hope this awful list of preventable slaughter is enough to demand that 907(a)(1)(B) of Section 907 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act: 
(B) ADDITIONAL SPECIAL RULE. be enforced. Here is the full data

Tobacco Product Pesticide ResidueTest Sample #1: 12/15/2018Community Tobacco Control Partnersbilldrake4470@gmail.com Comments
Analyte Results/Units
Exceed MRL   √
Not Registered √√
Banned/Zero Tolerance √√√
RED = FUNGICIDE
American Spirit (Cigarette)
Azoxystrobin 0.936 mg/kg Exceeds 0.2 limit
Imidacloprid 0.105 mg/kg Exceeds 0.4 limit
Propamocarb √√ 0.252 mg/kg Not Registered
Fluopyram √√ Trace Not Registered
Spinosad Trace Under 0.2 limit
Marlboro Red 100 (Cigarette)
Azoxystrobin 0.897 mg/kg Exceeds 0.2 limit
Bifenthrin 0.0870 mg/kg Under 0.2 limit
Chlorantraniliprole 0.614 mg/kg Exceeds 0.2 limit
Dimethomorph  √√ 0.0220 mg/kg Not Registered
Metalaxyl 0.0780 mg/kg Under 0.2 limit
Propamocarb √√ 0.129 mg/kg Not Registered
Fluopicolide √√ Trace Not Registered
Imidacloprid Trace Under 0.2 limit
Penconazole √√ Trace Not Registered
Trifloxystrobin Trace Under 0.2 limit
Camel Classic (Cigarette)
Azoxystrobin 0.875 mg/kg Exceeds 0.2 limit
Chlorantraniliprole √ 0.377 mg/kg Exceeds 0.2 limit
Dimethomorph √√ 0.0210 mg/kg Not Registered
Imidacloprid 0.106 mg/kg 0.4
Metalaxyl 0.0810 mg/kg 0.2
MGK-264 0.0600 mg/kg 0.2
Propamocarb √√ 0.167 mg/kg Not Registered
Bifenthrin Trace 0.2
Penconazole √√√ Trace Not Registered
Piperonyl Butoxide Trace 2
Swisher Sweet (Little Cigar)
Acetamiprid 0.146 mg/kg 0.2
Azoxystrobin 0.198 mg/kg 0.2
Carbendazim √√√ 0.843 mg/kg BANNED
Cypermethrin 0.443 mg/kg 1
DDT, p,p-  √√√ 0.816 mg/kg BANNED
Dimethomorph √√ 0.0380 mg/kg Not Registered
Fenamidone √√ 0.0370 mg/kg Not Registered
Imidacloprid 0.169 mg/kg 0.2
Indoxacarb √√ 0.0790 mg/kg Not Registered
Mandipropamid √√ 0.0770 mg/kg Not Registered
Pendimethalin √√ 0.0910 mg/kg Not Registered
Propamocarb √√ 0.0910 mg/kg Not Registered
Pyraclostrobin √√ 0.0210 mg/kg Not Registered
Chlorantraniliprole Trace 0.2
Ethofenprox Trace 0.4
MGK Trace 0.2
Permethrin Trace 0.2
Thiacloprid Trace 0.2
Camel (Snus)
Azoxystrobin 0.142 mg/kg 0.2
Fluopyram √√ 0.0380 mg/kg Not Registered
Bifenthrin Trace 0.2
Mandipropamide Trace Not Registered
Pendimethalin Trace Not Registered

 


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Did Mom Give You Testicular Cancer?

Hello! The former content of this blog post is now part of my newly published ebook “Smoke No Evil”. Click here to send me an email request for a download link to a free review copy.

Hi! Thanks for visiting. Just click here to request your free review copy of “Smoke No Evil”. After you read it, I hope that you’ll add your voice to those demanding investigation and accountability for the Tobacco Cartel. My hope is also that the knowledge in this book can be life-changing for smokers who are trapped in addiction to commercial Tobacco Cartel products, and life-affirming for those who already understand and smoke or vape only organic tobacco whenever possible.

Whether you smoke, vape, or chew tobacco this book destroys the myth that tobacco is going to harm you. Using data and hard evidence, this book proves that it’s not tobacco killing millions of smokers every year, and it never has been. You’ll see how the “science” used to prove that Tobacco is a killer is pure fraud and deception on the part of the Tobacco Cartel, and pure hypocrisy on the part of regulators and anti-tobacco propagandists.

Just click here and I’ll email you a link to a free Apple bookstore download of “Smoke No Evil” that you can read on any device.

My hope is that the knowledge here can be life-changing for smokers who are trapped in addiction to commercial Tobacco Cartel products.


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The Korean Genome + Smoking + (DDT) = Diabetes Epidemic

 

Hello! This blog post is now part of my newly published ebook “Smoke No Evil“.

There’s nothing wrong with smoking Tobacco.

It’s as safe as wine, beer, or cheeseburgers.

It’s the Tobacco Cartel’s products that sicken and kill.

“Smoking-related Death” has nothing to do with Tobacco.

Many people understand the truth, but don’t know the whole story.

Here it is.

Hi! Thanks for visiting. Just click here to request your free review copy of “Smoke No Evil”. After you read it, I hope that you’ll add your voice to those demanding investigation and accountability for the Tobacco Cartel. My hope is also that the knowledge in this book can be life-changing for smokers who are trapped in addiction to commercial Tobacco Cartel products, and life-affirming for those who already understand and smoke or vape only organic tobacco whenever possible.

Whether you smoke, vape, or chew tobacco this book destroys the myth that tobacco is going to harm you. Using data and hard evidence, this book proves that it’s not tobacco killing millions of smokers every year, and it never has been. You’ll see how the “science” used to prove that Tobacco is a killer is pure fraud and deception on the part of the Tobacco Cartel, and pure hypocrisy on the part of regulators and anti-tobacco propagandists.

Just click here and I’ll email you a link to a free Apple bookstore download of “Smoke No Evil” that you can read on any device.

My hope is that the knowledge here can be life-changing for smokers who are trapped in addiction to commercial Tobacco Cartel products.


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Smoking & Breast Cancer – A New Link?

