A huge benefit of the FDA tobacco legislation, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other health groups which supported the bill, is that it requires tobacco companies to disclose to the FDA "all smoke constituents."
The major summary of the FDA tobacco bill by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and American Lung Association claims that the legislation will require the tobacco companies to "disclose to the FDA the ingredients in each existing tobacco product by brand and by quantity in each brand, including all smoke constituents." These groups boast that because of the enactment of the legislation, consumers will now be informed of "the constituents of tobacco smoke that result from burning the product."
Furthermore, these groups claim that because we will now know the constituents of the smoke, the FDA will be able to mandate a safer cigarette by requiring the reduction or elimination of certain of these smoke constituents. And because of these mandated changes, the legislation is going to "save countless lives."
The Rest of the Story
Once again, the health groups have been lying to their constituents and the American public about the legislation and have been effectively covering up what I call the "second scam" in the legislation: the propaganda that consumers are now going to be informed of all the chemical constituents in the tobacco smoke they are inhaling and that tobacco companies are now required to disclose all the constituents of the tobacco smoke produced by their products.
Nothing could be further from the truth. This bill does not, and cannot, require tobacco companies to inform consumers of all constituents in tobacco smoke.
Why? The reason is very simple. Nobody knows all the constituents in tobacco smoke. Not even the tobacco companies themselves. In fact, we don't even know half of the constituents in the smoke. Less than half of the chemicals in tobacco smoke have been identified, and the remainder will probably never be identified.
Moreover, we don't even know, within one order of magnitude, how many chemicals there even are in tobacco smoke which would need to be identified in order for consumers to know what they are inhaling, as the health groups claim will now be the case.
It is fairly well recognized that there are approximately 4,000 identified chemicals in tobacco smoke. It is also the case that, based on gas chromatographic, mass spectrometric, and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging evidence, there are probably between 10,000 and 100,000 chemical constituents in tobacco smoke. This means that at a maximum, only 40% of the smoke constituents have even been identified, and at a minimum, we might only have identified 4% of these chemicals.
Can you imagine the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids supporting a bill that would require the manufacturers of electronic cigarettes to disclose 4% of the constituents of the vapor produced by those products? And can you imagine the Campaign then boasting to the American public that the legislation has forced the e-cig manufacturers to disclose all the constituents of the vapor?
The public would immediately accuse the Campaign of lying to them and deceiving them. And in fact, that is exactly what the Campaign is doing with regards to conventional cigarettes.
At best, the FDA legislation requires the tobacco companies to disclose 40% of the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and at worst, they are forced to disclose 4% of these chemicals. If the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other health groups were honest, their propaganda would not state that the companies are required to disclose all the constituents of tobacco smoke. It would state that the legislation requires the tobacco companies to disclose between 4% and 40% of these chemicals.
Moreover, the disclosure of these chemicals is nothing new. A comprehensive list of these chemicals has already been published and anyone who is interested can buy the book on Amazon.com for $268.86. This represents a 10% savings over the list price of the book. But you have to act now! Not only this, but the book ships free with super saver shipping. There were only 2 left in stock at the time this blog post went to press, but many more are on the way.
Perhaps most importantly, the truth being revealed here today exposes how absurd it is to claim that the FDA will be able to mandate a safer cigarette by removing some of the 4,000 known constituents. Even if all the 4,000 known constituents were removed, there would still be as many as 96,000 unknown constituents, and we would really not be able to claim that the resulting product is safer. At least not until it was tested by human guinea pigs. This is exactly what the FDA legislation does. It asks the FDA to use smokers as guinea pigs. It asks FDA to fraudulently deceive smokers into thinking the product "safety" standards being promulgated by the FDA will result in a safer cigarette without definitive evidence that this is true. Essentially, it transfers the fraud previously being committed by the tobacco companies over to the federal government.
The ultimate absurdity of the legislation is the very thought that there is any useful information for the consumer in receiving a list of the 4% of smoke constituents that have been identified. As if the consumer understands what it means that cigarette smoke contains only alkanes below the n-C32 alkane or that it is somehow meaningful for the consumer to understand that 48% of an alkene-free alkane fraction of mainstream smoke consists of n-hentriacontane, n-dotriacontane, and n-tritriacontane.
Personally, I think the revelation that cigarette smoke contains n-dotriacontane is going to be earth shattering. After hearing this shocking news, I predict that no smoker will ever pick up another cigarette in his or her life.
You know, when it was only known by smokers that they were inhaling n-hentriacontane and n-tritriacontane, smoking rates were really high. But now that smokers are going to find out that there is also n-dotriacontane in there, I think smoking rates are going to plummet.
