Hello! The former content of this blog post is now part of my newly published ebook “Smoke No Evil”. Click here to send me an email request for a download link to a free review copy.
I’ll skip the long, long back story and get right to the point. If you’ve been looking for a way that individuals and small groups of people acting on their own initiative can control dangerous tobacco products at the local level, this is it. Here’s wishing you a successful 2019.
I recently had a number of off-the-shelf tobacco brands tested for pesticide residues. This was the first time this has been done in the US, in spite of the massive amounts of tax and private money spent every year on so-called “tobacco control and prevention”.
In this post I’m including hard evidence showing the concentration of illegal, totally banned DDT I found on the most popular brand of sweet & fruity little cigars, Swisher Sweets – the top choice among low-income, Black and Hispanic teens. They are also arguably the most toxic piece of shit in the whole pile of toxic shit that this rat pack of corporate criminals sells to kids. Don’t get me wrong – I found extreme pesticide contamination on many of the brands I tested – it’s just that the little cigars stood way out at the top of the contamination chart.
Don’t just take my word for the toxicity of little cigars – the University of North Carolina conducted an extensive study in 2016 comparing the toxicity of little cigar smoke, including swisher Sweets, compared with cigarette smoke. This study was also the first of its kind, just like my pesticide residue study. The North Carolina researchers found detailed hard evidence that little cigars are extremely toxic and are particularly dangerous to young, Black, and Latino smokers compared with cigarettes. (This study, combined with the hard evidence I’m sharing in this post, will blow your mind if you care about mass poisoning of innocent children.)
The one area that this North Carolina study missed was the key role that pesticide residues play in tobacco product toxicity. Like every other scientific and medical study before them, these researchers totally failed to account for pesticide contamination in the tobacco products they tested, and so they were understandably puzzled by the extreme levels of toxicity they found.
However, once you factor in pesticide contamination, the whole picture emerges clearly. The North Carolina data makes sense. It’s the differences in the pesticide burdens of different types of tobacco products that account for the differences in toxicity among types of tobacco products. That’s why it’s so important for local communities to understand the nature of this hidden threat to their children.
I found actionable levels of many different pesticide residues in all the tobacco products I just tested, including several cigarette brands popular with kids. But the overall pesticide contamination of Tobacco products, which regulators manage to ignore, isn’t the key point here. The key point for tobacco product control at the local level is that these little cigar/DDT results are not only grim news for smokers but flat out violate the law.
It is illegal to sell any product contaminated with this level of DDT anywhere in the US. and much of the world. Only soil or water-residual DDT is allowed in any food, beverage, cosmetic or other consumer product, and there is no way that the level I found could occur as a residual from soil or water – it was sprayed on the tobacco used to make this product, and it was sprayed recently. (See commentary below the data.)
The DDT concentration shown below is 700+ times the highest level found anywhere in the entire US food chain from lingering soil or water contamination, and I will guarantee that a sampling of 100 such products will yield similarly shocking results.
So here’s my suggestion. Take this data on your phone to your health department. Show them the DDT levels. Tell them that the same little cigar products are being sold at the mini-mart. (They are.)
And then ask them what the law says they have to do. Tell them that the investigator behind this data will send them the full, certified lab report naming the specific brands we tested and the full results. I almost guarantee that they will try to wiggle out of it – “we don’t regulate tobacco products”, or “we don’t regulate pesticides in tobacco products” or, their favorite excuse – “well, tobacco is so bad anyway that we don’t care about a few pesticides”.
But here’s the beauty of the hard evidence I’m offering. It doesn’t matter if your local health officials think they can regulate tobacco products specifically or not. It doesn’t matter if they think have the authority to regulate tobacco products or not. Unless they are somehow forbidden to investigate and take action in cases of toxic substance contamination in consumer products being sold to children in your county, they do have the authority to act. You may have to make them act by going to the School Board, the District Attorney, and your local media, but they do have the authority to act locally and independently on high-level DDT contamination of anything in your community – period.