Hello! This blog post is now part of my newly published ebook “Smoke No Evil“.

There’s nothing wrong with smoking Tobacco.

It’s as safe as wine, beer, or cheeseburgers.

It’s the Tobacco Cartel’s products that sicken and kill.

“Smoking-related Death” has nothing to do with Tobacco.

Many people understand the truth, but don’t know the whole story.

Here it is.

Hi! Thanks for visiting. Just click here to request your free review copy of “Smoke No Evil”. After you read it, I hope that you’ll add your voice to those demanding investigation and accountability for the Tobacco Cartel. My hope is also that the knowledge in this book can be life-changing for smokers who are trapped in addiction to commercial Tobacco Cartel products, and life-affirming for those who already understand and smoke or vape only organic tobacco whenever possible.

Whether you smoke, vape, or chew tobacco this book destroys the myth that tobacco is going to harm you. Using data and hard evidence, this book proves that it’s not tobacco killing millions of smokers every year, and it never has been. You’ll see how the “science” used to prove that Tobacco is a killer is pure fraud and deception on the part of the Tobacco Cartel, and pure hypocrisy on the part of regulators and anti-tobacco propagandists.

Just click here and I’ll email you a link to a free Apple bookstore download of “Smoke No Evil” that you can read on any device.

My hope is that the knowledge here can be life-changing for smokers who are trapped in addiction to commercial Tobacco Cartel products.


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Incidental Genocide

Hello! This blog post is now part of my newly published ebook “Smoke No Evil“.

There’s nothing wrong with smoking Tobacco.

It’s as safe as wine, beer, or cheeseburgers.

It’s the Tobacco Cartel’s products that sicken and kill.

“Smoking-related Death” has nothing to do with Tobacco.

Many people understand the truth, but don’t know the whole story.

Here it is.

 


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Obesity & Obesogens: The Toxic Chemical Connection

Community Tobacco Control Partners Test Results 12/18

Toxicologists have just designated a new class of chemicals, aptly naming them Obesogens. With chronic exposure, or with exposure before birth at a critical development point, these chemicals initiate body processes that lead directly to childhood, teen and adult obesity and the range of related diseases.

Tobacco products are full of Obesogens, far more of them in far greater concentrations than in any other environmental or consumer product source. Yes Obesogenic chemicals are everywhere, and yes they are in every diet, but their presence as heavy contaminants of tobacco products is a unique kind of hidden health threat whose proportions are unseen.

The data above displays some of the pesticides we just  identified in our tests of tobacco brands popular with kids.  Our tests were the first ever of off-the-shelf tobacco brands for pesticide Obesogens. We’re especially concerned about the concentrations of some of the azole fungicides we found, in addition to the DDT.

Kids who smoke these tobacco products are being exposed to a pesticide cocktail with each inhalation, 50-100 times a day. This is a level that is unmatched by any other type of exposure to Obesogens or to any class of pesticides. None of the studies of obesogenic chemicals look at what happens to young people who are dosing themselves with a cocktail of these endocrine-disrupting chemicals every waking hour, but it’s pretty easy to see what researchers will find when they do the science.

Here’s some of what is already known.

“Obesogens disrupt the molecular mechanisms controlling the development and maintenance of adipose tissue. This disruption has the potential to produce larger and more numerous fat cells, which could in turn lead to obesity and related complications. Obesogens can also alter programing of metabolic set points, appetite, and satiety.” https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/EHP2545

Consider the extreme concentration of DDT we found in the Swisher Sweets (in the data above). This brand is #1 in popularity among child and teen little cigar smokers in marginalized communities. Keeping the Swisher Sweet DDT concentration of 0.816 mg/kg in mind, check this out:

Cano-Sancho G, Salmon A G, LaMerrill M A. 2017. Association between exposure to p,p0-DDT  and its metabolite p,p0-DDE with obesity: integrated systematic review and meta-analysis. Environ Health Perspect 125(9)

Obesogenic chemicals trigger complex responses by human endocrine and immune systems. Pesticides that persist in body tissues like DDT and Carbendazim are particularly powerful Obesogens that operate 24/7, so even when a child is sleeping these Obesogens are at work deep in their tissues.

Pesticide researchers are hard-pressed to study the effects of a single pesticide thoroughly, and when it comes to the multiplying effects of combined pesticides they pretty much throw up their hands – although they do it sounding very scientific and technical. But whatever brand a child or teen is smoking, when you look at the dozens of Obesogenic pesticides that are being inhaled puff after puff as a toxic cocktail we can be sure that the potential for inflammatory obesity is multiplied.

The cheaper the tobacco product the more Obesogens it has. Notice the progression from American Spirit Blue cigarettes to Swisher Sweet little cigars in the data table above. In a new variation on an old story, the very communities where the cheapest tobacco products are marketed are communities of children and adults who are most genetically vulnerable to inhaled pesticides and their Obesogenic effects. Hispanic, African-American and Native American children and teens seem to be particularly susceptible to Obesogenic chemicals. These communities also have the highest rates of both smoking and obesity. I think we have the connection in Obesogenic pesticides.

Unfortunately all the research on inhaled pesticide exposure so far is either on exposure through diet or through environmental causes – accidental releases, agricultural drift, etc. Nobody has ever studied the health impact of inhaling a pesticide cocktail 50-100 times a day, but when it comes to dosing yourself with Obesogens that sounds like a pretty dramatic way to do it.

Janesick A S,Blumberg B. 2016. Obesogens: an emerging threat to public health. Am J Obstet Gynecol 214(5):559–565, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26829510

Heindel J J, Newbold R, Schug T T.2015. Endocrine disruptors and obesity. Nat Rev Endocrinol 11(11):653–661, PMID: 26391979, https://doi.org/10.1038/nrendo. 2015.163

My concern is that those fruity, sweet, cheap and heavily marketed “Little Cigars” that are especially appealing to Hispanic and African-American children and teens who smoke are the most heavily contaminated with obesogenic pesticides of any tobacco product category we’ve tested so far. Obesogenic pesticides in these cheap tobacco products being marketed to dietarily and genetically vulnerable youth may account for some of the increased incidence of obesity among children and young people in these communities.

