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


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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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Smoking & Health – Fake Science Kills

What if every scientific study on cigarettes, smoking and health run by the tobacco industry and all of the “data” that has emerged over the past 50 years is severely compromised at the deepest levels?

What if most or all of the data the tobacco industry has been generating continuously to support its claims is fundamentally compromised by flawed research protocols and methodologies, contaminated research materials, inexplicable oversights, and good old-fashioned deceptive practices? What if all this can be directly linked to a single, underlying,’Achilles Heel’ flaw that can be easily verified?

What would that imply for regulations on tobacco products, for anti-tobacco legislation, for treaties and international agreements, for health care and insurance policies, for victims and juries, and for generations of legal decisions and precedent – if all were based on flawed science?

It is.

The core assumption of virtually all smoking & health research is that it is studying tobacco and only tobacco.

A corollary assumption is that cigarettes are tobacco and that cigarette smoke is tobacco smoke.

So when cigarette smoke is generated for research purposes, the assumption is that the smoke being studied is tobacco smoke or, if that assumption is ever questioned, its functional equivalent.

It’s not.

Virtually every research study on smoking and health run by the tobacco industry and its worldwide network of scientists and doctors since the 1970’s is based on the use of University of Kentucky standard “Reference Cigarettes”. Most or possibly all of the data derived using these standard Reference Cigarettes, which are used worldwide in virtually all tobacco industry studies involving cigarettes, are compromised and must be re-evaluated.

There are four main reasons why I believe that tobacco industry standard Reference Cigarettes consistently produce false and misleading data.

  1. There is non-random selection bias in the commercially-sourced leaf tobacco components of Reference Cigarettes.

Explanation

The tobacco leaf used in production of Reference Cigarettes is “commercially-sourced”, and is a non-random sample of the commercially tobacco types available at the time of the manufacturing run. Reference cigarette manufacturers, working to published industry standards, simply use whatever Flue-Cured, Burley, Maryland and Oriental tobacco leaf is convenient for a particular run of Reference Cigarettes. (It’s unclear whether there is more than one manufacturer for a run of reference cigarettes.) The Flue-Cured, for example, could be from North Carolina or Brazil or Zimbabwe. As long as it’s “Flue-Cured”, it meets tobacco industry scientific research standards and no other selection standards or procedures are specified by the certifying body for the tobacco industry. This means there is significant potential variability between the “Flue-Cured” selected for manufacturing into a run of Reference Cigarettes and the Flue-Cured that another manufacturer might use in their cigarette production. The same is true for all tobacco types selected and used in Reference Cigarettes.

  1. There is uncontrolled and unacknowledged variability in the “sheet tobacco” components of Reference Cigarettes.

Explanation

Tobacco Sheet is manufactured from tobacco waste, stems and scrap of variable, multiple, indeterminate foreign and domestic origins, and includes non-tobacco constituents that also vary depending on the “sheet” or “recon” tobacco manufacturing process used. Tobacco sheet is a 20-25% component of Reference Cigarettes. Millions of pounds of foreign-sourced tobacco waste is imported into the US annually for the specific purpose of “tobacco sheet” manufacturing by multiple manufacturers in multiple factories using multiple processing methods. Yet the industry standards for Reference Cigarette manufacturing don’t acknowledge this critical source of variability in the components of Reference Cigarettes, the reference standard for all industry-sponsored cigarette testing worldwide. The highly variable nature of a 20-25% component of all Reference Cigarettes seems sufficient in itself to invalidate data based on the use of Reference Cigarettes. Further, some of the Reference Cigarette recon is standard recon and some is “Sweitzer method” recon, and the two processes are not equivalent.

Finally, there’s variation in tobacco itself. “Tobacco is not a homogeneous product. The flavor, mildness, texture, tar, nicotine, and sugar content vary considerably across varieties or types of tobacco. Defining characteristics of different tobacco types include the curing process (flue-, air-, sun-cured) and leaf color (light or dark), size, and thickness. A given type of tobacco has a different quality depending on where it is grown, its position on the stalk (leaves near the bottom of the stalk are lower in quality), and weather conditions during growing and curing.” (from Tobacco and the Economy , USDA)

  1. There are known but not included in analysis, highly variable concentrations of agrichemical and pesticide residues on the leaf tobacco component and in the sheet tobacco component of Reference Cigarettes. 

Explanation 

Tobacco leaf, sheet, waste and scrap all carry a burden of biologically active pesticides that are not on the industry list of “toxicants” tested for in standardizing the Reference Cigarettes. Extensive research literature establishes the widespread presence of pesticide residues on commercially-sourced tobacco and tobacco waste. When testing is performed on cigarette smoke using the Reference Cigarettes as a baseline or standard, the measured smoke stream constituents will be the byproducts of the interaction of recognized, known and acknowledged tobacco constituents along with an undetermined number and concentration of unknown pesticides whose common presence on commercial, and especially on imported tobacco is well-established. There is no way to tell how the measured ‘toxicants’ in any sets of results using Reference Cigarettes have been affected by combustion of pesticide residues because the tobacco being used is not tested for the presence or concentration of those residues. Because of this error in research design, any smoke stream ‘toxicant’ data based on Reference Cigarettes will be flawed in unpredictable ways and should not be accepted without re-evaluation.

  1. The tobacco leaf used for manufacturing Reference Cigarettes is sourced from standard unsegregated commercial markets for Flue-Cured, Maryland, Oriental, and Burley tobacco leaf.

Explanation

Commercially sourced tobacco is, unless otherwise specified, an aggregated universe of tobacco leaf grown and handled under a wide range of environmental and agronomic conditions. Only tobacco leaf grown domestically under controlled conditions and kept separate from commercial tobacco could be used as to produce a reference cigarette that would be uniform enough in biochemical makeup to legitimately serve as a universal standard. A large proportion of the Flue-Cured and Maryland, and nearly all the Oriental Tobacco in the commercial market at any given time is from foreign sources. This means that the Reference Cigarette manufacturers who simply source by category have no idea where any given batch of leaf comes from or what its biological parameters might be aside from any commercial sampling or batch testing testing they may or may not do. As a result there simply can’t be uniformity or standardization of important parameters of the biological makeup of the tobacco plant materials used in manufacturing Reference Cigarettes.

So that’s it. Well, actually there a whole lot more, supported by reams of references all from peer-reviewed sources. But for now I thought I would just lay this out as clearly and simply as possible and see if anyone cares that the tobacco industry has been creating fake science for 50 years now and they have never really been called on it much less held accountable in meaningful ways.

The “Tobacco Settlement”, for example, is a horrible joke and a legal travesty but it is based on what can be shown to be such deliberately bad science and deceptively derived evidence that the whole issue of liability and intent on the part of the Tobacco industry should be open to re-litigation and to criminal prosecution as well.

Meanwhile I’m pursuing a couple of “think global, act local’ options here in Oregon that ought to get things moving a little pretty soon.

If you like what I’m trying to do here please hit that little donate button below and drop a thank you on me – I would appreciate knowing that you care about what I’m doing. Thanks.