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.