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.
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?
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.
Can you believe that RJR tried to get a tax credit for disposing of tobacco waste by processing it into cigarettes instead of dumping it in the landfill? Check it out – links to the original court case are below.
As this post is written the tobacco fields of Virginia and the Carolinas are flooded and destroyed. There are millions of pounds of waterlogged tobacco lying in mud mixed with sewage and dead pigs,the whole mess waiting to be plowed under or hauled away.
Or not. It turns out that cigarette giant RJR has a series of secret processes for making all kinds of tobacco waste into cigarettes. The tobacco farmers may be 100% wiped out, but I’ll bet RJR already has crews out there gathering up those dead stalks while they’re firing up the equipment to run that crap through their secret “G-Series” processes. More on that shortly.
But … if a few months from now that second-hand cigarette smoke drifting around on the streets suddenly starts smelling faintly like rancid pigshit with maybe a hint of faux mint you’ll know why.
Here’s the background on the secret G-Series processes that RJR doesn’t voluntarily reveal to anyone.
To Set The Scene
Picture a North Carolina courtroom in 1998. The great, all-powerful RJ Reynolds has just filed an appeal against a ruling by the North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources. And lost.
The ruling says sorry, RJR can’t classify the tobacco stems, scraps, dust and trash that it uses to manufacture its cigarette products as solid waste.
Now, doesn’t that bring up the question – why would RJR want to classify its manufacturing materials as solid waste?
It sounds like a sneaky little tax loophole but hey, if RJR wants to get a tax credit for disposing of their waste in an environmentally sound fashion, what’s the problem?
The problem is that RJ Reynolds claims it is “disposing of” this waste by manufacturing it into cigarettes, and says that qualifies it for tax breaks because the waste isn’t going into landfills. It’s being bought and smoked by their customers.
There are some really clever folks down North Carolina way.
Can’t you just see those no-neck monsters with cheap haircuts sitting around the table gloating, all fashionably attired in blue dress shirts with white collars. “Get this – we already know how to take all that trash that doesn’t cost us a dime and get a bunch of dumb fucks to pay us big bucks to smoke it, and now our lawyers are saying we’re gonna get ourselves a big tax break for making them smoke that shit and not tossing it into the landfill. Pretty damn sweet!”
The Secret G-Series Processes
What made the RJR boys giggle is that their research scientists have been really successful over decades of work in coming up with a whole series of ways to use worthless tobacco trash and waste to make cigarettes. These processes, code-named the “G Series” were a major set of developments for RJR. They form the base of a major part of their wealth, allowing them to manufacture synthetic smoking materials out of tobacco trash and recycled waste and supply it to the entire US cigarette industry. (The Europeans won’t touch this shit.)
Here’s a quick look at some of the code-named RJR projects to develop processes for turning trash into cigarettes.
The RJR G-Series Codes
Internal Identification Codes for G-Processed Tobaccos follow this pattern:
G__-nnL = base for item id.
G = is a number for the process
Nn i= a number for a specific version
L = a letter for a modification
The G-Code Family
G7, G16, and G17 series codes refer to reconstituted tobacco processes while G13, G14 and G18 refer to expanded tobacco processes. G15 series refers to pectin release cast sheets.
G7-A Ammoniated tobacco sheet developed in response to Marlboro (RJR, 1991b).
G7AE Ammonia applied to the G7 extract prior to making the reconstituted sheet (Gignac et al, 1988).
G7-10B 1.2% DAP Treated G7-1 Sheet
G7-DAP Evaluate DAP for improving the taste of G7A (RJR, 1989b).
G13-23 Freon Expanded Cut Filler
G14-1 Expanded Cut Roll Stems
G15-2 Pectin release Cast Sheet (100% Dust Recipe)
G16-2 Lowest Nicotine Tobacco Sheet
G17-1 Reconstituted Tobacco Strands (RTS)
G18-1 Propane Expanded Process (PEP)
To access the full Tobacco company manufacturing code base go to:
RJR’s “Toxic Waste Into Cigarettes” Court Case – The Smoking Gun
The “Toxic Waste Into Cigarettes” case number is no. COA01-74 in the North Carolina Court of Appeals filed: 19 February 2002. The full text of the case and the court’s ruling is available at
The basic idea is that since RJ Reynolds is disposing of millions of pounds of waste every year by making it into cigarettes and selling them to American smokers rather than dumping all that waste in a landfill, the company therefore deserves a tax break for being good environmental stewards. The testimony of RJR and others recorded in this lawsuit reveals information about how RJ Reynolds manufactures its products that ought to give any cigarette smoker, and any regulator, and any jury, cause to realize the extent of the knowingly deceptive and harmful practices of this cigarette giant.
The only reason all this doesn’t set off alarm bells is that the so-called “tobacco” industry has spent (quite literally) billions of dollars on social conditioning so that your reaction on reading anything negative about cigarettes is very likely “So what – I know all that. I’m tired of hearing about it. It’s old news.”
If you think those ideas are your own, think again. They are implanted.
But really consider the evidence, so cleverly hidden in plain sight, and it becomes compelling and conclusive even in partial outline. Sooner or later the cigarette industry is going to have to answer for this hidden but discernible criminal conspiracy against humanity, which is of a magnitude and horror that makes it virtually incomprehensible even to thoughtful minds. And that, of course, is exactly the idea.
Here are a few of the details directly from the court papers from COA01-74 North Carolina:
In manufacturing tobacco products, Reynolds does buy tobacco leaves at auction. The tobacco is sent to a stemmery, where the stems (hard, woody part of the leaf) are separated from the lamina portion of the leaf (material in between the stems). The separation process also generates small scraps of tobacco (scraps) and very fine scraps of tobacco (dust). The usable tobacco lamina material is sent to the manufacturing operation where it is blended and becomes part of what winds up as a cigarette.
The stems, scraps and dust are packed into containers and sent to a storage facility until they are either processed into reconstituted sheet tobacco, through related treatments known as the G-Series processes, or are discarded. The reconstituted sheet tobacco is shredded and blended with the processed lamina strips and made into filler for cigarettes. The reconstituted tobacco filler is part of most brands of cigarettes made by Reynolds, and enables cigarettes to be made with lower tar and nicotine content which according to Reynolds has been “demanded by smoking consumers”.
Reynolds uses approximately seventy million pounds of tobacco stems, scrap and dust each year in making reconstituted sheet tobacco for its own use, and many millions more for other manufacturers. Reynolds also disposes of between five and seven million pounds of tobacco waste materials in landfills each year. This material is of a lower quality than the stems, scrap and dust used in the G-Series processes; much of it is generated by the manufacturing process, rather than the stemmery, though some tobacco waste generated by the stemmery is also disposed of.
In order to keep up with its production requirements for reconstituted tobacco, Reynolds imports tobacco stems purchased overseas. For example, in 2006 (the latest year for which US Government data is available), the US imported 136.8 Million pounds of Tobacco stems. In other words, there weren’t nearly enough stems being produced from US tobacco for the manufacturers to use in making their products. These manufacturers, on the other hand, would probably say “Well, Tobacco stems are still real Tobacco, so what’s the big deal?” The big deal of course is that many of the most dangerous pesticides used on tobacco overseas (like slug and snail control chemicals) are taken up from soil application into the roots and stems, and others translocate from the leaf where they are sprayed into the stems and stalks.
Reynolds sells reconstituted tobacco to other manufacturers of tobacco products, and manufactures reconstituted sheet tobacco for other tobacco manufacturers, using stems, scraps and dust supplied by them. As you can read in the case file, one of Reynolds’ witnesses testified that even if there were no tax incentives for recycling and resource recovery of or from solid waste, “Reynolds would still operate the G-7 process because of its cost-effectiveness.”
While it’s bad enough that this corporation wants tax breaks for selling waste to its customers, what isn’t revealed here is that this “tobacco” waste is highly contaminated with toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic and endocrine-disrupting agricultural chemicals and pesticides. That single sentence “In order to keep up with its production requirements for reconstituted tobacco, Reynolds imports tobacco stems purchased overseas” holds the clue. When you look at where RJ Reynolds buys its tons of waste overseas you find that it is coming from countries that have absolutely no regulations on pesticide and other toxic chemical use on tobacco crops. This means that the waste that RJ Reynolds is putting in its cigarettes, and that Reynolds is selling to other cigarette manufacturers as reconstituted “sheet” contains high levels of pesticides that are totally banned for use on any crop in the US.
