What's In A Brand-Name Cigarette?

How About Opium In The Paper!

Editor's note: No doubt you've heard all the 'smoke' and 'fire' recently generated in the media over the 'burning' issue of cigarettes.

The really big deal has been that oh-so-mysterious Secret List of proprietary ingredients, snippets of which have finally been leaked--such as we present in this week's 'THE NEWS DESK' on Page 28.

We can only surmise that the entire list must be a real doozy, as far as a roster of choice poisons calculated to 'heighten' the smoker's 'enjoyment' of the product--to use that sleazy promotional legalese spouted by the tobacco industry spokesrobots at the recent pageant of Congressional hearings.

From a scientific point of view, it has been particularly amusing to watch how the media has soft-pedaled the issue of combustion byproducts--the chemicals produced by the burning process itself. And the way of cigarette burning, as you 'take a drag' on that smoldering stick, is mostly what is called Incomplete Burning. This is like putting a lid on your outdoor grill to starve the charcoal or gas flame, and right off the bat produces carbon monoxide! Thus the smoker’s ‘inhaled Pleasures', sucked directly into the lungs are, bluntly, a nightmarish array of highly toxic and poorly understood gaseous chemical fragments, most of which result from those ‘oh-so-innocent’ (tobacco industry legalese, again) additive ingredients.

But what about THE PAPER in which those name brand cigarettes are rolled? You haven't seen ANYONE--for all the media hounds chasing this matter with their clever undercover tieclip cameras and supersecret informants-- even BEGIN TO DARE to mention this crowning trick of that ‘oh-so-innocent’ (hear the violins in the background?) tobacco industry.

Well, long-time readers of the CONTACT, and on back to CONTACT's predecessor, THE PHOENIX LIBERATOR, will probably still remember the following exceptionally well researched writing, which was anonymously penned by ‘one' who would be very familiar to our readers under other circumstances.

The following is reprinted from Pages 13-18 of the 1/14/92 issue of THE PHOENIX LIBERATOR---over TWO YEARS AGO now! We share it again here, both for the reaction of surprise it will no doubt elicit from our newer readers and, of course, as a critical refresher for all of our readers about an important missing ‘ingredient' in this hot topic.

Between just this and the human-guinea pig radiation experiments of the '50s and early '60s that have recently come to the public's attention, it's a wonder any of us are still alive to annoy the soul-less, satanic Elite-New World Order controllers who are behind all of these shenanigans. But here we are - thanks to God's help and some anti-oxidant vitamin,...oh yeh, the systematic confiscation of vitamins...but that's a whole 'nother story for some other day.

A. N. OTHER 12/31/91

The United States Government and the tobacco industry are playing a dangerous game with your health when it comes to warnings about cigarette smoking. If you are a smoker, you have quite literally been deceived into believing that the tar in nicotine is the main ingredient that makes smoking a habit-forming health hazard: "The Surgeon General Has Determined That Smoking Is Hazardous To Your Health." That warning label is deemed sufficient to protect you from the dangers of smoking.

As a smoker you have been led to believe that addiction to nicotine and danger from the tar it produces is your only problem. If this is what you believe, then read on. Your life may depend on it. Cigarettes are not just tobacco rolled up in fancy thin papers with brand names stenciled on them. Indeed, the secret of addiction to tobacco-smoking may lie in the paper itself. A doctor friend of mine who has done a lot of research on smoking told me, when I began this investigation, that he was once invited to visit a cigarette paper-making factory in the course of his research work. Before being shown around the plant, he had to don a coverall made of a paper-like substance, which covered him from head to foot.

He was shown various stages of manufacture including a sealed room which his guide said was a paper impregnation plant. My doctor friend was informed that in this building the paper was impregnated with a substance to ensure even, slow burning without the taste of burning paper. Later, when he got home (he kept the coverall as a souvenir), he had the fine dust on it analyzed and when the lab results came back, lo and behold, the dust contained traces of opium.

The doctor is thus under the firm impression that paper used for cigarette manufacture is first impregnated with OPIUM. It is the opium that causes addiction to smoking. Even in small quantities, opium is extremely addictive. In his opinion, based upon research on nicotine, he found that it is not nicotine alone that makes a tobacco addict, but rather, it is the opium used to impregnate the paper, plus the nicotine, that is the root cause of addiction to smoking.

My doctor friend is a smoker himself, and in order to prove his point, he changed to rolling his own cigarettes. Kits to roll cigarettes can be bought in smokers' specialty shops, and consist of a supply of thin paper (apparently no different from the usual cigarette paper), tobacco, plus a device that rolls the paper around the tobacco.

After trying several brands of loose tobacco and rolling his own cigarettes for three weeks, his craving was not relieved. Rather, it became worse. Finally, after three weeks of home-rolled cigarettes, he went back to his favorite brand of manufactured cigarette. "The relief was instant, the satisfaction gratifying," he told me. As a result of his experiment, the doctor is more than ever convinced that addiction to smoking does not come from tobacco alone, but from the PAPER used by cigarette companies, no matter what brand of tobacco is used.