Of course, it isn’t just pesticides in cheap tobacco products making poor marginalized people obese – there are obesogenic chemicals in everything that people incarcerated in marginalized communities have available to eat and drink, and in virtually everything in their toxic environment. It’s just that tobacco products are the most concentrated source of the worst possible kinds of pesticides all blended together into a toxic cocktail that you inhale rather than drink, and that as one of its main side-effects makes smokers obese.

Eskenazi B, Chevrier J, Rosas L G, Anderson H A, Bornman M S, Bouwman H, et al. 2009. The Pine River statement: human health consequences  of DDT use. Environ Health Perspect 117(9):1359–1367, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2737010/

The big difference between tobacco products as an Obesogenic chemical source and all other sources is that illegal obesogenic pesticides in cheap tobacco products are 100% preventable as a contributing factor to childhood obesity.

Black and Brown kids are forced by economics and corporate marketing to choose only from among the lowest quality, most contaminated, most “Obesogenic” tobacco products. That’s all you find for sale in marginalized communities. 

Kids are being subjected to these hidden, unregulated obesogenic chemicals for just one reason – they mean higher profits for the tobacco manufacturer. Tobacco companies take the cheapest possible tobacco trash swept up off the dirt floors of their factories in Third-World countries and ship it to the US by the freighter-load to make into those sweet, fruity little treats that teens love to smoke. (What happens to the actual tobacco leaf is another long story.)

More importantly, the obesogens in tobacco products are inhaled, not eaten. This is absolutely critical. All the research on the toxicity of pesticides shows much higher toxicity for the most hazardous chemicals when inhalation is the route of exposure, even though there is no research on what happens when pesticides are inhaled regularly every day, every waking hour.

Roots Of The Atrocity

Tobacco has always been an extremely profitable crop, but a very tough crop to farm. The problem is that bugs love tobacco more than just about any other plant. Tobacco is so high in every kind of sugar and high-quality protein that every bug, animal and worm in nature is irresistibly drawn to munch on those extremely tasty, extremely valuable tobacco leaves. So, for centuries growing tobacco meant prodigious hand labor in the tobacco fields day and night by black and brown people, with great wealth accruing of course to White people who used that wealth as the basis for early American economic development, and for hundreds of years Tobacco steadily built the foundation of American wealth along with cotton, sugar and alcohol of course.

But all that tobacco wealth, with all the power that it conveyed, wasn’t a real industry until agricultural chemicals came along, and then when they did tobacco was one of the earliest and strongest adopters of pesticides. That was because they saw immediately that $100 worth of chemicals could increase profits $500 an acre because of the extra tobacco not eaten by bugs, and $10,000+ for the manufactured products from that extra tobacco. So really, from the tobacco companies’ point of view, using those chemicals was and still is largely a business decision. If smokers die early well, that’s why they advertise so heavily to kids. The industry actually uses the term “Replacement Smokers”.

With the chemical revolution came highly effective Organochlorine pesticides that sprang directly from WWII Nazi poison gas experiments, and virtually overnight the tobacco companies switched from human labor in America to ever-diversifying chemical “crop protection agents” in the Third World that let them grow tobacco at a fraction of the cost of human labor, increasing their already insane profits even more. The difference in profit between growing tobacco using hand labor and using chemicals is what has made the tobacco industry rich beyond imagination since 1950, and they’ve used that wealth to make sure that no government gets in the way of their use of those extremely profitable chemicals.

As a result, chemical contaminants that are totally banned on any other consumable product are not regulated at all on tobacco, and the tobacco industry is continually coming up with new exotic chemicals to use on their fields of GM tobacco and all those chemicals are winding up in the lungs of poor smokers and vapers.

Those little cigars that are being marketed so successfully to young Latino and Black kids are loaded with the residues of the chemicals used to control bugs on the tobacco because they are made with the waste from higher quality tobacco products made for sale in wealthier communities. Tobacco leaf, which is relatively less contaminated then the trashy parts of the plant, goes into the expensive cigarettes. Again, check the data at the top of the post and ask yourself – which gets sold at the suburban mini-mart and which gets sold at the bodega?

White smokers get to choose the cleaner, higher quality tobacco leaf if they’re informed enough to do so while Black and Latino smokers get little cigars made with the trash swept up off the tobacco factory floor and don’t have any choice except other equally contaminated cheap shit.

Here’s why the trashy parts are the most contaminated parts of the plant. The tobacco industry pays huge bucks to its scientists to design chemicals that will kill the bugs on the tobacco leaves and then trans-locate into the stems, stalks and roots of the plant so that they don’t affect the flavor of that precious tobacco leaf that’s going into the premium smokes. The contaminated trash parts of the tobacco plant – after the leaf is removed – is what goes into making all those cheap, fruity smokes that poor Black & Latino kids are being trained to love.

So that’s it. Poor young Black and Latino people who fall for the tobacco companies’ propaganda are being sickened, poisoned and made morbidly obese all simply because the tobacco companies can make more money using chemicals that happen to be Obesogenic, and carcinogenic, and teratogenic, and just plain xenobiotic on their crops that they don’t have to account for when they are selling their trash to kids in poor communities around the world.

It doesn’t really matter to the tobacco companies if their smokers get sick and obese and diabetic and have cancer and die young as long as they (1) keep smoking and (2) create at least a couple of replacement smokers before they die. It’s all just a numbers game to them.

But as for us? All it will take to answer this arrogance with finality is for one communities to act to investigate their local tobacco product supply. Then if they find it contaminated, and especially if some of that contamination is from banned substance like DDT, they can then pass local ordinances that impose reasonable pesticide residue standards on tobacco products being sold in their community. 

If a child struggling with obesity has a smoking mother, both mother and child should be tested for Obesogenic pesticide poisoning which if found could lead to treatment. Anyone struggling with obesity who smokes, especially little cigars, should get their blood tested for Obesogenic pesticides. As long as the body is carrying a burden of Obesogenic chemicals, especially if they’re being constantly replenished by smoking or breathing second-hand smoke, no amount of dieting, pharmaceuticals or surgery will help.