Many of these chemicals are known carcinogens, they are known to destroy nervous systems, they are known to produce deformed babies, and they are known to produce a range of debilitating and fatal diseases in humans. Furthermore, carefully-done research studies show that many of these pesticides, especially the more recent chemicals that attack DNA and other genetic materials in insects, are far more dangerous to children, young women, and the unborn in every population, and to people with Latin, Native American, Asian or African biological ancestry, than they are to adult Caucasian males. That explains why pesticide residues in cigarettes “aren’t a problem” for the white guys running the so-called “tobacco” industry.
RJ Reynolds and all the others could choose to manufacture their cigarette brands from pure tobacco leaf grown in the US or even other countries under strict pesticide regulations. The reason they choose to pack their products with toxic waste instead is because it is so profitable to do so, and because nobody has called any of them on the practice.
RJR Lost That One
As it happened, not so fast smart guys. The North Carolina judge actually ruled that time even the mighty RJR legal department had gone too far. The judge said no, the Dept. of Environment & Natural Resources is right, and you can’t claim a tax credit for disposing of your toxic waste by getting your customers to smoke it. Boo Hoo. RJR lost that one – or did they?
They didn’t get a tax credit for making people smoke their waste instead of polluting the landfill with it, but I’m betting that what the engineer says in the court testimony remains true – “it’s so profitable that even if they don’t get a tax break they’ll still use G-7”.
I can’t tell whether or not RJR is still using any of its patented “G-Series” processes in 2018 for disposing of toxic waste by making it into cigarettes and telling smokers they’re getting “true tobacco taste” or “natural tobacco”, or something equally deceptive. However, RJR is the biggest supplier of tobacco “sheet” to other manufacturers, and appears to be the biggest importer of tobacco waste for that purpose, so my guess is that the “G-Series” is not only alive and well (unlike smokers) but flourishing (also unlike smokers).
So just to see what’s happening these days I’ve just filed a FOIA request for the USDA records that cover the $2 Billion worth of tobacco stems and trash imported in 2017. These records will show every US company that imported this toxic waste, the waste’s country of origin, and the importer’s certification for each shipment that it isn’t contaminated with residues of any banned pesticide like dioxin or DDT.
Update (10/30/18) – no need to file a FOIA request – all the data on tobacco waste imports by American ‘tobacco’ companies that make that waste into cigarettes is right here.
It turns out that RJR is NOT the biggest importer of tobacco waste for cigarette manufacturing – that honor goes to Philip Morris as you can see if you click here.
Now if you would like to see a short video by Philip Morris that explains how they turn waste into cigarettes, click here. Just keep in mind that they slip the Big Lie in at about 2:11 into the video.
That’s all they have to do to import those millions of pounds of toxic waste they’re going to make into cigarettes. They just sign and go, and nobody ever checks again. That may change.
A little donation would go a long way toward supporting my efforts here.
I’ll share the results of this FOIA inquiry in another blog post.
I have to begin this post with a bit of background. While this introduction may not seem true to the title of the post, I hope that you will give me a chance to tie it all together. Unfortunately it is a long and complex story, so if you are easily bored then this post is probably a bit much for you, It is certainly not entertaining. But if you are wondering why it seems to be that so many companies get rich by sending American men and women into combat, and why those men and women are so instantly forgotten as they waste away from undiagnosed and untreated “syndromes” after their usefulness is over, then perhaps you’ll give me a chance to tell you at least one part of the story – a virtually unknown part at that.
The Back Story
I’ve been interviewed recently by a journalist and two historians who were all working separately on the origins of Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company. It was very interesting for me to try to recall events of those days as my memories were probed by these professionals, because I haven’t thought about any of those experiences for a long time.
In the process of recalling events and friends, many now sadly gone, I began thinking about what SFNT started out to be, and what it became.
If Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company had become what Robert Marion (may he rest in the arms of the Great Spirit) and I intended it to be, it would have become a network of Native American growers of organic traditional tobaccos on Native American sovereign lands, as well as special-purpose agricultural cooperatives of Native American growers and other growers of any ethnicity, growing organic heirloom strains of tobacco from around the world. By now of course that vision would include organic Landrace Cannabis strains and organic Coca Leaf.
And the products that this company could have created would have been true to the Spirit, which I have to assume they are probably not, under non-transparent corporate management. It wouldn’t take much to test for authenticity if you know what it’s really important to look for. This recent “Ammonia” & “Menthol” lawsuits are a good example of people not really knowing anything about the industry and the processes it uses. From the industry’s perspective they are useful idiots. Or maybe they are actually doing the industry’s business – it’s hard to tell.
In the original vision, given to us by the Tobacco Spirit, people buying the products would know where the tobacco in their cigarette was grown and harvested just as surely as someone who buys a bottle of Napa or Bordeaux estate wine knows exactly where it came from and who grew it.
Finally, the economic benefits would have flowed to the growers not just in the form of premium prices but in ownership and participation in profits. As is shown by the recent Japan Tobacco Company purchase of worldwide marketing rights to “American Spirit” for $5+ Billion, there was plenty of money to be shared among many, many people. But that isn’t the American corporate model.
You can understand the chasm between the original Spirit and Corporate clone extraordinarily clearly than when you look at these two images. On the left is the original image that Robert and I used (under license from the NYC Public Library) on our first packages of “American Spirit”. On the right is the Corporate version, no doubt the result of millions of dollars and endless meetings. But in the end, the differences in the vision behind the two images are striking, aren’t they?
The left-hand image is the essence of what “American Spirit” was intended to be, and might have been, and the right-hand image is the essence of what it has become.
As I look at the corporate image for the first time in years, because I don’t keep up with the company or its products, I find myself asking if “100% Natural Tobacco” is intended these days to mean the same thing as “100% Natural Tobacco Leaf”? Because they don’t have to mean the same thing, at all. The US imports hundreds of thousands of tons of tobacco waste, not Leaf but stems and stalks and assorted garbage from the Third World Tobacco processors that could, if you wanted to do such a thing, be ground up, processed into smoking materials and still called “100% Natural Tobacco”. I do have to wonder why the word “Leaf” doesn’t appear anywhere in the company’s claims.
When Robert Marion and I started producing “American Spirit” as a rolling tobacco we used only leaf tobacco – mostly “hands” of traditionally cured whole leaf tobacco from responsible growers we found in North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky, along with as much New Mexico Rustica as I could raise in my half-acre garden. We used as much as our friends on San Juan Pueblo could grow, and we also bought quite a bit of Rustica from people who gathered it in the wild in Northern New Mexico, where it is called “Punche”. We used paper-cutters to make the Tobacco into little curls just right for rolling and smoking.
In a little side-experiment, I remember using my wife’s Cuisinart (I had to buy her another one) to make snuff out of the Rustica. “Coyote Snuff ” was pure Rustica and was powerful stuff and quite popular too. People called it “Legal Coke”.
However, what concerns me is that the “grind up the Zimbabwe Tobacco factory floor sweepings along with those African Tobacco roots, stalks and rat turds” approach is already being used by “Tobacco” manufacturers including the corporate owner of American Spirit. After all, nobody thinks that all those “Tobacco Stems, Roots, Stalks & Waste” are being imported to make just to make rat poison – we know that this garbage is being used to make billions of cigarettes. Hell, you can even find the companies bragging about it in their internal literature. (More specifics later.)
The “Tobacco” industry is a master at using words and phrases that seem to mean one thing, and that carry all the positive connotations that word or phrase would carry if it actually meant what it appears to mean, but that same word or phrase can actually mean something altogether different. The real trick here is that if they are ever caught out they can put on their innocent face and say … “but, but, that WAS real tobacco taste we were using. We extracted it from real Tobacco….. Well, yeah, it was from real tobacco waste from Zimbabwe factory floors, but it was REAL!!!! We never said that the cigarette was real tobacco, just the taste.”