Do you believe this is far-fetched? Well, if you do, that is exactly what the Government and the tobacco industry want you to believe. You might wish to reconsider the matter after you take into account the following information. If you have any lingering doubts thereafter, then I urge you to write to the Department of Health and Human Services and ask them about it.

You might not get a response from the Government, but you will be certain to attract the attention of Stanley Temko, a lawyer at Covington and Burling, legal guardians of the tobacco industry. If that causes concern, then you might try Senator Jesse Helms, so filled with rectitude when it comes to Manuel Noriega (accused, but far from proven guilty, of being a cocaine smuggler). Helms represents North Carolina, the premier tobacco-growing state in the nation.

On second thought, Senator Helms might not be inclined to enlighten you, so you might then try the Office on Smoking and Health, a Government watchdog agency which is supposed to have our health and welfare at heart. Dr. Ronald Davis, who resigned from the agency earlier this year, is on record as stating: "I think the consumers have a right to know what is in tobacco products, but I'm not allowed, under law, to release this information to the public."

The Office on Smoking and Health and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are the keepers of the keys to the top-secret lists of what ingredients go into making your favorite brand of cigarette, the additives that give tobacco its ‘flavor', keep it soft, and give it that special aroma. If you thought 'taste' was just an advertising gimmick, you would be wrong. 'Taste' is very important to tobacco addicts, which is why cigarette manufacturers go to such lengths to create it.

Before doing any writing, or phoning your Senator, the tobacco companies or HHS, you might want to reflect upon the wisdom of arousing the watchdog. 'Let sleeping dogs lie' may be preferred to 'kicking a sleeping dog'. You see, the list of ingredients that go into cigarettes is TOP SECRET. Yes, that is right, TOP SECRET. Government doesn't like people nosing around top secret documents, and the tobacco industry is paranoid about secrecy. They might decide to take a note of your name for future reference.

The tobacco industry does not want smokers to know that, apart from tobacco, he or she is inhaling acetone, methyl salicylate, turpentine, glycyrrhizic acid, caramel, shellac, catechol, acetyldehyde, amino acids. What are the effects of these substances on the body when heated, i.e., at that magic moment when you first light up and deeply inhale?

Take caramel, added to give flavor--which smokers believe comes from their favorite tobacco mix. When the burning end of a cigarette heats the caramel--or any other of the many types of sugar used in the manufacture of cigarettes---it produces catechol which, when combined with some of the other additives, strengthens their carcinogenic properties.

This is called a Synergistic Reaction. In tests on laboratory rats using a number of vitamins, scientists Ken Anderson, R.T. Bartus, C.E. Girgea, Kaufman and several others found that by combining vitamins with other substances, a synergistic reaction was observed. What this means, for instance, is that rats on choline didn't show that much improvement, but when combined with piracetum, the resulting improvement was dramatic. Reverse synergistic effects happen when caramel is burned with other additives in cigarettes, thus strengthening their carcinogenic properties.

Do you like licorice? Most kids do, but smokers would not be amused if you told them they were smoking it in the additive licorice root----glycyrrhizic acid--used to flavor and keep tobacco moist, which the American Health Foundation says gives off polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons when burned--and that means smokers are inhaling a known cancer-causing substance along with their aroma-filled tobacco smoke.

How about Amino acids? Now, most everybody knows that amino acids are what DNA is all about and don't health food stores sell amino acids, so what is so bad about it? The trick is not to heat amino acids, nor combine them with other substances that might give a synergistic effect. Once heated, amino acids give off suspected carcinogens, says the American Health Institute.

You can't smoke without applying heat; I mean, where there is tobacco there has got to be heat, and where there is heat there has to be smoke, and where there is tobacco smoke there are carcinogens. So now you know: cigarettes consist of a good deal more than just blended tobacco rolled in paper, even though the outside package of your favorite brand doesn't list any additives.

Your Virginia Slims, Marlboros, Winstons, Camels, Kools, or any other brand you favor, contain, in varying degrees, a number of chemicals, plant extracts and other substances which tests in France proved can amount to as much as 8 percent of the content of what you enjoy so much when you inhale that smoke. Do not be deceived by the printed information on that attractive packaging, "Ingredients: Selected Fine Tobaccos."

Like Mrs. Nancy Reagan's non-solution to the drug addiction problem washing like a tidal wave over this nation, 'just say no,' or applying a PARTIAL warning label to a package of cigarettes, isn't going to solve the problem. In any case every smoker thinks smoking-induced cancer is strictly for the other fellow.

The warning label cigarette packages carry is meaningless and will remain so until the SECRET ADDITIVES in the tobacco are printed on the label alongside what they are capable of doing to your health. It is time that the FDA enforced its own rules but, given the huge amounts of money spread around Washington by powerful tobacco industry lobbyists, this is still a long way off.

Since the FDA requires strict labeling of ingredients used in ALL foodstuffs, why then is the tobacco industry exempted from these requirements? Not that tobacco is a foodstuff. But if it is compulsory to properly label household detergents and to tell the public what is inside a bottle of apple jelly or peanut butter or ketchup, why conceal the deadly poison that is added to an already dangerous substance called nicotine? How about cigarette paper? Is it impregnated with opium or not? Why aren't consumers told what, if anything, goes into the making of the paper?

