Planned Addiction

Planned Addiction

Four hundred thousand people will die from smoking-related illnesses this year as a result of smoking cigarettes. Three hundred millions dollars will be spent on over-the-counter smoking deterrents. Another $100 million will be spent on nicotine gum (to break the nic habit).

Between one and three billion dollars will be spent on smoking cessation programs, hypnosis, acupressure, acupuncture, psychotherapy, aversion therapy and a host of other treatment programs for smoking -- programs, incidentally that usually don't work. Between 75 to 85 per cent of the participants in these programs return to smoking within a year.

The taxpayer pays, too, even if he or she does not smoke: $100 billion dollars will be spent on health care, property damage and lost wages due to smoking and hundreds of millions will be spent on public education to warn smokers of the health consequences.

Real Offenders

Nicotine is the major psychoactive alkaloid in tobacco, but researchers claim it is not the primary cause of damage to the body, nor is it the primary cause of secondary illnesses, such as cancer. The actual smoke from burning tobacco is the prime offender. Cigarette smoke contains dozens of chemicals other than nicotine, including acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, acetone, heavy metals and other compounds which may be addictive in their own right.

Smoking has a predictable, quantifiable, effect on blood chemistry, 02 intake, levels of catecholamines, response time, night vision and many other parameters, most of which are not the function of nicotine ingestion. Virtually all smokers have diminished lung volume capacity.

In his 1970s book Sugar Blues, author William Dufty claims that the poisons of tobacco are actually in the curing process -- not in the tobacco leaves themselves.

Four hundred years ago the nicotinia plant was thought to possess healing medical powers and became the miracle drug of its time. During the 17th century, tobacco addiction spread like wildfire in European countries. It was eventually cultivated all over the world, but the prime growers were in the United States.

Dufty says that in the beginning tobacco leaves were cured the way the Native North Americans had done from time immemorial: wilted tobacco leaves were suspended on racks in the sun. And no one got sick. Eventually barns and sheds were built to protect crops from rain, and in cold weather artificial heat was used to speed up the curing process.

The Sweet Treatment

Air curing takes about three months and only traces of natural sugars are left in the leaves after that time. Today the heat used in the curing can reach up to 170 F. This intense heat destroys natural enzymes which would otherwise cause the natural sugars to ferment. The result is that flue-cured tobacco can contain as much as 20 per cent sugar. Sucrose is also added to tobacco leaves during the blending process. According to British studies in the 1970s, high-sugar content, flue-dried tobacco increased the risk of serious lung disease (cancer) even though the tar and nicotine ratings were relatively low.

Dr Richard Passey of London's Chester Beatty Research Institute stated that high sugar content tobacco produces strongly acid smoke while low sugar tobacco produces smoke that is alkaline. And British cigarettes had the highest sugar content in the world as well as the highest rate of lung cancer.

Dufty quotes Sakurazawa Ohsawa as saying, "Avoid (commercial cigarettes) which contain unnatural chemicals and sugars and roll your own from naturally grown tobacco. It is more important to cut out drugs and sugar...than to stop smoking completely."

The United Nations is calling for a "united global effort to control tobacco use" and commemorates this with World No Tobacco Day "to focus public attention on the tobacco epidemic around the world."

Strange that the World Health Organization, which calls for mandatory immunization of all children and mandatory drugs for TB patients, does not use its global clout to investigate another killer, the sugar-curing of tobacco leaves by multi-national companies. Instead, WHO piously states, "When all sectors of society join forces with WHO and are united for a tobacco-free world, the tobacco epidemic will be beaten."

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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