This just one example of what any company in the entire “Tobacco” industry could be doing, if they were evil enough. To go a little further …
Just as the phrase “true tobacco taste” doesn’t mean that there is any actual tobacco in what you’re smoking, the phrase “100% Natural Tobacco” doesn’t mean anything more than the product contains some part of the tobacco plant, not necessarily leaf. Technically and legally a manufacturer could use 100% tobacco stems, stalks and roots, grind them up and make cigarettes out of them and call their product “100% Natural Tobacco”.
We already know through extensive documentation from impeccable sources that companies like RJR import Tobacco waste and blend it with domestic cellulosic waste (think about that for a minute – wouldn’t used “Depends” count as cellulosic waste?) and make many different brands of cigarettes.
The only question in my mind is whether “American Spirit” has been contaminated by its corporate masters or not, because in the end the claim “100% Natural Tobacco” means nothing without complete transparency for the reasons just outlined.
I also find myself asking if “additive-free” means that nobody in the growing/processing chain “added” anything to the “100% Natural Tobacco” ever, or if those words actually mean something else. Perhaps there is a regulatory class somewhere called “tobacco additives” and “additive-free” is supposed to mean, perfectly legitimately, that none of these particular flavor and aroma chemicals are being used. Or, if there is a class of chemicals and substances that are technically known as “Tobacco Additives”, then anything not on that list is technically not a recognized “Tobacco Additive”. It’s hard to know what “additive free” means in any given instance of its use as a commercial claim because the phrase “additive-free” can actually mean a lot of different things.
The original vision was to use only pure, leaf tobacco and only natural, traditional tobacco flavorings like honey, molasses, and rum. Our early customers knew what they were smoking and could depend on it.
Today of course the Vision would have to include Cannabis-infused whole leaf organic heirloom smoking tobaccos. Ah well – so much for Vision.
We know that the image has changed, along with the Spirit. But here is the real question – is the true Spirit of Tobacco gone, or is the Spirit of Tobacco merely waiting for others who have the Vision?
Meanwhile, it is clear that the so-called “Tobacco” industry is one of the most prolific “Murder For Profit” gangs in history. And the weapons that they use are so clever that for some reason with all of its sophisticated tools modern science and medicine can’t seem to put the facts together and make a case for mass murder for profit.
The problem is, on its face anyway, simplicity itself.
If you can’t diagnose, you can’t treat. And if you don’t know where to look, and what to look for, you can’t diagnose.
That is currently the case with Gulf War Syndrome, which is actually the story of America’s War On Veterans, and Who is profiting from this war. So here is the story that I promised in the title of this post. I hope that it is worth your time to read.
Realizing that it is asking a lot of busy people to read a long and complex posting, here is a quick summary, followed by a discussion of the evidence.
1.Over two dozen well-done studies from 1994-2013 have all concluded that Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) diseases are caused by dual exposure to pyridostigmine bromide (an anti-nerve gas agent forcefully administered to GW troops) plus pesticides those troops were exposed to in theater.
a. It is very important to note how rarely scientific and medical studies actually state that they have identified the cause of such a complex issue as GWS.
2. RAND Corporation (2000) identified the Gulf War pesticides as:
a. One organochlorine pesticide (lindane)
b. One repellent (DEET)
c. Two pyrethroid pesticides (permethrin, rf-phenothrin)
d. Five organophosphate pesticides (azamethiphos, chlorpyrifos, diazinon dichlorvos, malathion)
e. Three carbamate pesticides (bendiocarb, methomyl, propoxur)
3. The majority of Gulf War troops were not exposed widely to most of these pesticides – in fact the numbers exposed and the subsequent numbers of Vets with GWS don’t match up at all.
a. For example, in the case of Lindane only one incident was reported, and that report is seriously questioned.
b. Something else is going on – and this post will reveal what that something is.
4. Studies of the persistence of symptoms after exposure show that the combination of exposure to PB and pesticides causes permanent neurological, genetic and other kinds of damage and disease in Gulf War Veterans
5. “The Defense Department estimates that approximately 250,000 personnel took at least some pyridostigmine bromide during the 1990-1991 Gulf War. During the 1990-1991 Gulf War, all U.S. troops were to have received packets containing pyridostigmine bromide pills.” http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/faq/faq_pb.jsp
6. None of the studies explain why Gulf War Veterans continue to develop NEW symptoms and diseases decades after exposure – this explicitly worries and puzzles many of the researchers, and they say so.
7. None of the studies explain why Gulf War Veterans continue to come down with these terrible diseases in far greater proportions than demographically-matched non-Veterans 20-25 years after exposure – this also puzzles and worries researchers, and they say so.
8. None of these studies explain why the children (and grandchildren) of Gulf War Veterans are coming down with developmental and neurological disorders in far greater numbers than demographically-matched cohorts – this is really troublesome to the scientists and doctors studying GWS – and again, they are very frustrated by their inability to explain this.
9. This post will present what I believe is compelling evidence that the explanation for all these missing pieces of the puzzle is the presence of residues of dozens of never-identified pesticides in cigarettes, chewing tobacco and wet snuff.
a. Remember that these research studies have PROVEN that exposure to PB and 6-10 specific pesticides are the cause of GWS.
b. So, what if the exposure isn’t to 6-10, but 60+ pesticides, many far more dangerous than the 10 or so identified in the GW studies
c. And what if the exposure wasn’t just during the Gulf War but every day since that war.
10. Many of the pesticides used on tobacco worldwide are known to be powerful carcinogens, developmental and reproductive toxins, neurotoxins, DNA mutagens, and endocrine disruptors in very small doses, especially when that dosage is chronic, sub-lethal, and in many cases bio-accumulative.
11. Here is the list of pesticides used worldwide on Tobacco, especially on tobacco grown on “contract farms” in political/economic dictatorships worldwide and therefore likely, at least in some cases, to be present as residues in US Tobacco Industry products.
a. DDT, TDE, Chlordane, Lindane, Aldrin, Endrin, Dieldrin, Heptachlor, and Toxaphene, Anilazine, AziaPhos-Methyl, Captan, Diflubenzuron, Leptophos, Malathion, Methoprene, Mirex, Cyclohexane, 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D), Chloropicrin, Maleic hydrazide, Acephate, Methyl Bromide, Isocarbophos, Dimethoate, Pendimethalin, Dicrotophos, Chlorpyrifos, Fenamiphos, Mancozeb, Flumetralin, Metalaxyl, Clomazone, Ethoprop, Endosulfan, Mefenoxam, Pebulate, Ethephon, Napropamide, Sulfentrazone, Imidacloprid, Aldicarb, Butralin, Dimethomorph, Methomyl, Malathion, Ethyl Parathion, Methyl Parathion, Disulfoton, Sethoxydim, Spinosad, Carbaryl, Fonofos, Benefin, Bacillus Thuringiensis, Carbofuran, Diazinon, Diphenamid, Isopropalin, Omethoate, Phismet, Phoxim, Oxamyl, Methidathion, Thiodan, Pendimethilum, and Trichlorfon. Also the solvents Toluene, Benzene, Phosgene, Hexane, and Xylene.
12. Given the findings with regard to exposure to PB and a small number of pesticides causing Gulf War Syndrome diseases, just imagine what exposure to PB and the 60+ pesticide residues in Tobacco Industry products has been doing continually to the health of Veterans who continue to smoke, dip or chew since the early 1990s when this tragedy began.
a. Remember – we are talking about ongoing daily exposure to these pesticides for decades, not a few months exposure in the Persian Gulf several decades back.
13. Many of these pesticides, like DDT and the other Organochlorines, are banned from any use at all in most countries, but are still widely and illegally used on tobacco in the Third World.
a. US manufacturers import hundreds of thousands of tons of pesticide-contaminated tobacco stems, scrap and waste from Third World manufacturers and use proprietary processes (Like RJR’s G7 process, described in Exhibit 9 below) to convert this toxic waste into “tobacco” products.
14. With the exception of the questionable Lindane exposure, none of the pesticides identified in the GWS studies are Organochlorine pesticides– only Organophosphate and Carbamate pesticides
a. Probably because there aren’t supposed to be any Organochlorine pesticide residues anywhere, in anything.