Here is something you ought to know about nicotine: It causes flushing, a sense of warmth, heart palpitations, nausea (especially in first-time smokers), dyspepsia, muscle cramps, blurred vision, a lowered blood pressure when rising from a sitting position and is suspected of causing deformities in unborn babies if the mothers smoke during pregnancy.

In the 1960s, when the truth about tar in nicotine was brought out and stories about lung cancer caused by tobacco swept the land, the tobacco industry went into a state of panic which resulted in the production of 'low in tar' brands to offset dramatic losses in sales. These so-called 'light' brands were to help assuage the guilty feeling among those who could not bring themselves to kick the smoking habit, even knowing what they were doing to their bodies.

'Light' cigarettes consisted of lighter blends of tobacco, plus filters which were so dense that smokers could no longer get the all-important 'taste' of their cigarettes. 'Safe' cigarettes became 'tasteless' cigarettes. The tobacco industry's solution to tasteless cigarettes was to use more and more additives of the kinds already enumerated so that ‘taste' and 'flavor' were restored.

But unbeknown to the fans of ‘light’ cigarettes, the cigarette they believed was lighter and safer was now more deadly than the regular type, because of the heavy dosage of secret ingredients it took to restore what smokers wanted most, taste and flavor.

Do our government agencies know about this? Yes, they do. So why don't those agencies responsible for protecting our national health do something about the menace? They did, or thought they had done something with passage of a 1984 law which called upon manufacturers of cigarettes to list 'health risks associated with smoking cigarettes containing any substances commonly added to commercially manufactured cigarettes'. That was in 1984; yet in spite of urgent appeals to the cigarette industry to come clean, by 1991 they have still not done so. In 1984 a Surgeon General's report said that data about additives was impossible to obtain, 'because cigarette companies are not required by law to reveal what additives they use in each and every brand of cigarettes they manufacture.' What the Surgeon General wanted was a meaningful list of additives that could be related to amounts contained in each cigarette.

Succumbing somewhat to public pressure arising from these disclosures, Congress reluctantly passed a law later that year (1984) which mandated that cigarette manufacturers provide HHS each year with a list of additives used in cigarette manufacturing. However, the tobacco industry was successful in subverting that law. Congress sold out to the tobacco industry--it is called 'reaching a compromise'.

Instead of each and every cigarette manufacturer being compelled to give a complete listing of specific additives and amounts going into each and every brand of cigarette produced, the industry--not each manufacturer--was allowed to get away with a general listing of additives which was and still is totally lacking in detail. These annual lists have been described by anti-smoking groups as 'page after page of meaningless, useless names'. But according to Covington and Burling, the tobacco industry is 'complying with the law'.

Then the tobacco industry scored an even greater triumph over we, the people. It got a provision entered into law which said that the lists of additives were not to be published or made available to the public or research scientists. To this day it is a crime to provide information contained in the TOP SECRET lists. The 'state secrets' of the tobacco industry remain sacrosanct. Dutifully each year the tobacco industry gives HHS its secret list and, each year, HHS. dutifully locks the list in its safe, away from prying eyes.

If you believe the cigarette industry lists of deadly additives are public property--in short, a Government document--try getting it under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). You will come up blank no matter how hard you try. The FDA insists on Twinkies being properly labeled, but has nothing to say when it comes to cancer-causing agents in cigarettes and why they should be excluded from cigarette packaging warning labeling.

But even if you achieved the seemingly impossible and obtained a copy of the lists, it wouldn't mean very much in its unrelated state. All you would see would be a long list of chemicals with difficult to pronounce names, not grouped or related to any brand of cigarette. If you are dogged enough to stick with it, you would be able to unravel the jumble of chemical names, but how would you relate that information to INDIVIDUAL brand names of cigarettes? Only the cigarette manufacturers could do it, but they are not about to oblige us in any way, shape or form. Cigarette manufacturers say it is their right to protect their 'recipes' - they call them trade secrets - over the rights of consumers to know what goes into their favorite cigarettes. This rule does not apply to cereals, canned foods, etc. Apparently the FDA agrees with the tobacco industry for, thus far, the FDA continues to look the other way. Is it a case of special privileges? I think so, otherwise what else should we call it?

Remember this the next time you pass one of those billboards along the highway where some tough-looking rancher sits on his horse smoking a Marlboro as his fiercely keen eyes scan the wide blue skies above him. It would be better for him, and for us, if he were to drop his gaze for a moment and take in the cancer wards filled with pain-wracked or so-doped-out-by-morphine patients, to whom life has become meaningless as it nears its end. Cigarettes are indeed the most dangerous product sold in America.

Better yet, why don't anti-smoking groups go out and erect such 'cancer ward' bill-boards---preferably as close as possible to the blue-sky blue-smoke Marlboro billboards? Come to think of it, a lot of people would find it a sobering experience the next time they pass that hitherto attractive outdoor scene.

"CONTACT" APRIL 26, 1994

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