I believe that those states where Cannabis is legal and where pesticide residue standards have already been put in place with lots of careful consideration will be the first where communities will insist on these reasonable standards. Our federal and state agencies and legislators have largely been compromised by tobacco industry stealth tactics over the past 50 years of carefully tended regulatory loopholes, exemptions and curious omissions. Local community officials have not been so compromised because the tobacco industry likes to work from the top down – they think of themselves as too wealthy and powerful to be accountable.

They just haven’t met the right Justice of The Peace or Magistrate yet who has a dear niece who can’t stop smoking Swisher Sweets and who is obese, diabetic, and has one child with leukemia and another with ADHD. Show the judge that list of Obesogenic and Xenobiotic pesticides in what his niece has been smoking and ask him if he’s OK with that.


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DDT, Little Cigars, & Dropouts

Hello! This blog post is now part of my newly published ebook “Smoke No Evil“.

There’s nothing wrong with smoking Tobacco.

It’s as safe as wine, beer, or cheeseburgers.

It’s the Tobacco Cartel’s products that sicken and kill.

“Smoking-related Death” has nothing to do with Tobacco.

Many people understand the truth, but don’t know the whole story.

Here it is.

 


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Organic Tobacco Is Safer Tobacco & Here’s Why

Community Tobacco Control Partners Test Results 12/18

I’m getting more than a little tired of hearing 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. 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 they know about the true impact of pesticide contaminants in tobacco products and are in effect co-conspirators in this atrocity.

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 to produce them that way than to make them cleaner and safer, 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 dupes or co-conspirators just look for the ones claiming that all tobacco is equally hazardous, organic American Spirit and Swisher Sweets alike. 

An Oregon non-profit I started last year just finished testing five brands of tobacco products for pesticide residues, and we found hard evidence of extreme differences between the safety levels of organic tobacco and off-the-shelf mini-mart tobacco products regardless of what you may think about tobacco itself.

What you see above is the first-ever hard data on pesticide residues in regular, commercial tobacco products. See any differences between brands? By the way, what you don’t see here is American Spirit Organic because we tested that and found exactly ZERO pesticide residues.

So please tell me – are there any differences here?

  • 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 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.

Alcohol products are “so bad anyway” and are certainly right up there with tobacco products in terms of the death, disease, personal and social costs and widespread suffering they cause, but you can bet that there would be an “all hands on deck” emergency alarm sent out if even a few of the pesticides we just found in tobacco products were found in beer or wine down at the mini-mart. That contaminated shit would be pulled from the coolers instantly, and there would be lawsuits and congressional investigations. There would be no shrugging of shoulders and saying what the hell, alcohol is so bad for people anyway that a few pesticides don’t matter. 

That may be harsh, but 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. 

We ran our tests on off-the-shelf tobacco products from local mini-marts – exactly what the kids buy and where they buy them. The question we asked ourselves after looking at the results is – if it were possible, wouldn’t the kids smoking this trash, idiots that they certainly are, be safer smoking these products if they were exactly the same crap as they are now but weren’t additionally contaminated with the extremely hazardous pesticides?

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.

The fact is that millions of future deaths can very likely be prevented by acting now to set reasonable standards for pesticide residues in tobacco products.  Those standards exist – simply look at Oregon’s pesticide residue “Action Levels” for Cannabis, or the FDA’s own “Action Levels” for DDT in everything but tobacco. Everything.

Every tobacco product on the market could be made with 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 organic, but in 3-5 years the world tobacco supply could be 75% cleared of pesticide residues.

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 Nicaragua or Brazil. 

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.

Of course if they did admit they have known about the pesticides all along then they would also have to admit culpability in 50 years of countless deaths and measureless suffering that could have been completely prevented by insisting on reasonable regulations on pesticide residues in tobacco products. The problem of organochlorine pesticides in heavy concentrations in tobacco products was first realized in the 1950’s, and was heavily documented through the 1960’s. There was testimony before the Senate calling specific attention to the problem. That issue quickly died in the US Senate of 1969.

Then in the 1970’s as smoking and health issues became a major public and scientific concern, the Tobacco industry realized it had a severe problem, and a nationwide lid was clamped on any research referring to pesticides in tobacco products. Research continued in other countries and has resulted in strict but reasonable laws regulating pesticide residues in tobacco products. But in the US beginning in the 1970’s what research couldn’t be directly corrupted or subtly misdirected was subverted through strategies like the “Reference Cigarette” program.

That’s quite a few years of preventable deaths that lie at the feet of those who have been so fixed on hating what they believed was Tobacco that they never once stopped to ask if it was actually Tobacco they were hating.

But then in 2015 they scored what they thought was a face-saving victory – they got RJR to go public and say the words – organic tobacco does not mean a safer cigarette. They finally got payback for years of feeling powerless in the face of the whole tobacco industry. unfortunately, we know that FDA was only able to force RJR to agree to their lies because RJR didn’t want to have to defend American Spirit organic by showing WHY American Spirit organic cigarettes are safer. They are safer because they aren’t drenched with pesticides like every other commercial tobacco brand, including every other RJR brand besides organic American Spirit.

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 a few months ago, 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 50 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 20 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.

No matter. I’m here to call bullshit right now with simple hard evidence. AKA facts. You decide.

Check the data below after you read the following incredible weasel-statements and then you tell me:

Are these bureaucrats full of shit or not?

Are some tobacco products safer than others, or not?

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?

Notice the array of fungicides, marked in red. If you’re familiar with HIV/AIDS therapy, think what inhaling these fungicides is doing to patients. Think of what the worldwide effects on fungicide resistance will be from the exposure of millions of smokers to this fungicide cocktail. Concerned about fungal resistance? Look at tobacco products and consider how simple it would be to produce tobacco organically, or at least to some reasonable standards. And people really do have the right to know.