I wonder how specific cigarette companies are going to have to be in reporting the smoke constituents. Will it be enough for them to inform the FDA that there is acetic acid in tobacco smoke. Or will they have to be more specific and disclose that actually, there is the 2-oxopropyl ester, the pentyl ester, and the dreaded 2-pentyl-3-oxo-1-cyclopentyl-methyl ester present (not dreaded by smokers of course, but dreaded by organic chemistry students throughout the nation).
Frankly, I think disclosing that cigarette smoke contains the 2-pentyl-3-oxo-1-cyclopentyl-methyl ester of acetic acid has to be one of the greatest public health achievements of our lifetime. That disclosure alone is certainly going to save countless lives.
Of course, I guess we must also consider the possibility that finding out some of the constituents in tobacco smoke might actually increase the incentive for smokers to smoke. For example, they are unfortunately now going to find out that tobacco smoke contains alanine, an amino acid which is essential in protein formation and essential for life. It also contains the essential amino acids arginine and aspartic acid, and we're only on the A's.
We all knew that cigarette smoke contained benzene, but it will now become evident to previously ignorant smokers that the smoke they are inhaling actually contains 152 different variants and sub-types of benzene. That is sure to give any smoker pause before taking their next drag.
Speaking of the B's, there is some good news for smokers. Tobacco smoke contains bismuth. Maybe that's why a good smoke after a meal is so comforting - it may actually help prevent indigestion. Beware when smokers find this out. It could undo years of public health education about the hazards of tobacco products.
The really bad news for public health advocates is that smokers are now going to find out that tobacco smoke contains beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Uh oh. Tobacco smoke contains vitamins? This is bad news. All we need is smokers finding out that their Marlboros are providing them with a percentage of the U.S. FDA recommended dose of vitamin A.
And the beauty of the whole thing is this: smokers can get their FDA recommended dose of vitamin A by smoking FDA-approved cigarettes!
There are over 120 forms of DNA in cigarette smoke. That is going to be a shocker for most smokers. Hey, do you think different brands of cigarettes have different DNA fingerprints?
Another piece of good news is that smokers will find out that cigarette smoke contains ethanol. This could drive down rates of alcohol use, as smokers will now understand that they don't need to drink while having a smoke: the alcohol is already provided by the cigarette companies for their enjoyment!
There's gold in tobacco smoke! This is not only good news for arthritic smokers, but it actually validates the "Marlboro Gold" brand name. They're not just whistling dixie!
Don't make this public yet, but smokers throughout the country are soon going to find out that tobacco smoke is a source of iron. So with your FDA-approved cigarettes first thing in the morning, you can get a good start on your FDA-recommended doses of both vitamin A and iron. And throw calcium in there as well. Why not, with all these hidden surprises about the nutrients present in tobacco smoke that no smoker ever knew about before.
When smokers find out that tobacco smoke contains nitrous oxide, will they start smoking just outside their dentist's offices to get a head start on the laughing gas? Maybe it averts the need for laughing gas in smoking patients.
Knowing how concerned the health groups are about smokers being properly informed about the constituents in tobacco products, I wonder whether these groups are going to call on the FDA to require cigarette companies to furnish consumers with "octane levels" for their cigarettes. Soon, you're going to see Newport Regulars, Newport Mid-Grades, and Newport Premiums. And we won't be able to sue Lorillard for misleading consumers, because there is octane in their products. Smokers are going to have a difficult decision between whether to go with the cheaper low-octane yields or spend a bit more for a more energy-efficient cigarette.
Since tobacco smoke contains phenylalanine, I suppose the FDA should require a boxed warning on cigarettes advising people with phenylketonuria to avoid the product.
Now here's the dinger. Tobacco smoke contains 37 different types of protein. I can see it now: Philip Morris will come out with a new Marlboro campaign based on the accurate claim -- Marlboro is FDA approved and provides you with a variety of nutrients, including vitamin A, calcium, and 37 different types of protein. The tobacco companies can now compete with Baskin Robbin and its 32 flavors by boasting 37 different types of protein.
Let's just keep it between you and me that tobacco smoke contains vitamin B2, which has a critical role in maintaining health in humans.
The rest of the story is that I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and American Lung Association. The revelation of the known constituents of tobacco smoke has to go down as one of the most useful and earth-shattering public health achievements of the 21st century. Smoking rates should start to plummet immediately, the FDA will know all the chemicals it needs to get rid of to mandate a safer cigarette, and we are going to save countless lives.