These contaminated tobacco products are illegal not because they are tobacco products; they are illegal because they are consumer products contaminated with hazardous concentrations of extremely hazardous, totally banned pesticide chemicals that will be emitted when they are used as intended by the manufacturer.
If you enjoy a sweet irony, I can guarantee that when all the testing is done, most of the premium cigars that the 1% love will turn out to be the most highly contaminated of all. Although some premium cigar tobacco growers still use traditional methods, and grow tobacco without industrial chemicals, I’m quite certain that most premium cigars will prove to be far more contaminated than the cheap little cigars the busboys out behind that five-star restaurant have to smoke.
Pesticide Residue Test Sample #1 Multnomah County, Oregon Received 12/13/2018
|Oregon Cannabis Pesticide Residue Action Levels (PPM)|
|Analyte||Results/Units||na = not a listed or regulated pesticide|
|Exceeds ORS Action Levels √|
|Unregistered Tobacco EPA/Oregon √√|
|Banned/Zero Tolerance √√√|
|Carbendazim √√√||0.843 mg/kg||Carcinogen: WHO|
|DDT, p,p- √√√||0.816 mg/kg**||0.0 – banned|
|Dimethomorph √√||0.0380 mg/kg||na|
|Fenamidone √√||0.0370 mg/kg||na|
|Indoxacarb √√||0.0790 mg/kg||na|
|Mandipropamid √√||0.0770 mg/kg||na|
|Pendimethalin √√||0.0910 mg/kg||na|
|Propamocarb √√||0.0910 mg/kg||na|
|Pyraclostrobin √√||0.0210 mg/kg||na|
** Relevant to risk assessment for these “Little Cigars”; the highest levels of DDT p, p- in all foods tested by FDA in their comprehensive “Total Diet Reports” for 2017, were for catfish filets and for frozen potato fries. The 2.17 ng/g potatoes and 2.3 ng/g levels expressed in the FDA “Total Diet Study” are the equivalents of 0.00217 mg/kg for potatoes and 0.0023 mg/kg for catfish. compared with 0.816 mg/kg in the single little cigar sample tested. Based on my knowledge of tobacco industry practices, additional testing will show serious levels of OCP and other classes of pesticide contamination particularly on tobacco products in the “discount” and low-price market segments and, as we will see, in the premium cigar market segment as well.
I know for certain that as we test other tobacco products, especially the cheap ones, we’ll find stuff that makes DDT look like a hint of mint. However, this data is right now, and approximately 800,000 children between 11-15 are smoking this particular brand of little cigar every day and inhaling every one of the pesticides listed.
But even if the only contaminant were the 0.816 mg/kg (or 816 mcg/kg) DDT ….
“Average adult intakes of DDT were estimated to be 62 µg/person/day (1000 micrograms = 1 milligram) in 1965 and 240 µg/person/day in 1970, before the DDT ban was instituted. The FDA Total Diet Studies show that the daily intakes have fallen since the ban, with daily intakes (for a 16-year-old, 70 kg male) averaging 6.51, 2.38, 1.49, and 0.97 µg/person/day for 1978–1979, 1979–1980, 1984–1986, and 1986–1991, respectively.” https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/htdocs/chem_background/exsumpdf/ddt_508.pdf
“Based on all of the evidence available, the Department of Health and Human Services has determined that DDT is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. Similarly, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that DDT is possibly carcinogenic to humans. EPA has determined that DDT, DDE, and DDD are probable human carcinogens.”
Here is a first-class study of the toxicity of cigarette smoke compared to little cigar smoke. It’s clear from this data and analysis that little cigars, including Swisher Sweets which were one of the brands tested, are far more toxic than cigarettes. Interestingly, the researchers were puzzled about where those huge differences in toxicity came from. ‘
It was at least partly from the hidden and unaccounted-for pesticides, which were overlooked in this study as they have been overlooked in virtually every American scientific and medical study of “tobacco” smoke. Little cigars are far more contaminated with far more toxic “crop protection agents” than cigarettes because of differences in how the tobacco is raised, and in how much highly contaminated tobacco manufacturing waste is used in making the product.
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.