Pesticide Residue Test Sample #1                             Multnomah County, Oregon                                         Received 12/13/2018 from Columbia Food Labs/Pixis

billdrake4470@gmail.com

Oregon Cannabis Action Levels (PPM) – A Reasonable Standard
Analyte Results/Units na = not listed ORS
Exceeds “Action Level”   
Not Registered – Oregon √√
Banned/No Tolerance √√√
FUNGICIDE BANNED
American Spirit (Cigarette)
Azoxystrobin 0.936 mg/kg 0.2
Imidacloprid 0.105 mg/kg 0.4
Propamocarb √√ 0.252 mg/kg na
Fluopyram √√ Trace na
Spinosad Trace 0.2
Marlboro (Cigarette)
Azoxystrobin 0.897 mg/kg 0.2
Bifenthrin 0.0870 mg/kg 0.2
Chlorantraniliprole 0.614 mg/kg 0.2
Dimethomorph  √√ 0.0220 mg/kg na
Metalaxyl 0.0780 mg/kg 0.2
Propamocarb √√ 0.129 mg/kg na
Fluopicolide √√ Trace na
Imidacloprid Trace 0.4
Penconazole √√ Trace na
Trifloxystrobin Trace 0.2
Camel (Cigarette)
Azoxystrobin 0.875 mg/kg 0.2
Chlorantraniliprole 0.377 mg/kg 0.2
Dimethomorph √√ 0.0210 mg/kg na
Imidacloprid 0.106 mg/kg 0.4
Metalaxyl 0.0810 mg/kg 0.2
MGK-264 0.0600 mg/kg 0.2
Propamocarb √√ 0.167 mg/kg na
Bifenthrin Trace 0.2
Penconazole √√√ Trace na (USDA-NT)
Piperonyl Butoxide Trace 2
Swisher Sweet (Little Cigar)
Acetamiprid 0.146 mg/kg 0.2
Azoxystrobin 0.198 mg/kg 0.2
Carbendazim √√√ 0.843 mg/kg ZERO (EU)
Cypermethrin 0.443 mg/kg 1
DDT, p,p-  √√√ 0.816 mg/kg ZERO (WORLD)
Dimethomorph √√ 0.0380 mg/kg na
Fenamidone √√ 0.0370 mg/kg na
Imidacloprid 0.169 mg/kg 0.2
Indoxacarb √√ 0.0790 mg/kg na
Mandipropamid √√ 0.0770 mg/kg na
Pendimethalin √√ 0.0910 mg/kg na
Propamocarb √√ 0.0910 mg/kg na
Pyraclostrobin √√ 0.0210 mg/kg na
Chlorantraniliprole Trace 0.2
Ethofenprox Trace 0.4
MGK Trace 0.2
Permethrin Trace 0.2
Thiacloprid Trace 0.2
Camel (Snus)
Azoxystrobin 0.142 mg/kg 0.2
Fluopyram √√ 0.0380 mg/kg na
Bifenthrin Trace 0.2
Mandipropamide Trace na
Pendimethalin Trace na

 


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Do You Want To Make Little Cigars Illegal In Your Community?

I’ll skip the long, long back story and get right to the point. If you’ve been looking for a way that individuals and small groups of people acting on their own initiative can control dangerous tobacco products at the local level, this is it. Here’s wishing you a successful 2019.

I recently had a number of off-the-shelf tobacco brands tested for pesticide residues. This was the first time this has been done in the US, in spite of the massive amounts of tax and private money spent every year on so-called “tobacco control and prevention”.

In this post I’m including hard evidence showing the concentration of illegal, totally banned DDT I found on the most popular brand of sweet & fruity little cigars, Swisher Sweets – the top choice among low-income, Black and Hispanic teens. They are also arguably the most toxic piece of shit in the whole pile of toxic shit that this rat pack of corporate criminals sells to kids. Don’t get me wrong – I found extreme pesticide contamination on many of the brands I tested – it’s just that the little cigars stood way out at the top of the contamination chart.

Don’t just take my word for the toxicity of little cigars – the University of North Carolina conducted an extensive study in 2016 comparing the toxicity of little cigar smoke, including swisher Sweets, compared with cigarette smoke. This study was also the first of its kind, just like my pesticide residue study. The North Carolina researchers found detailed hard evidence that little cigars are extremely toxic and are particularly dangerous to young, Black, and Latino smokers compared with cigarettes. (This study, combined with the hard evidence I’m sharing in this post, will blow your mind if you care about mass poisoning of innocent children.)

The one area that this North Carolina study missed was the key role that pesticide residues play in tobacco product toxicity. Like every other scientific and medical study before them, these researchers totally failed to account for pesticide contamination in the tobacco products they tested, and so they were understandably puzzled by the extreme levels of toxicity they found.

However, once you factor in pesticide contamination, the whole picture emerges clearly. The North Carolina data makes sense. It’s the differences in the pesticide burdens of different types of tobacco products that account for the differences in toxicity among types of tobacco products. That’s why it’s so important for local communities to understand the nature of this hidden threat to their children.

I found actionable levels of many different pesticide residues in all the tobacco products I just tested, including several cigarette brands popular with kids. But the overall pesticide contamination of Tobacco products, which regulators manage to ignore, isn’t the key point here. The key point for tobacco product control at the local level is that these little cigar/DDT results are not only grim news for smokers but flat out violate the law.

It is illegal to sell any product contaminated with this level of DDT anywhere in the US. and much of the world. Only soil or water-residual DDT is allowed in any food, beverage, cosmetic or other consumer product, and there is no way that the level I found could occur as a residual from soil or water – it was sprayed on the tobacco used to make this product, and it was sprayed recently. (See commentary below the data.)

The DDT concentration shown below is 700+ times the highest level found anywhere in the entire US food chain from lingering soil or water contamination, and I will guarantee that a sampling of 100 such products will yield similarly shocking results. 

So here’s my suggestion. Take this data on your phone to your health department. Show them the DDT levels. Tell them that the same little cigar products are being sold at the mini-mart. (They are.) 

And then ask them what the law says they have to do. Tell them that the investigator behind this data will send them the full, certified lab report naming the specific brands we tested and the full results. I almost guarantee that they will try to wiggle out of it – “we don’t regulate tobacco products”, or “we don’t regulate pesticides in tobacco products” or, their favorite excuse – “well, tobacco is so bad anyway that we don’t care about a few pesticides”.

