[ExI] Is tobacco really harmful?

Robert Masters rob4332000 at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 23 01:35:44 UTC 2009

I'm working on a theory (actually just the germ of a hypothesis), and I'd appreciate comments on it--especially leads toward relevant data.

A vast body of medical statistics indicates that cigarette smoking causes many diseases.  But these data, almost entirely, pertain to cigarettes with chemical ADDITIVES--of which there are many.  The list of additives in the popular cigarette brands is enormous:

Is there any possibility that these additives are a statistical "confounding factor"?  Specifically, could THEY be the cause of the health problems?  Could it be that pure, additive-free tobacco is harmless?

I don't know of any way to test this hypothesis with statistics--due to the simple fact that, for a long time, almost all the cigarettes being smoked have had the additives.  (Recently, with the trend toward "the pure and natural," a few additive-free brands have come on the market, but they account for only a tiny fraction of the data base--and ten or twenty years ago they were even rarer.)

Has anyone done any studies on this?  Are there medical statistics on people who smoke, and have always smoked, only additive-free brands?

In looking for facts to falsify the hypothesis, the only thing I can think of is my (possibly incorrect) impression that tobacco has had a bad health rap for a long time--all the way back into the 19th Century--when, presumably, fewer chemicals, or none at all, were being put into the product.  For example, in Dickens' novels, didn't people call cigarettes "coffin nails"?

Also possibly relevant is the fact that nicotine, in pure form, is a deadly  poison. (I've heard that secret agents have used it for assassinations.)  Is there a known biochemical mechanism by which this toxin (even at low doses) could cause cancer, heart disease, etc.?

That's about as far as I've got with it.  Any thoughts?

Rob Masters


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