15. There has never been a study of off-the-shelf cigarettes, wet snuff or chewing tobacco to determine in detail which pesticide residues are present in which brands.
a. Never. Not once in all the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on research into why Tobacco Industry products kill. Think about that.
16. CDC and other studies show a significantly higher proportion of all Veterans who are smokers than non-Veterans in all age groups. Details further on in the post.
17. Other studies of the proportion of Gulf War Veterans who continue to be smokers, chewers and dippers show that GW Vets continue at higher rates in every category compared to non-GW Vets and to matched demographic civilians. Details further on in the post.
18. There are no studies of the interaction of pesticide residues in Tobacco Industry products with pyridostigmine bromide.
a. None. That’s because tobacco exposure has NEVER been considered as part of the issue by any GWS researchers.
b. Could it be that every single one of the researchers missed the connection between Tobacco Industry products and GWS?
c. Is it possible that there was undue outside influence at work?
19. However, as stated in #1 above, the BIG BREAKTHROUGH is that thanks for the PB/GWS/Pesticide studies we now know unequivocally that ingesting even a few pesticides by inhalation in interaction with pyridostigmine bromide has been shown to be CAUSAL in the development of GWS diseases.
20. I believe that if proper studies are done they will show that the preponderance of Gulf War Veterans who have developed GWS disease are smokers, chewers, or dippers – or were at the time but may have stopped sometime since.
a. No such study has been done. This has gone right over everyone’s head – or else they’ve been told not to look into it.
b. OK – call me a conspiracy theorist. I won’t deny it.
c. A simple research model would prove or disprove the thesis – divide GW Vets into three groups;
i. ongoing Tobacco Industry product users since their Gulf War days,
ii. users during the Gulf War who have since quit,
iii. and never-users, and compare GWS rate for each group.
21. However, with regard to GW vets who once used but who have stopped, it’s important to note that since many of the pesticides used in Tobacco production are bio-accumulative, even years after stopping these pesticides remain in the body and their health effects remain potent.
a. This has been established conclusively in the case of exposed tobacco field workers in underdeveloped countries.
22. I believe that it is the ongoing, chronic sub-lethal exposure to pesticides in cigarettes, wet snuff, and chewing tobacco, combined with the forced administration of pyridostigmine bromide at the time of service, that is the CAUSE of most or even all of the suffering and death experienced by Gulf War Veterans and their families.
a. The PB and few pesticides identified in the studies may have started the lethal ball rolling, but it is the ongoing exposure, as well as the kinds of pesticides in Tobacco Industry products, that can explain many of the aspects of the research that puzzles and confuses researchers.
23. I believe that a study that determined which pesticide residues are present in which brands of Tobacco products, combined with a study of what proportion of Gulf War Veterans who suffer from GWS diseases are “Tobacco” product users (or who were exposed to second-hand smoke during their service), would show that it is the products of the Tobacco industry that are responsible for most of the ongoing suffering and death of our Gulf War Veterans.
a. You can’t treat if you can’t diagnose, and since doctors are almost universally ignorant of the presence of pesticides in Tobacco Industry products, how would they have a clue about where to look when a Gulf War Vet with GWS presents as a patient?
b. If they don’t have a clue about their patient’s 20-30 years of chronic, sub-lethal exposure to multiple pesticide residues, why would they consider pesticide poisoning?
24. Of course the presence of pesticide residues in so-called “tobacco” products explains a lot of the suffering and death among all smokers, dippers and chewers from all walks of life, but because Gulf War veterans were specifically forced to accept administration of pyridostigmine bromide, the culpability of this criminal industry and the US Government is magnified many times over.
25. This completes the summary of what this post contains.
The Trail Of Evidence
Please let me be clear. I am not advocating that Tobacco product pesticide contamination is the only causal factor in GWS. This is, after all, a syndrome – a collection of symptoms, diseases and consequences. For example, there is stunning evidence that a substantial portion of GWS is the result of compulsory military vaccinations against anthrax and other chem-bio weapons. The central issue I am trying to raise is that there is a significant, overlooked, and deliberately obscured connection between Tobacco industry products and GWS. If this connection can be confirmed by factual evidence, then ONE of the major factors in GWS will be revealed, and the culpability of what I am convinced is a criminal conspiracy will be evident.
The Tobacco industry is guilty of knowingly manufacturing unreasonably dangerous products and, in the case of Gulf War veterans, making an already intolerable set of circumstances even worse. Once the connection between PB and pesticides was firmly established, the Tobacco industry had to be aware of the ongoing damage their products would cause specifically for Gulf War Vets, having nothing to do with any other “dangers of smoking”. Some of these companies actually make “Organic” tobacco products, so they fully understand what their non-organic products contain. Yet they said or did nothing. Furthermore, while Gulf War Veterans with GWS can’t hold the US Government, the US Military, the PB manufacturers, the vaccine manufacturers, or the pet collar and no-pest strip manufacturers accountable for the damage they caused, holding the Tobacco industry accountable is a whole different matter, legally and morally.
Let me begin by showing you the abstract of an important study on the causes of the wide range of diseases that even today, 25 years after the fact, continue to sicken and kill Gulf War veterans.
Study Title: Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors and Gulf War Illnesses
(by) Beatrice Alexandra Golomb
(In) Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, USA.
Mar 18, 2008; 105(11): 4295–4300.
Published online Mar 10, 2008.
doi: 10.1073/pnas.0711986105, PMCID: PMC2393741
Increasing evidence suggests excess illness in Persian Gulf War veterans (GWV) can be explained in part by exposure of GWV to organophosphate and carbamate acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEis), including pyridostigmine bromide (PB), pesticides, and nerve agents. Evidence germane to the relation of AChEis to illness in GWV was assessed. Many epidemiological studies reported a link between AChEi exposure and chronic symptoms in GWV. The link is buttressed by a dose–response relation of PB pill number to chronic symptoms in GWV and by a relation between avidity of AChEi clearance and illness, based on genotypes, concentrations, and activity levels of enzymes that detoxify AChEis. Triangulating evidence derived from studies linking occupational exposure to AChEis to chronic health symptoms that mirror those of ill GWV. Illness is again linked to lower activity of AChEi detoxifying enzymes and genotypes conferring less-avid AChEi detoxification. AChEi exposure satisfies Hill’s presumptive criteria for causality, suggesting this exposure may be causally linked to excess health problems in GWV.
Here is the link to the full article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2393741/
Just to be clear, pyridostigmine bromide (PB) is the chemical administered, forcibly in many cases, to US troops in the Gulf War on the premise that it would protect them from Saddam’s nerve gas. And the pesticides referred to were also present in the Gulf War theater as a result – or so it was thought – of other kinds of chemical weapons, as well as the “pet collars” worn by many Gulf War troops and the “No-Pest strips” hung in living quarters and vehicles to try to ward off the man-eating fleas and other insects that live in that harsh desert environment.
For an excellent research paper on GW exposure to these pesticides please see:
As early as 1996 alarms were being raised, even about the DEET that the GW troops were using, much less the pesticides in the Pet Collars and No-Pest Strips..
J Toxicol Environ Health. 1996 May;48(1):35-56.
Neurotoxicity resulting from coexposure to pyridostigmine bromide, deet, and permethrin: implications of Gulf War chemical exposures.
Abou-Donia MB1, Wilmarth KR, Jensen KF, Oehme FW, Kurt TL.
