Understanding Why Cigarettes

Most people now agree that nicotine is one of the most addictive substances we’ve ever known. And, although difficult to believe, there were many years when the tobacco industry denied this. These days, however, the scientific and medical community has so thoroughly studied tobacco that it’s just no longer possible to deny this fundamental truth.

Many scientists maintain that our mass-produced cigarettes are equally addictive to heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines. Speaking from my own experience, I maintain that cigarettes are more addictive. Some even say that it’s easier for an alcoholic to retire his bottle than it is for a smoker to give-up his carton. My experience confirms this also. I am an alcoholic and drug addict. I used to be the guy with vomit on my shoes copping a bag of dope on the corner with a cigarette sticking out of my mouth like an evil spear. I used to be the guy getting tossed out of the bar at last call: or sleeping it off in the police’s drunk tank. And, you know what? I put the gin and needles down a number of years ago; but, I still actively struggle terribly in maintaining my cigarette quit.

What does that tell you?

I sometimes marvel that cigarettes are legal while other drugs are not. As mentioned, in my life, I’ve discovered that cigarettes are more addictive than many drugs considered illicit. They are the leading cause of preventable death. And, there’s a huge industry which has devoted years and countless resources in engineering their addictive strength. Yet, they can be purchased at any convenience store; and, often by underage children.

Cigarette tobacco—-as a means for nicotine distribution—-would be staggeringly addictive even if no other processing occurred. However, Big Tobacco has gone to disturbing lengths to increase their product’s addictive qualities. Thus, fewer smokers succeed in their quits; and, the effectiveness of anti-smoking products is lessened.

One method for magnifying nicotine’s power is to add sugars to the tobacco. Big Tobacco justifies this addition by claiming it enhances flavor. However, Victor DeNoble (who was once a tobacco industry scientist) says that the product of burning sugar—-acetaldehyde—-may make tobacco more addictive. Mr. DeNoble performed experiments with rats and provided proof that acetaldehyde was addictive.

His research clearly showed that a cigarette compound besides nicotine lead to addiction. In addition, Phillip Morris’ experiments showed the addictive properties of acetaldehyde to compliment nicotine’s: when the compounds are combined their effect is multiplied. This is why many argue that nicotine replacement methods often don’t succeed: because, although they provide nicotine, the acetaldehyde is ignored.

William Farone, also a former tobacco industry scientist, suggested that the tobacco industry may be attempting other means to enhance nicotine’s addictiveness via other complimentary additives. Mr. Farone refers to GRAS—-an acronym for “generally regarded as safe”—-to name an assortment of other compounds used to make cigarettes yet more addictive: some GRAS compounds are cocoa and chocolate. They produce theobromine when burned. Theobromine increases cigarette smoke inhalation, allowing nicotine to get deeper into the lungs. It also takes the edge off the smoke’s bite.

Also disturbing is ammonia technology. By adding ammonia, cigarette smoke’s pH changes, turning nicotine particles into a vapor freebase. This vapor nicotine is more readily received into the smoker’s brain and bloodstream. The nicotine’s speed in the body is increased through this compromise of the blood-brain barrier.

Jeffrey Wigand—-known as a Big Tobacco whistle-blower—-said that American cigarettes contain at least 600 chemical additives. Although such additives are thought harmless in food and cosmetics; they mostly have not been examined and analyzed while burned and inhaled.

For those who think of our modern cigarettes as simply some pure tobacco that’s rolled-up in paper, it’s time to reconsider. It’s more truthful to consider our cigarettes as a highly-contemplated, deadly product which took many years and considerable brain power to perfect. And, it’s perfection leads to more deaths.