But here’s the beauty of the hard evidence I’m offering. It doesn’t matter if your local health officials think they can regulate tobacco products specifically or not. It doesn’t matter if they think have the authority to regulate tobacco products or not. Unless they are somehow forbidden to investigate and take action in cases of toxic substance contamination in consumer products being sold to children in your county, they do have the authority to act. You may have to make them act by going to the School Board, the District Attorney, and your local media, but they do have the authority to act locally and independently on high-level DDT contamination of anything in your community – period.

These contaminated tobacco products are illegal not because they are tobacco products; they are illegal because they are consumer products contaminated with hazardous concentrations of extremely hazardous, totally banned pesticide chemicals that will be emitted when they are used as intended by the manufacturer.

If you enjoy a sweet irony, I can guarantee that when all the testing is done, most of the premium cigars that the 1% love will turn out to be the most highly contaminated of all. Although some premium cigar tobacco growers still use traditional methods, and grow tobacco without industrial chemicals, I’m quite certain that most premium cigars will prove to be far more contaminated than the cheap little cigars the busboys out behind that five-star restaurant have to smoke. 

                   Pesticide Residue Test Sample #1                                  Multnomah County, Oregon                       Received 12/13/2018

billdrake4470@gmail.com

Oregon Cannabis Pesticide Residue Action Levels (PPM)
Analyte Results/Units na = not a listed or regulated pesticide
Exceeds ORS Action Levels √
Unregistered Tobacco EPA/Oregon √√
Banned/Zero Tolerance √√√

Swisher Sweets

Acetamiprid 0.146 mg/kg 0.2
Azoxystrobin 0.198 mg/kg 0.2
Carbendazim √√√ 0.843 mg/kg Carcinogen: WHO
Cypermethrin 0.443 mg/kg 1.0
DDT, p,p-  √√√ 0.816 mg/kg** 0.0 – banned
Dimethomorph √√ 0.0380 mg/kg na
Fenamidone √√ 0.0370 mg/kg na
Imidacloprid 0.169 mg/kg 0.2
Indoxacarb √√ 0.0790 mg/kg na
Mandipropamid √√ 0.0770 mg/kg na
Pendimethalin √√ 0.0910 mg/kg na
Propamocarb √√ 0.0910 mg/kg na
Pyraclostrobin √√ 0.0210 mg/kg na
Chlorantraniliprole Trace 0.2
Ethofenprox Trace 0.4
MGK Trace 0.2
Permethrin Trace 0.2
Thiacloprid Trace 0.2

** Relevant to risk assessment for these “Little Cigars”; the highest levels of DDT p, p- in all foods tested by FDA in their comprehensive “Total Diet Reports” for 2017, were for catfish filets and for frozen potato fries. The 2.17 ng/g potatoes and 2.3 ng/g levels expressed in the FDA “Total Diet Study” are the equivalents of 0.00217 mg/kg for potatoes and 0.0023 mg/kg for catfish. compared with 0.816 mg/kg in the single little cigar sample tested. Based on my knowledge of tobacco industry practices, additional testing will show serious levels of OCP and other classes of pesticide contamination particularly on tobacco products in the “discount” and low-price market segments and, as we will see, in the premium cigar market segment as well.

I know for certain that as we test other tobacco products, especially the cheap ones, we’ll find stuff that makes DDT look like a hint of mint. However, this data is right now, and approximately 800,000 children between 11-15 are smoking this particular brand of little cigar every day and inhaling every one of the pesticides listed.

But even if the only contaminant were the 0.816 mg/kg (or 816 mcg/kg) DDT ….

Average adult intakes of DDT were estimated to be 62 µg/person/day (1000 micrograms = 1 milligram) in 1965 and 240 µg/person/day in 1970, before the DDT ban was instituted. The FDA Total Diet Studies show that the daily intakes have fallen since the ban, with daily intakes (for a 16-year-old, 70 kg male) averaging 6.51, 2.38, 1.49, and 0.97 µg/person/day for 1978–1979, 1979–1980, 1984–1986, and 1986–1991, respectively.https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/chem_background/exsumpdf/ddt_508.pdf

“Based on all of the evidence available, the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that DDT is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Similarly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that DDT is possibly carcinogenic to humans. EPA has determined that DDT, DDE, and DDD are probable human carcinogens.”

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=79&tid=20

Here is a first-class study of the toxicity of cigarette smoke compared to little cigar smoke. It’s clear from this data and analysis that little cigars, including Swisher Sweets which were one of the brands tested, are far more toxic than cigarettes. Interestingly, the researchers were puzzled about where those huge differences in toxicity came from. ‘

It was at least partly from the hidden and unaccounted-for pesticides, which were overlooked in this study as they have been overlooked in virtually every American scientific and medical study of “tobacco” smoke. Little cigars are far more contaminated with far more toxic “crop protection agents” than cigarettes because of differences in how the tobacco is raised, and in how much highly contaminated tobacco manufacturing waste is used in making the product.


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A Community-Level Tobacco Control Strategy

We laugh at the silly idea of Cannabis as a “killer weed” now, but millions believed it and happily allowed the government to send generations of people to prison because they believed it. It seems absurd that anyone would be fooled by that ham-handed government propaganda, but millions were and many still are.

Keeping mind that what has happened in the past could happen again, and could be happening right now, let me ask you to consider this:

What if there is a much more subtle and sophisticated generations-long campaign of disinformation about Tobacco just like there was about Cannabis? What if it’s run by a powerful industry with endless money and not by a bunch of clueless bureaucrats thinking up stupid slogans.  What if the Tobacco industry has known for a long time that it has a severe, possibly fatal problem that it has managed to keep completely out of public view by spending vast sums of money on a combination of public persuasion and widespread, carefully targeted (but increasingly visible) official, scientific and medical corruption?

What if some or even most of the damage being caused in the modern world by commercial Tobacco products is not being caused by the Tobacco in those products but by previously unidentified hazardous toxic substances IN the tobacco products, and what if that means that these products can be controlled at the local level using existing local and state ordinances and laws?

I know that’s it’s a heresy, but fair-minded people will consider the actual evidence and not rest on an unquestioned assumption: maybe it’s not the tobacco in the tobacco products that’s killing most of the people.