“Of the three-quarters of a million service personnel involved in the Persian Gulf War, approximately 30,000 have complained of neurological symptoms of unknown etiology. One contributing factor to the emergence of such symptoms may be the simultaneous exposure to multiple agents used to protect the health of service personnel, in particular, the anti-nerve gas agent pyridostigmine bromide (PB; 3-dimethylaminocarbonyloxy-N-methylpyridinium bromide), the insect repellent DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), and the insecticide permethrin (3-(2,2-dichloro-ethenyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropanecarboxylic acid (3-phenoxyphenyl) methyl ester). This study investigated neurotoxicity produced in hens by individual or simultaneous exposure to these agents (5 d/wk for 2 months to 5 mg/kg/d PB in water, po; 500 mg/kg/d DEET, neat, sc; and 500 mg/kg/d permethrin in corn oil, sc). At these dosages, exposure to single compounds resulted in minimal toxicity. Combinations of two agents produced greater neurotoxicity than that caused by individual agents. Neurotoxicity was further enhanced following concurrent administration of all three agents. We hypothesize that competition for liver and plasma esterases by these compounds leads to their decreased breakdown and increased transport of the parent compound to nervous tissues. Thus, carbamylation of peripheral esterases by PB reduces the hydrolysis of DEET and permethrin and increases their availability to the nervous system. In effect, PB “pumps” more DEET and permethrin into the central nervous system. Consistent with this hypothesis, hens exposed to the combination of the three agents exhibited neuropathological lesions with several characteristics similar to those previously reported in studies of near-lethal doses of DEET and permethrin. If this hypothesis is correct, then blood and liver esterases play an important “buffering” role in protecting against neurotoxicity in the population at large. It also suggests that individuals with low plasma esterase activity may be predisposed to neurologic deficits produced by exposure to certain chemical mixtures.”
However, even the studies of the effects of chronic exposure to PB and Permethrin in chickens (above) and lab rats – not humans – are pretty revealing. Here are a few excerpts from one of the more complete studies on this single chemical interaction. One can only imagine what a study of the effects of chronic exposure in human beings to PB and the entire list of cigarette pesticides would reveal.
TITLE: Synergistic Actions of Pyridostigmine Bromide and Insecticides on Muscle and Vascular Nociceptors
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Brian Cooper
CONTRACTING ORGANIZATION: University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 33511
REPORT DATE: July 2012
TYPE OF REPORT: Annual
PREPARED FOR: U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
Fort Detrick, Maryland 21702-5012
Key Research Accomplishments:
Chronic Exposure to Permethrin, Chlorpyrifos and Pyridostigmine Bromide:
• Persistent voltage and amplitude changes in Kv7 protein currents specifically in vascular
• Persistent amplitude changes in KDR protein currents specifically in vascular nociceptors
• Persistent increases in membrane resistance specifically in vascular nociceptors
• Muscle nociceptors unaffected (Nav1.8, Kv7, KDR)
• Skin, vascular and muscle nociceptor Nav1.8 protein inactivation and deactivation
• Chronic effects of neurotoxicants/PB differ from acute effects of permethrin
Acute effects of permethrin on the pain system:
• Permethrin activates muscle nociceptors but not skin or vascular nociceptors via Nav1.8
• Permethrin increases muscle nociceptor excitability, but not the excitability of skin or
• Permethrin increases skin, muscle and vascular nociceptor AP duration
• Permethrin accentuates skin, muscle and vascular nociceptor voltage dependent
activation of Nav1.8 protein (hyperpolarized V.50)
• Permethrin retards skin, muscle and vascular nociceptor voltage dependent deactivation
of Nav1.8 protein
• Permethrin slows the rate (decay) of Nav1.8 inactivation of muscle, skin or vascular
• Permethrin has no influence on the normalized peak amplitude of skin, muscle or
vascular nociceptor Nav1.8
• Permethrin has no influence on voltage dependence of skin, muscle or vascular
nociceptor inactivation of Nav1.8
• Permethrin has no acute influence on Kv7 amplitude or activation in muscle or vascular
• At physiological temperatures (~35.5C) the acute influence of permethrin on spontaneous activity and action potential duration and after hyperpolarization are greatly reduced but not eliminated.
The bottom line is that the vast preponderance of medical and scientific investigations over the last 20 years or so have concluded that it was the combination of exposure to pyridostigmine bromide and pesticides, along with smoke from burning oilfields, and in a small number of instances possible nerve gas exposure, that has resulted in the wide range of diseases and severe disability and death continuing to occur among Gulf War veterans even 25 years after exposure. Study after study has shown that the diseases related to PB and pesticide exposure are far greater among Gulf war veterans than among any comparable demographically matched group.
KEY POINT – NO OTHER SOURCES OF PESTICIDES, AND NO OTHER PESTICIDES, ARE MENTIONED IN ANY OF THE STUDIES OF THE HEALTH ISSUES SUFFERED BY GULF WAR VETERANS.
So, staying for the moment with what happened when troops in the Gulf War were exposed just to the pesticides that were documented – a total of no more than 6 pesticides – plus the PB that the US Government forced them to ingest, plus in a few cases the fumes from a single destroyed chemical weapons dump that contained mostly unknown compounds – we already have quite a high level of exposure. And we also already know what impact a sufficient level of exposure to each of these agents has on human health. So what’s new?
It turns out that it isn’t just the exposure to these individual pesticides and other chemical agents that matters. Check out the following observation:
“It is not feasible to predict the toxicity of agent mixtures in general, or of pesticide mixtures (or pesticides in combination with other agents) in particular, on the basis of the toxicity of single compounds (Marinovich et al., 1996). Moreover, the number of possible combinations increases exponentially with the number of agents, as 2n; thus, 10 compounds have over 1,000 possible combinations that could have different consequences.
When agents are experienced together, the effect may be additive, synergistic, or antagonistic, and the character of the interaction may differ for different effects of the compounds.
Because of the computational intractability of studying every possible combination, the FDA does not require examination of drug combinations in determining approval for an individual drug; it does not even require examination of combinations that may commonly occur together.
Similarly, health consequences of pesticide mixtures, and co-exposures to pesticides and other factors, are in general poorly understood, and “testing even most potential mixtures with the classical toxicological protocol is unfeasible” (Marinovich et al., 1996).”
(from) “A Review of the Scientific Literature As It Pertains to Gulf War Illnesses – Volume 8, Pesticides”
So we now understand that even if the consequences of exposure to individual agents are known, we really have no idea what happens when a person is exposed to multiple agents at the same time. And – importantly – we don’t have any idea of what happens when they are co-combusted and inhaled. Don’t get me wrong – this is not the entire “Smoking Gun” referred to in the title of this post. I simply have to put the pieces of the picture together for you one by one, and once the pieces are assembled I am confident that you will see the entire picture, if I’ve done my job.
So now let me offer you a few excerpts from very recent (2013) full-scale review of all of the diseases and conditions that collectively are known as “Gulf War Illness”.
Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans:
Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013
Updated Scientific Findings and Recommendations
Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses
“Overall, the Committee’s review of the many Gulf War studies published through 2008 identified only two types of exposures—pyridostigmine bromide and pesticides—that were consistently associated with a significantly increased risk for Gulf War illness. In addition, dose-response relationships between severity of exposure and probability of development of Gulf War illness were identified for both exposures.
The two exposures were also associated with significant differences in objectively measured health outcomes in Gulf War veterans, including alterations in neuro-cognitive function and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal measures. Taken together, the consistency of the epidemiological associations, the significant dose-response effects, and observed associations with objective biological measures led the Committee to conclude that the evidence strongly supported a causal role for both pyridostigmine bromide and pesticide exposures in the development of Gulf War illness.”
“Overall, the Committee’s review of the many Gulf War studies published through 2008 identified only two types of exposures—pyridostigmine bromide and pesticides—that were consistently associated with a significantly increased risk for Gulf War illness. In addition, dose-response relationships between severity of exposure and probability of development of Gulf War illness were identified for both exposures. The two exposures were also associated with significant differences in objectively measured health outcomes in Gulf War veterans, including alterations in neuro-cognitive function and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal measures.
Taken together, the consistency of the epidemiological associations, the significant dose-response effects, and observed associations with objective biological measures led the Committee to conclude that the evidence strongly supported a causal role for both pyridostigmine bromide and pesticide exposures in the development of Gulf War illness.”
“Based on its review of the epidemiological evidence published since its 2008 report, the Committee offers the following conclusions and recommendations for future directions of research efforts.
1. Prevalence of Gulf War illness. All population-based studies conducted since the Gulf War have continued to identify a significant excess rate of chronic symptomatic illness, variously defined, in 1990-1991 Gulf War veterans. A large majority of studies indicate Gulf War illness prevalence in the 25-30% range.
2. Prognosis for veterans with Gulf War illness. Little additional information on the long-term prognosis of Gulf War illness has become available since 2008. Prior data suggest that there is little to no improvement in the health of ill Gulf War veterans over time. The effect that aging will have on this vulnerable population remains a matter of concern.
