[ExI] Is tobacco really harmful?

Robert Masters rob4332000 at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 27 05:17:16 UTC 2009

Well, it's quite a story, but it has a happy ending.  

Around the time I started thinking seriously about that list of 599 cigarette additives (many of them carcinogens), I finally asked the obvious question:  Why the hell are they in there in the first place?

And I have no idea what the answer is.  It seems to me that a case could be made that someone (the tobacco companies? the FTC?) is responsible for a lot of misery and death.  The phrase "full-scale Congressional investigation" comes to mind.

But that's not what I'm interested in.  The happy news is a story of heroic American capitalism: a few cigarette companies, led by American Spirit, have finally started selling additive-frees.  They're an option now, and I see no reason not to smoke them.

At least that's my choice.  It could be argued that there might be dangerous effects of tobacco even without the 599 mysterious toxins, and anyone who's worried about that is free to choose the other way.

The reaction to additive-frees, American Spirit in particular, has been bizarre.  The FTC has required the brand to put a statement on its pack that "no additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette."  Removing a bunch of carcinogens doesn't mean a safer cigarette?  You figure it out.

The attitude of tobacco "scientists," if that's what they are, has been equally peculiar.  They did some study showing American Spirits raised subjects' NICOTINE levels more than conventional brands, and trumpeted that with the headline "Additive-Free Cigarettes May Pack a More Toxic Punch"--but my understanding is that nicotine isn't the health problem with cigarettes at all.  (One website, following that line, came up with the catchy phrase "crack nicotine.")

I'll close with a testimonial by a satisfied American Spirit smoker:


"The first thing I noticed when I lit one up was that it was less smokey and it burnt more slowly. I also noticed that there was not the same level of after-taste and 'smokers breath'. The taste itself was the real surprise, I now realise what its like to smoke a real cigarette. It reminded me of the pleasure of smoking, which I had long forgotten. After a few smokes I noticed that my head didn't seem blocked and and I felt less choked by it."

Rob Masters



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