The very foundation of the anti-tobacco, anti-smoking faith is that “Tobacco Is Bad Shit”. That’s the firm, unquestioning belief, and every tobacco prevention and control effort in the world is pinned to that article of faith. Tobacco causes illness and death. End of discussion. No questions. Full stop. We already know that Tobacco is bad shit, and we don’t want to hear any more about it. So let’s just move on and figure out how we can keep people from smoking and now vaping the goddamned stuff!

OK, but what if everybody is wrong? Really – what if everyone thinks things are one way, when they are actually another? Is that possible? What if people are all looking in one direction while the answer lies in another? Has there ever been that kind of mass delusion in history? Of course there has been – that’s a central theme in the history of science. People believe something fundamental for generations. It’s obviously wrong, but nobody can see it.  The first one who points this out is attacked. Others speak up and say wait a minute, we should check this out and see if it’s true. They do, and it is. And then everybody says “Whocoulddaknowed?”

The oldest example of “everybody knows” is the flat earth delusion that ruled western minds for centuries. Maps showed the edges of the earth. Then one day – Oops! It’s round. Whocoulddaknowed? Then next the all-powerful church decided to burn heretics who pointed out simple, hard evidence that the world rotated rather than the heavens turning.everyone knew that the earth was the center of the universe and that everything in God’s heavens rotated around God’s earth. Then one day – Oops! Whocoulddaknowed? It took the church centuries to apologize to Galileo.  Then everyone laughed at the idea of invisible bugs causing disease because everyone knows it’s the vapors. Oops! again. Really, Whocoulddaknowed? Little invisible bugs. Well I’ll be damned.

Most of us scoff at that kind of profound ignorance as if we were invulnerable to the same folly. But I’m telling anyone who will listen – it’s not the tobacco that is sickening and killing millions.

I realize that tying those profound historical delusions to a delusion about Tobacco, even if it could be demonstrated, may seem trivial in comparison, but if anything the effect of the delusion about Tobacco has had greater impact than any of those mass delusions just cited. That’s because of our profound collective delusions about tobacco, carefully cultivated by the tobacco industry to shield itself from accountability, have allowed millions of completely preventable deaths in the past and the dying will continue long into the future because of our willful collective ignorance.

The last words attributed to Jesus were “Father forgive them. They know not what they do.” I have always believed that Jesus was using those last words not to comment for all eternity on those who were killing him, but on the one thing most responsible for the suffering and death of mankind.

So, I’ll ask again, what if most of the damage being caused by Tobacco products is actually being caused by pesticide residues that contaminate the Tobacco products? The tobacco products, the manufactured crap, not tobacco itself.

Here’s the thing. We know for sure that pesticide chemicals do exactly what they’re designed to do. They interrupt nerve transmissions, they destroy DNA, they poison internal organs, they mutate little bug babies – the scientists are endlessly creative. So in the end, it really doesn’t matter whether tobacco is bad or not – we know that pesticides are “bad” for sure. They are “xenobiotics” – substances “hostile to life”. But so many people are so tied up arguing the evils of Tobacco so passionately and hatefully that they don’t see themselves as precise  parallels with the Middle Ages “angels on the head of a pin” debate that consumed generations of “wise men”, while the Tobacco companies are snickering all the way to the bank.

There are laws in place in every community to deal with pesticides as toxic substances, although those laws have been rigged by the pesticide manufacturers to cover what they thought was every contingency.

That’s the beauty of understanding that there are xenobiotic substances ON the tobacco products. It doesn’t matter what you think about tobacco itself, or even what laws and ordinances and regulations say about “tobacco” itself. Hate it or love it – doesn’t matter. These are products, and they are toxic, and they violate all kinds of laws on that basis. If you love Tobacco, you should care. If you hate Tobacco, you should care. Pesticide-free tobacco products would be a major improvement in the life of a community regardless.

So there really doesn’t have to be any argument at all about whether or not tobacco is bad and should be controlled – some of the pesticides on the tobacco products being sold in your community are flat illegal and there are available legal remedies that the law says MUST be applied. Take that to the bank – and to your health department. and don’t let them stonewall you about “lack of authority” – they have it. They have never used it before, and they probably haven’t ever thought about it, but if a toxic substance suddenly falls from the sky into the WalMart parking lot you can bet they won’t be sitting around wondering who is going to handle it. If somebody lets loose a can of DDT in a school you can bet that the local authorities aren’t going to call the state police and then wait. Communities can act when they are in immediate peril, and high concentrations of banned pesticide residues in tobacco products being smoked by children in the community meets that definition in spades.

Pesticides fall into a class of chemicals defined as “toxic substances” in a wide range of environmental and consumer protection regulations and statutes. In every state, there are statutes that empower local, county-level health officials to act when toxic substances threaten local public health. Yes there are pre-emption laws that forbid local communities from imposing greater restrictions on pesticides than state laws do, but in this case we’re talking about local communities using existing state laws on toxic substances in consumer products that, if detected at the any level, can trigger local action by public health authorities without waiting for permission from the state. This strategy may need tweaking in many communities, but because state and federal lawmakers have been incredibly (and perhaps in some cases deliberately) sloppy in writing tobacco product regulations I believe that tobacco product pesticide contamination opens a big wide door for local control.

In Oregon where I live, the credible allegation of the presence of banned “toxic substances” on any property located in the community is supposed to trigger mandatory regulatory responses if the allegation is properly made and supported by evidence. “Property” includes tobacco products sitting on the shelf down at the mini-mart. I’m currently working on educating our local public health administrator on her authority to act in this area.

In most jurisdictions I’ve looked at in California, Colorado, and other Cannabis-legal states, a broad range of “Property” is subject to “toxic substance” regulatory oversight by County public health authorities. 

I can hear the screams from the faithful now – but, but Tobacco is so bad that it doesn’t matter if there’s poison on the leaves! I would only ask the faithful – can you point to one scientific research study that compares the smoke or vapor of 100% pure, organic Tobacco with any Tobacco product on the market? There are none. Zero. And, that’s not one of those famous “distinctions without a difference”. Please think about that – if actual, real Tobacco smoke or vapor has never been tested, and if every report of toxic substances in “tobacco” smoke has been based on rigged “reference cigarettes” supplied by the industry itself, where does that leave the idea that, without any question, Tobacco is horrible, awful, dangerous stuff? It may be true, but there are no studies that prove it one way or another.