3. General health among Gulf War veterans. Studies published since 2008 continue to document poorer general health status and greater disability among Gulf War veterans. Despite the extensive number of studies conducted with Gulf War veterans in the 23 years since Desert Storm, medical surveillance of this population remains seriously inadequate.
4. Medical conditions in Gulf War veterans. Very little research has yet been conducted to determine rates at which Gulf War veterans have been affected by medical conditions of possible concern. As a result, it is not currently known if Gulf War veterans have experienced excess rates of most medical conditions.
Disorders of concern reviewed in this report include the following:
1. Neurological disorders. Although neurological conditions are a prominent concern for Gulf War veterans, and research has found an elevated incidence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), rates of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases (e.g., seizures, stroke, migraines) in Gulf War veterans are currently unknown. Research on the prevalence of neurological diseases has not been conducted despite repeated recommendations by this Committee and the Institute of Medicine and explicit legislation by Congress. The prevalence of these disorders is particularly important because they can be expected to increase as the Gulf War veteran population ages.
2. Cancer. Since 2008, research using state cancer registries has suggested that there may be an increased rate of lung cancer in Gulf War veterans. Brain cancer mortality has been shown in two studies conducted by VA to be significantly increased in the subgroup of Gulf War veterans with greatest exposure to oil well fire smoke and to low-level nerve agents released by the destruction of Iraqi facilities at Khamisiyah. In general, cancer risk remains unknown and understudied.
3. Other diagnosed medical conditions reported at excess rates. Research since 2008 continues to indicate that Gulf War veterans report being diagnosed with a variety of medical conditions at significantly higher rates than non-deployed era veterans. These include chronic digestive disorders, respiratory conditions, heart disease and skin disorders. Although consistently reported by Gulf War veterans, these conditions have not been further evaluated or characterized by epidemiologic or clinical studies.
4. Sleep dysfunction. A single study published since 2008 has identified sleep abnormalities in a group of Gulf War veterans compared to obesity-matched controls. Sleep disturbance is an extremely common symptom in veterans with Gulf War illness and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has shown some promise for treating a range of symptoms in veterans with sleep apnea in a small treatment trial.
5. Adverse reproductive outcomes and birth defects. No definitive new information is available on birth defects in offspring of Gulf War veterans, and no research has ever been published concerning neurological or other medical conditions affecting veterans’ children. It is important that medical and reproductive outcomes be assessed in children of veteran subgroups of interest (e.g. exposure, location, illness subgroups).
6. Multi-symptom conditions: chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity. These disorders share similar symptoms with Gulf War illness, but most Gulf War illness patients do not meet criteria for them. Gulf War veterans who meet criteria for these disorders often differ significantly on tested parameters from non-veteran populations who are diagnosed with them. It may be necessary to consider people with these disorders who are and are not Gulf War Veterans separately in research studies, including treatment research.”
Let’s Zero In On That “Smoking Gun” A Bit More
I began this post by asserting that the “Tobacco Industry” is the villain behind the excessive number of Gulf War Veterans suffering from the diseases of Gulf War syndrome.
To begin the zeroing-in process, let’s look at the data on how many Veterans are smokers compared with non-Veterans who, of course, were never exposed to the combination of PB and pesticides.
The CDC tells us part of the story.
“In the United States, cigarette smoking prevalence is higher among people serving in the military than among the civilian population. Cigarette smoking prevalence is even higher among military personnel who have been deployed. During 2007–2010:
• Male veterans aged 25–64 years were more likely to be current smokers than nonveterans (29% versus 24%).
• Among men aged 45–54 years, 36% of veterans reported being current smokers, compared with 24% of nonveterans.
Here are two additional studies that drive home the point that FAR more Gulf War Vets were and still are smokers, chewers and dippers than Vets who served elsewhere or than other demographically-matched groups.
Exhibit # 7
J Gen Intern Med. Feb 2010; 25(2): 102–103.
Published online Jan 15, 2010. doi: 10.1007/s11606-009-1224-1
Effects of the Wars on Smoking Among Veterans
Lori A. Bastian, MD, MPH and Scott E. Sherman, MD, MPH
“ Although smoking rates in the US declined by 50% between 1965 and 2005, about 21% of adults are current smokers. The prevalence of smoking is estimated to be up to 40% higher in veterans than in the general population. The total burden of Veterans Affairs (VA) health-care costs associated with smoking range from 8% to 24%. While the VA has increased its efforts to fight the “war” on smoking, actual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are producing veterans who are smoking at alarming rates. The prevalence of smoking among veterans returning from recent wars is similar to that of the US adult population during the late 1960s.”</em>
This is pretty strong evidence that Gulf War Vets who went on and exposed themselves not to a few pesticides from Pet Collars and No-Pest Strips, but to a chronic sub-lethal mix of pesticides as virtually undetectable residues in Tobacco Industry products.
Exhibit # 8
Mil Med. 1996 Mar;161(3):165-8.
Tobacco use habits of naval personnel during Desert Storm.
Forgas LB1, Meyer DM, Cohen ME.
“This study examined availability and usage of tobacco products, and their potential impact on the oral health of naval personnel deployed to Desert Storm. Of 4,200 surveys mailed to a randomly selected sample, 45.6% were returned (N = 1,915). The respondents included 55.9% who reported a present or former smoking habit, 34.1% who identified themselves as current smokers (SM), and 23.8% who were smokeless tobacco (ST) users. Tobacco products were easily and inexpensively accessible through ship stores, exchange, or military support organizations (USO). While in the Persian Gulf, 7.0% started SM and 9.3% started ST, resulting in an overall 4.7 and 6.1% increase in SM and ST, respectively. Of those who were already tobacco users, 29.2% reported more SM use and 19.0% used ST more often. Stress (35.1%) and boredom (21.4%) were the most frequently cited reasons to start or increase use. Although 30.5% of respondents reported military personnel have encouraged them to quit, 77.2% reported that anti-smoking efforts have been unsuccessful in influencing them to quit. Since the tobacco usage rate is higher in the military than in the civilian sector, greater emphasis on preventive efforts in warranted to promote health and wellness.”
Here is a KEY FACT about the entire research literature on GWS:
A thorough search as many of the studies of Gulf War Syndrome as I could find found ZERO references to (1) Smoking (2) Cigarette or (3) Tobacco. Not a single reference. And IMO never mentioned means never considered. I would hate to think that Tobacco products had been considered and that a decision was made to exclude them from the studies.
Here’s why that fact is key to understanding the role that the Tobacco Industry has played in the sickness, suffering and deaths of tens of thousands of these Veterans. Virtually every brand of cigarette, snuff and chewing tobacco manufactured in America contains a vast array of pesticide and herbicide residues, along with the residues of some of the most toxic industrial solvents and other classes of chemicals in existence.
Remembering that all the authoritative studies found that it was the combination of exposure to PB and a few relatively benign (if such a statement can be made) pesticides that is causal for Gulf War syndrome diseases, check out the following undoubtedly incomplete list of pesticides that are used on Tobacco crops in the US and worldwide. I gave you this list in the summary at the beginning of this post but I believe that it bears repeating here now that you’ve had a look at some of the supporting evidence for the “Smoking Gun” thesis.
DDT, TDE, Chlordane, Lindane, Aldrin, Endrin, Dieldrin, Heptachlor, and Toxaphene, Anilazine, AziaPhos-Methyl, Captan, Diflubenzuron, Leptophos, Malathion, Methoprene, Mirex, Cyclohexane, 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D), Chloropicrin, Maleic hydrazide, Acephate, Methyl Bromide, Isocarbophos, Dimethoate, Pendimethalin, Dicrotophos, Chlorpyrifos, Fenamiphos, Mancozeb, Flumetralin, Metalaxyl, Clomazone, Ethoprop, Endosulfan, Mefenoxam, Pebulate, Ethephon, Napropamide, Sulfentrazone, Imidacloprid, Aldicarb, Butralin, Dimethomorph, Methomyl, Malathion, Ethyl Parathion, Methyl Parathion, Disulfoton, Sethoxydim, Spinosad, Carbaryl, Fonofos, Benefin, Bacillus Thuringiensis, Carbofuran, Diazinon, Diphenamid, Isopropalin, Omethoate, Phismet, Phoxim, Oxamyl, Methidathion, Thiodan, Pendimethilum, and Trichlorfon. Also the solvents Toluene, Benzene, Phosgene, Hexane, and Xylene.
