By Robert Harrington, Natural Society, June 16, 2015
Tobacco has been cultivated as a cash crop in the USA for many decades. Because of its high revenue potential, tobacco growers often went the extra mile to ensure a good harvest. Toward that end, the growers eagerly embraced the latest and ‘greatest’ farming methods which kept pests and weeds at bay.
This is where the problems began. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. have been sprayed on tobacco crops for as long as they’ve been available. This is because the tobacco plant seems to have a whole array of insects which like to feed on every part of it. An extraordinary number of insect pests are drawn to different parts of the growing plant at different parts of the growing cycle and harvesting season.
Of course, many of the various insecticide and herbicide products which are routinely applied to tobacco contain GMOs. As a result, cigarette, cigar and pipe smokers are also getting a large daily dose of genetically modified organisms. Herbicides like Roundup are specifically used as desiccants to dry out the crop before harvest. For that reason the glyphosate-containing herbicide is sprayed much more liberally than usual to maximize the drying action.
The Presence of So Many Chemicals in Tobacco Turned Cigarettes into Real Cancer Sticks
“Researchers have found up to 4,000 chemicals and pesticides inside cigarettes. Also, new studies show that up to 90% of tobaccos in US are being genetically modified … farmers are spraying ten times more Roundup and other chemicals on the tobacco plants to kill the bugs and the weeds.” 
Perhaps the most unacknowledged consequence of this ongoing predicament concerns the harm caused by second-hand smoke. When an innocent bystander is forced into the situation of passive smoking, they are inhaling many noxious chemicals without their consent.
There is a relatively unknown but quite serious problem with environmental tobacco smoke which concerns the physiology of every human being. When inhaled through the nose, tobacco smoke crosses over the area around the olfactory nerve. Because the blood-brain barrier surrounding the olfactory nerve is only five cells thick, it falls short of the 8-cell thickness which constitutes a true barrier.
In each case of breathing in toxic cigarette smoke an individual is vulnerable to many of the aerosolized chemicals going right into the brain. Dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease, has often been linked to lifelong smoking. The heavy metals in tobacco smoke, once they enter the brain, will often stay there for a lifetime. Unless aggressive detoxification programs are engaged, dementia is not uncommon for heavy smokers.
Everyone knows that cigarettes cause cancer and emphysema, but very few know the actual content of tobacco.
Herein lies the real problem with ingredient labeling requirements on all tobacco products. Were the actual ingredients listed on the packaging, the consumer would be able to make an informed decision about buying the tobacco product. More importantly, those who live with smokers could then provide (or not provide) informed consent to smoking in the residence. Certainly the more comprehensive and accurate the ingredient disclosure, the more likely victims of passive smoking would avoid being physically assaulted.
Nicotine Addiction is One of the Most Difficult to Overcome
Because nicotine is such an addictive drug, it literally overwhelms an individual’s ability to make good judgments about their health. Nicotine is also found in the nightshade family of plants which are well known to contain powerful alkaloids.
Nicotine is a potent parasympathomimetic alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae) and a stimulant drug.
It appears that the first tobacco companies which manufactured cigarettes were fully aware of how addictive nicotine is. They also added other chemicals which enhanced the addictive quality even further. The same folks who are 3 pack-a-day smokers really have no idea what they’re putting between their lips. Every time someone who smokes lights up, they are not only putting themselves at great risk, they’re also endangering their family and friends with dangerous airborne chemical cocktails.
Top Photo Credit: newsstand.clemson.edu