Since 1970 virtually every “scientific” study of tobacco products has used industry-supplied “reference cigarettes” that don’t give results relevant to either what is really on the commercial market or to organic or even simply leaf tobacco. At least 25% of those “reference cigarettes” are “reconstituted tobacco”, a synthetic product made from a highly variable mix of tobacco stems, stalks and factory-floor waste called “tobacco dust”. There is no way that the results of smoke stream or vapor stream analysis using “reference cigarettes” has anything to do with tobacco in pure form. I know that anti-tobacco advocates would fear that the results of such testing might clear Tobacco’s name and give people who like to smoke and vape a license to do so. But so what?

I would say to them, if it turns out that it isn’t the Tobacco but the pesticides, since the pesticides are a very controllable harm while people smoking and vaping are not controllable, then forget about your dislike of Tobacco and deal with the problem. Or , I would also ask them, do you secretly agree with that renegade government bureaucrat in the 1920’s who arranged to have bootleg whiskey poisoned with methanol in order to scare people into not drinking? Do you think, I would ask, that this was actually a pretty good idea and those drinkers deserved what they got? Or maybe you aren’t that cold-hearted and simply think that alcohol is so bad anyway, and those drinkers were poisoning themselves anyway, so what’s the big deal?

I would ask them these questions because any person who felt so strongly about alcohol that they would ignore the deliberate poisoning of drinkers by the government wouldn’t be worried about a few pesticides in Tobacco products. By the same reasoning, Tobacco is so bad anyway – who cares about pesticides? 

Think that an example from the 1920’s, a hundred years ago, is a bit irrelevant to today’s enlightened government? Well, remember Paraquat on Marijuana? The DEA came right out and said that regardless of what it did to Marijuana smokers, they were engaged in illegal activity and so it didn’t matter. Besides, from the government’s point of view, a few dead hippies weren’t worth getting worked up over. The idea that was sold to the public is clearly that Marijuana is so bad anyway who cares if the government poisons it – after all, they’re just trying to keep precious little American children from being lured into a life of degradation and crime. 

Workers apply fungicide “Ditio carbamato” to cigar tobacco in Nicaragua every 4 days

So what I’m saying is that the only fair and reasonable way to determine the truth, the relative degree of actual risk, would be to compare (1) commercial tobacco products with (2) organic tobacco smoke and vapor. Otherwise all that science on smoking, and all those horrible components of “tobacco” smoke and vapor, aren’t actually testing “tobacco” smoke or vapor at all. They are testing “Tobacco product” vapor and smoke, and most Tobacco products in America have no relationship to real Tobacco leaf. Again, a distinction with a big difference.

One more heretical question, if you’re with me so far. What if those toxic substances are in Tobacco products for one reason only – because it is more profitable for Tobacco product manufacturers to use these chemicals in Tobacco production than to produce Tobacco without them? Almost as an aside, premium cigars are among the most severely contaminated Tobacco products in the world, because the growers spare no expense in applying pesticides, fungicides and every other kind of chemical to keep bugs and worms 

from eating holes in those incredibly valuable cigar wrapper leaves. And why do they do that? Simple, again. It’s the money. A Tobacco leaf with bug holes can be used for making premium cigars, so once a bug takes a bite that leaf turns from gold into plain old shit. 

Tobacco products aren’t contaminated with pesticide residues because the growers and manufacturers want to poison their customers; they’re contaminated because everybody makes more money by using these chemicals and they aren’t being forced to clean up their products, so millions of people are dying just like the bugs and worms in the Tobacco fields. It’s really that simple.

 

The Tobacco industry has produced organic Tobacco products, with no pesticide residue contamination. It knows how. It simply chooses not to. That cost/benefit decision alone impoverishes and drives the loss of millions of lives every year with immeasurable suffering and grief.

Pretty damned grim, right? Well, maybe not.  

All it took to bring down Al Capone was one little charge of income tax evasion, and he wasn’t nearly the magnitude of monster these Tobacco companies are. Al thought he was riding pretty high too. Fancy suits. Expensive wine. Hookers. Blow. The best of everything. But he overlooked that one little crime, and that was enough. 

Who in your County public health structure has the regulatory authority to order inspection of commercial products that are credibly suspected of being contaminated with the residues of banned pesticides? 

Insist that they forget you are talking about Tobacco products.

Ask them what their action would be if you were coming to them with evidence that imported scented candles, or air fresheners, or incense being sold in your community were contaminated with these same pesticides at these same levels?

Geiss, O., Kotzias, D. – Determination of Ammonium, Urea and Pesticide Residues in Cigarette Tobacco. Fresenius Environmental Bulletin (FEB), No. 12 (2003), 1562– 1565

What would they do if they knew that children in the community were going to be inhaling vapors of Endosulfan, 4,4-DDE and Heptachlor over 100 times a day in homes where adults burned these candles?

How about if the issue was air fresheners contaminated with those same nerve toxins? Or maybe incense from China or India full of Chlordane?

What would they do if Tobacco products at the local mini-mart had the same contaminants as the cigarettes on the list you see here.

Oh, and about this cigarette pesticide data being from 2003? See my recent blog post with the Tobacco industry’s own data that shows these same pesticides – and about 100 more – still present on Tobacco worldwide in 2018. Show that data to your county public health department too.

If these two little bits of “income tax evasion” evidence aren’t enough to give your County public health officer “reasonable cause” to order inspection of commercial Tobacco products being sold in your County, let me know.

I’m doing some Tobacco product testing right now (12/18) in three of Oregon’s premier testing labs, and I plan to make the results available as part of a community-level Tobacco product control program.

Local communities have deferred too long to State and federal bureaucrats to protect them from Tobacco products. Simple residue testing of commercial tobacco products being sold in your community will give you ample evidence to insist that your local public health officials use their existing authority to enforce toxic substances regulations against contaminated Tobacco products for sale in your community.

If your community doesn’t have existing qualified pesticide residue testing labs, and most don’t, get in touch and ask for no-cost assistance from the Oregon Community Tobacco Control Partnership.