I would encourage you to pick just a few of these pesticides and do a search on health effects through inhalation or mucosal absorption (as with chewing tobacco and wet snuff).
But the presence of these terribly dangerous chemicals isn’t the whole story by a long shot. Two key points to keep in mind:
1. We have already shown that the health impact of exposure to multiple pesticides is not additive, it is exponential.
2. There have very few studies of what happens to any of these pesticides when they are heated and inhaled – a burning cigarette is in effect a “dry distillation” instrument. So, for example, when DDT is burned it produces, among other things, Dioxin. So do many of the other Organochlorine pesticides. Can I assume that I don’t have to explain why inhaling Dioxin 10, 20, 30 or more times a day is not a good idea?
Wrapping It Up
I can show through documentary evidence that I have obtained over my 30 years of working on this project that the top executives and Board members of the cigarette companies knew, or by virtue of their positions of authority should have known that their products contain these chemicals that irrefutably cause cancer, heart disease, neurological degradation, fetal malformation, and all of the other diseases that these pesticides cause without question.
Extensive documentation exists that proves that these companies know what their products contain – they have simply used their financial and political clout to prevent any research, ever, that would prove that these immensely dangerous chemicals are in their products and that they know they are there.
Since I have been making the point that most, though not all of the pesticide contamination in US Tobacco Industry products is the result of the industry’s use of highly contaminated imported foreign tobacco waste, let me offer you just one of literally hundreds of instances of documentation that I have collected over the years that, taken together, create a framework for proving guilty knowledge on the part of these companies.
This document also shows how brazen these people are – they are actually asking for an environmental tax credit for using toxic tobacco waste to manufacture their products rather than taking it to the landfill!
Waste Not; Want Not
In 1998 RJ Reynolds filed an appeal against a ruling by the North Carolina Department of Environment & Natural Resources that it could not classify the waste tobacco it uses to manufacture its cigarette products as solid waste in order to take advantage of tax breaks for disposing of solid waste in environmentally sound fashion.
RJ Reynolds argument was that since it was taking this waste and manufacturing it into cigarettes it was disposing of it in a way that qualified it for tax breaks. In other words – “We aren’t dumping this trash into the landfill, we’re pumping it into people’s lungs, so we deserve a tax break.”
The case number is no. COA01-74 in the North Carolina Court of Appeals filed: 19 February 2002. The full text of the case and the court’s ruling is available at
Aside from the preposterous idea that since RJ Reynolds was disposing of millions of pounds of waste by making it into products and selling those products to smokers rather than dumping the waste in a landfill and therefore deserved a tax break for being good environmental stewards, the summary of this lawsuit reveals information about how RJ Reynolds manufactures its products that ought to give any cigarette smoker pause to realize what suckers they are being made into by this cigarette giant.
Here are a few of the details directly from the court papers from COA01-74 North Carolina:
1. In manufacturing tobacco products, Reynolds buys tobacco leaves at auction. The tobacco is sent to a stemmery, where the stems (hard, woody part of the leaf) are separated from the lamina portion of the leaf (material in between the stems). The separation process also generates small scraps of tobacco (scraps) and very fine scraps of tobacco (dust). The usable tobacco lamina material is sent to the manufacturing operation where it is blended and processed into cigarettes.
2. The stems, scraps and dust are packed into containers and sent to a storage facility until they are either processed into reconstituted sheet tobacco, through a process known as the G-7 process, or are discarded. The reconstituted sheet tobacco is shredded and blended with the processed lamina strips and made into filler for cigarettes. The reconstituted tobacco filler is part of most brands of cigarettes made by Reynolds, and enables cigarettes to be made with lower tar and nicotine content which according to Reynolds has been “demanded” by smoking consumers.”
3. Reynolds uses approximately seventy million pounds of tobacco stems, scrap and dust each year in making reconstituted sheet tobacco. Reynolds also disposes of between five and seven million pounds of tobacco waste materials in landfills each year. This material is of a lower quality than the stems, scrap and dust used in the G-7 process; much of it is generated by the manufacturing process, rather than the stemmery, though some tobacco waste generated by the stemmery is also disposed of.
4. In order to keep up with its production requirements for reconstituted tobacco, Reynolds imports tobacco stems purchased overseas. For example, in 2006 ( the latest year for which US Government data is available), the US imported 136.8 Million pounds of Tobacco stems. In other words, there weren’t nearly enough stems being produced from US tobacco for the manufacturers to use in making their products. These manufacturers, on the other hand, would probably say “Well, Tobacco stems are Tobacco, so what’s the big deal?” The big deal of course is that many of the most dangerous pesticides used on tobacco overseas (like slug and snail control chemicals) are taken up from soil application into the roots and stems, and others translocate from the leaf where they are sprayed into the stems and stalks.
5. Reynolds sells reconstituted tobacco to other manufacturers of tobacco products, and manufactures reconstituted sheet tobacco for other tobacco manufacturers, using stems, scraps and dust supplied by them. As you can read in the case file, one of Reynolds’ witnesses testified that even if there were no tax incentives for recycling and resource recovery of or from solid waste, Reynolds would still operate the G-7 process because of its cost-effectiveness.”
6. While it’s bad enough that this cynical giant corporation wants tax breaks for selling waste to its customers, what isn’t revealed here is that the waste is toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic and endocrine-disrupting. That single sentence “In order to keep up with its production requirements for reconstituted tobacco, Reynolds imports tobacco stems purchased overseas” holds the clue. When you look at where RJ Reynolds buys its tons of waste overseas you find that it is coming from countries that have absolutely no regulations on pesticide and other toxic chemical use on tobacco crops. This means that the waste that RJ Reynolds is putting in its cigarettes, and that Reynolds is selling to other cigarette manufacturers as reconstituted “sheet”, contains high levels of pesticides that are totally banned for use on any crop in the US.
7. These chemicals are known carcinogens, they are known to destroy nervous systems, they are known to produce deformed babies, and they are known to produce dozens of fatal diseases in humans. Furthermore, carefully-done research studies show that many of these pesticides are far more dangerous to children, young women, Hispanics and African-Americans that they are to white males.
8. I would also like to point out that RJ Reynolds could choose to manufacture its cigarette brands from pure tobacco leaf grown in the US under strict pesticide regulations. The reason it chooses to pack its products with toxic waste is because it is so damned profitable to do so, and because nobody has called them on the practice.
Exhibit # 10
“Pesticide use is one of only two exposures consistently identified by Gulf War epidemiologic studies to be significantly associated with Gulf War illness. Multi-symptom illness profiles similar to Gulf War illness have been associated with low-level pesticide exposures in other human populations. In addition, Gulf War studies have identified dose-response effects, indicating that greater pesticide use is more strongly associated with Gulf War illness than more limited use. Pesticide use during the Gulf War has also been associated with neuro-cognitive deficits and neuro-endocrine alterations in Gulf War veterans in clinical studies conducted following the end of the war. The 2008 report concluded that “all available sources of evidence combine to support a consistent and compelling case that pesticide use during the Gulf War is causally associated with Gulf War illness.”
“Organophosphates are of concern to both scientists and regulators because they work by irreversibly blocking an enzyme that’s critical to nerve function in both insects and humans. Even at relatively low levels, organophosphates may be most hazardous to the brain development of fetuses and young children. The EPA banned most residential uses of organophosphates in 2001, but they are still sprayed agriculturally on fruits and vegetables. They’re also used to control pests like mosquitos in public spaces such as parks. They can be absorbed through the lungs or skin or by eating them on food”
What Can Be Done?
The most powerful thing that can be done would cost at most a few thousand dollars, and that would be to collect a good sample of off-the-shelf so-called “Tobacco” products including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, dry snuff and even Vape, and then using good evidence-handling procedures get these samples to a qualified testing lab and have them do a comprehensive analysis for residues of chemicals that do not occur naturally in the Tobacco plant. This would include the broad list of pesticides referred to earlier in this post, plus all other non-natural chemicals such as flavoring and aroma agents as well as the “smoker satisfaction” chemicals that the industry uses to create “brand loyalty” – a cute little label for deliberate chemical addiction that has zero to do with nicotine. The analysis would also look at the actual constituents of the products themselves, especially to determine how much of each product is actually tobacco, how much is actually tobacco leaf, and how much is non-tobacco materials like municipal waste.
