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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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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.