Is Tobacco Really That Bad For You?
We all “know” by now that smoking cigarettes is horrible for you. It is on every pack of smokes that you buy. It is on billboards all over the place. It is in our TV commercials. We are constantly bombarded from almost every source that tobacco is bad for us… but wait… something doesn’t make sense. When ephedrine was discovered to be bad for you, it was immediately made illegal, yet cigarettes are still legal? What about the age limit? Why is it okay to smoke at eighteen but not at seventeen? Is our body really ready for tobacco by the time we’re eighteen, but not before? Something is definitely quirky. As you continue to read you will take a part of our journey as we search for the truth about tobacco.
Our first obstacle was finding a credible source that said anything good about tobacco. We spent much of the research time looking for such sources. We did find a few tobacco studies that confirmed that tobacco is perhaps the best option for preventing Parkinson’s disease. You read that right, tobacco not just reduces the chances of getting Parkinson’s disease but eliminated the chance altogether. As our search continued we kept finding more sources that supported the Parkinson’s disease study we found earlier. Then we stumbled upon a study done by Harvard Clinical Research Institute that totally shocked us. The institute found that tobacco is actually GOOD for the heart! I know we had to reread the study several times ourselves to finally believe it. Where is the media coverage on that? I mean this is huge news. As far as I knew, smoking is the cause of heart disease, cancer, and half of the diseases that exist today, yet here is a study from perhaps the most credible clinic of all that finds that tobacco is actually good? What is going on?
Here is something that doesn’t make sense. With all of the advertising campaigns that are in your face about how horrid tobacco is, the amount of smokers has significantly decreased in the last twenty years. Yet the amount of heart disease and cancer, including lung and mouth cancer, has increased…why? Where is the correlation here? So we dig deeper. We find another strange discovery in Sweden. Apparently children whose parents smoke actually have LESS of a chance of getting asthma then children whose parents do not smoke? At this point I am utterly confused… what is going on? Why am I finding so much credible information that totally contradicts what I have always been told and know to be true about tobacco? Where is the missing piece? I go through the studies that support that smoking is bad for you and finally get a clue. These anti-smoking studies use subjects that smoke name brand cigarettes. I went back to the original studies that I found that had pro-tobacco finds and noticed that the pro-tobacco studies use pure, freshly grown tobacco leaf. So my next question was, “Are cigarettes bad because the name brand companies add stuff to the tobacco?” That still doesn’t explain my earlier question, why do we have more cancer and heart problems if the overall populace is smoking less?
I decided to start with looking at what exactly do the main two tobacco companies use in their cigarettes and why? This search took me down another rabbit trail. I tried going to the company sites which yielded nothing useful although they do state that they add ingredients for flavor and preservation purposes. They do list a few of the most common Pipe tobacco near me ingredients used by most cigarette companies but state that they will not list all ingredients due to brand secrets… well that was a waste of time… I backtracked and tried going through the university searches which finally yielded what I wanted.
Apparently the stuff used in the major brands is… I cannot think of a word terrible enough to describe it. Here is only a PARTIAL list: arsenic which is used in rat poison; acetic acid which is used in hair dye and photo developer; acetone which is the main ingredient in paint and fingernail polish remover; ammonia which is a typical household cleaner; benzene which is used in rubber cement; cadmium which is found in batteries and artists’ oil paint; hydrazine which is used in jet and rocket fuels; formaldehyde which is used to embalm dead bodies; hydrogen cyanide which is the poison used in gas chambers; napthalenes which is used in explosives, moth balls, and paint pigments; nickel which is used in the process of electroplating; phenol which is used in disinfectants and plastics; polonium radiation, the dosage is equal to three hundred chest x-rays in one year; toluene which is am embalmer’s glue. As I go down this list, I cannot help but shudder… why? Why would anyone want to add these substances to a product used for human consumption? On top of that, how in the world does the FDA allow for such a product to be released to the public? This is becoming frustrating as the more I search the more questions I have and the fewer credible sources become available… in fact I cannot find any credible source that can answer the why…
So where do we go from here? It seems rather obvious doesn’t it? Pure tobacco leaf has these side effects: none (well, except the smell); and has these benefits: prevents breast cancer, prevents a certain kind of skin cancer, reduces stress, aids in weight loss, prevents Parkinson’s, slows down the progression of Alzheimer’s, and the list goes on. Name brand tobacco has these side effects: lung cancer, mouth cancer, almost every other cancer; covers your lungs in a nasty tar that makes it harder for you to breath, and the list goes on… Benefits? Not so much. I still can’t say that tobacco is good for you but perhaps it doesn’t have to kill you.
We all “know” by now that smoking cigarettes is horrible for you. It is on every pack of smokes that you buy. It is on billboards all over the place. It is in our TV commercials. We are constantly bombarded from almost every source that tobacco is bad for us… but wait… something doesn’t make…