Believe it or not, this analysis has never been done. But with the results in hand, injured smokers of all kinds including veterans exposed to both PB and “tobacco” products but also children of smokers, spouses of smokers, chewers, and other classes of victims could mount a real class action suit – not one of those res-herring class action lawsuits that pretend to go after the “Tobacco” companies for misleading claims and consumer fraud but that actually serve the interests of the “Tobacco” industry by providing them with the excuse that they have been investigated, sued, adjudicated and either slapped on the wrist or vindicated.
Here is a story is about an Australian oncologist who, dismayed at the damage that she saw “Tobacco” doing to her patients, was horrified to find out that her medical institution held “Tobacco” company stock as part of its investment portfolio.
Well, she set to work, she did, and although the gruff, cynical world of big money managers was skeptical at first, this plucky, photogenic Australian Oncologist has managed to create a very successful “Tobacco-free Portfolio” movement worldwide.
The article is chock full of feel-good quotes from financial wizards who were absolutely bowled over by the moral and ethical intensity of the Aussie doc’s arguments, and her ghastly photos of diseased lungs, and now they are 100% on board with her in shunning the “Tobacco” industry’s stocks in their portfolios.
The problem here is emblematic of the failure of anti-“tobacco” movements to even begin to identify who and what they need to be attacking. The core of the problem is that the industry has so completely propagandized people and institutions at all levels that most people actually believe that it is Tobacco killing all those people who die from smoking cigarettes.
While these movements and lawsuits and non-profit (sic) campaigns are all aimed at “Tobacco”, that plague-like carrier of the dreaded addictive nicotine toxin that destroys lives and stalks children, the industry slides right by because its products have almost nothing at all to do with Tobacco anymore. 100% of the attacks against the industry based on the assumption that its products are “Tobacco” are virtually meaningless and a complete waste of hope, energy, and money.
Almost all US cigarette brands are up to 100% recycled waste with nicotine added in precise dosages. Does anyone who reflects for even a few seconds believe that it would be possible to manufacture billions of cigarettes from natural plant material and be able to print the precise amount of tar and nicotine on every pack? The amount of nicotine varies so much from field to field, from plant to plant, and from leaf to leaf that even if they were using actual Tobacco leaf they couldn’t control the amount of “Nicotine & Tar” without doing some major processing.
The only way the industry can achieve uniformity is to produce a synthetic product, and in fact the industry does just that, by the millions of tons each year. The industry calls it “synthetic smoking materials” or, in a more colorful (and unconsciously accurate) industry term, “sheet tobacco”. That’s what it is – recycled waste processed into sheet of material that are then shaved, infused with precise amounts of hundreds of chemicals including nicotine, and then shaved into little curls and made into cigarettes. Anyone who knows the industry is laughing at the “Ammonia” lawsuit. Sure Ammonia is used in manufacturing “tobacco sheet” – huge amounts of it. But it isn’t “added” to the material, it’s used in a super-cooled process to puff it up after its been shaved into little curls so that it will look and smoke more like real leaf. The Ammonia is long-gone by the time those little ciggys are all packaged up and ready to be inhaled by some poor idiot who really is being deceived, manipulated, injured and murdered as a result of deliberate, profit-driven decisions of this industry.
If the 2016 US “Tobacco” industry were to be a startup industry with no history, and it came to even the highly-manipulated US regulators with the products it currently makes and proposed to make those products, they would not only be denied they would probably be arrested as terrorists.
But after many decades of very expensive and well-crafted propaganda, this industry now has even those who see it clearly as committing crimes against humanity led unknowingly to be aggrieved at “Tobacco” and to spend all their energy and resources attacking the “Tobacco industry”.
I’m afraid that for the most part anti-“Tobacco” people are useful idiots. They aren’t stupid, or foolish, or wrong in what they are trying to do. Bless them. However, they are being so effectively manipulated that they are the “Tobacco” industry’s most ardent defenders when it comes to anyone trying to point out the error of their “anti-Tobacco” ways.
In the 1980s I had written a four-part expose of the “Tobacco industry” at the request of a senior editor with the Nader organization, and just before that series was to begin publication, a senior member of Nader’s Board, a well-known “anti-Tobacco” physician, said (as my editor told me) that they had spent so many years convincing people that Tobacco was the worst possible thing for their health that they weren’t going to publish anything that might suggest that it might not be the Tobacco that’s the problem at all.
This industry is completely protected at the institutional/governmental level, and it seems that all of the “anti-Tobacco” movements in the world have also been effectively co-opted.
This industry has been earning more real wealth than any other tightly-held industry in the world for generations and that wealth has gone into ownership of hundreds of companies in every industry and every financial sector in the world. So as sincere and well-motivated as our Australian Oncologist is, I’m afraid that the hideous damage she sees in her “Tobacco” smoking patients has little or nothing to do with Tobacco, and the so-called “Tobacco” companies are fully divested out of range of any possible legal or regulatory action.
Many of those hundreds of companies owned by “Tobacco” money are consumer products, food, transportation, retail and leisure companies that advertise heavily in every medium. So any story about any strategy that had even a remote chance of actually harming the interests that profit directly or indirectly from the slaughter would not make it into any medium that relies on advertising. Stories that are really dangerous to the “tobacco” industry somehow don’t make it through the media screening process. And there’s not a whiff of “tobacco” anywhere in the room where the decision is made to kill the story at the editorial level – they’ve simply heard from a few of their best retailer and consumer products advertisers. I have personally seen this happen.
So you can be that the “Tobacco industry” isn’t worried about the “Tobacco-free Portfolio” movement one bit.
Divesting “Tobacco” company stock as a means to rein in their murderous behavior is worse than ineffective – it makes people feel that they are actually accomplishing something. No portfolio manager could divest of every stock and bond connected to every company owned by “Tobacco” money – there wouldn’t be many stocks or bonds left to own.
But you can’t even scratch the “Tobacco” industry by selling off its stocks. However, the industry still puts on a good show for the quixotic victors whenever someone like our plucky Aussie Oncologist does appear.
It fights and fights and then gives up and wails and gnashes its teeth – just like it did with the “big” Tobacco Liability settlements a few years ago. “Oh stop, stop. Here, take a few billion dollars. You’ve got us. We give up. We’ll do better from now on.”
We’ve all heard it and seen it and while a lot of us know it’s just an act very few of us can see what a truly well-crafted act it is. This act cost hundreds of millions, probably billions of dollars and decades to craft to perfection. The industry has been hiring the best behavior modification scientists in the world for decades, along with thousands of other scientists in many other disciplines, either directly or through hidden sponsorship with “research grants”. The industry almost has a 100% effective mindset in place at all levels of society, and keeping people fixated on “Tobacco” and “Nicotine” is at the core of the strategy.
However, if you have read this far you are one of the people that the “Tobacco” industry really, really hopes will just shrug your shoulders and walk away. Oh well, it’s all true but what can be done about it?
I do have a small suggestion. A class action lawsuit that actually identifies a class of cigarette smokers that consists of people who have been damaged by this industry in specific ways by cigarette products based on a specific, broad and deep knowledge ON THE PART OF THE ATTORNEYS of how the industry operates, would succeed quite nicely and not just in a monetary awards for the plaintiffs. Such a lawsuit could actually lead to meaningful change, if not from the existing “Tobacco” industry then from an alternative heirloom, truly natural Tobacco movement on the local level, perhaps right alongside legalized Cannabis. I don’t believe this kind of legal action has ever been tried, but would love to hear from anyone who knows of such a case.
This industry’s vulnerability is that it is so wealthy, powerful, diversified and protected that it has come to rely completely on its ability to keep on fooling all the people all the time. This industry believes that it controls all of the rules of the game that it has us all playing. And Rule #1 is that we all agree that Tobacco and Nicotine are the problems. So, all together now …..
This industry is pure psychosis in institutional form.